Last week’s Kevin centric episode of This Is Us, “Number 1”, left us with the heartbreaking cliffhanger that Kate lost the baby. ☹ Now, “Number 2”, centers on Kate and the aftermath of that miscarriage. I’ll be honest, while Chrissy Metz’s and Chris Sullivan’s acting are fantastic, I didn’t get as emotional as I thought I would with this one. Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments where I teared up, especially towards the end. I guess I didn’t ugly sob on this one because I saw the miscarriage coming the second Kate said she didn’t want to get her hopes up. However, all this doesn’t mean it wasn’t another great episode because it was.
Berklee Music Dreams
In the past, we see Kate’s perspective during the same timeline as last week – when Kevin lost his football dream and Randall was visiting a college. It’s clear that college is on the brain in the Pearson household. Randall is scouting all the top schools, Kevin is being scouted for football (prior to the life-altering game), but Kate hasn’t really declared what she wants to do with her life. At least, as far as Rebecca knows she hasn’t. She keeps pressuring Kate to hunker down and make the list of five schools that the college advisor asked for. Kate remains somewhat quiet about it, though, seemingly not as into the whole college thing as her brothers and parents.
The next morning before school, Rebecca meets Kate in her room to explain her pushiness. She understands that Kate isn’t her brothers in the sense that Kate doesn’t know what she wants. That’s okay. Kate takes this the wrong way, though, and accuses her mother of believing that she’s passionless before leaving for school. Once Kate is gone, Rebecca snoops a bit and finds something that Kate’s been hiding: cash attached to an application for Berklee School of Music and a cassette tape. Rebecca puts the tap in and hits play. It’s Kate’s audition tape – a beautiful acapella rendition of “Summertime.”
Missing that Mother/Daughter Connection
Later at the game, prior to Kevin’s accident, Kate and Rebecca are sitting in the stands when Rebecca casually hands Kate a $50 check for her Berklee application fee. Kate is shocked and upset that her mother snooped, but she lightens up a bit when Rebecca compliments how terrific she sounded.
As they wait for Kevin to get out of an MRI and for Jack and Randall to show up, their conversation goes a little deeper. Rebecca talks about her mother was when she was kid, and how she vowed to be different. “I wanted to be the mom that had her arms wide open just waiting for you to fall in if you needed it, and somehow… we just never got there, did we?” We’ve seen this distant relationship with these two to know this statement is true. They’ve just never connected on a deeper level. However, Rebecca continues by assuring her daughter that she’ll always bee there with her arms wide open “waiting for you to maybe some day fall inside if you needed it.” Ugh… I love this scene so much, especially with how it relates to present Kate and Rebecca.
The present kicks off on what I’m assuming is the same day as Kevin’s honor ceremony. Kate is doing everything right as she prepares for baby. She takes her prenatal vitamins, makes a list of questions for her doctor, has a fancy baby bath on the way, and drinks her green smoothie that Toby makes for her. Their excitement is clear, but it doesn’t last long. Kate goes into the bathroom to measure for the fancy baby tub. We hear a crash and then Kate screaming for Toby.At the hospital, Toby holds onto a stoic Kate as they listen to the doctor sympathize with them. She tells them that this doesn’t ruin their chances of ever getting pregnant again, and that they can try again soon. After the doctor leaves, Kate says she wants to get dressed so Toby steps outside the curtain. Their heartbreak is evident, but they both hold it in.
Burying the Grief
Back at the apartment, Kate ignores a text from her mom as she gets ready. The bathroom brings back that painful memory – walking into the bathroom, breaking the curtain rod as she collapses, and screaming for Toby. She walks into the living room all done up while Toby is wallowing on the couch prepared to watch old sitcoms all day with her. Kate has other plans though. She’s going through with a lunch gig at a café. She’s clearly trying to burry her grief, and Toby is shocked, but doesn’t argue and agrees to pick her up later.
Kate’s next scene is juxtaposed with younger Kate’s audition tape of “Summertime.” She’s at her gig doing her thing, and everything is going fine… until she sees a young girl and her family. The young girl and her mother start dancing, and it causes Kate to lose it. She hurriedly leaves, her grief inching towards the surface. 🙁
As she’s walking home, Kate remembers all the good memories of being so excited for the baby. The memories only seem to bring her down, though. Then she sees a King Buffet restaurant and falls back into the old habit of emotional eating. She piles food onto her plate before sitting at a table. She stares at the mountain of food for a minute before fighting the urge and walking away. Good job, Kate!
Fiancé of the Year
While Toby waits to pick up Kate, he trashes the broken shower curtain after he flashes back to finding Kate in the bathroom. Then he gets a notification that the fancy baby bath is being shipped, sending him into protection mode. He goes to shipping facility and intimidates the employee (Carl) into helping him find the product so that it won’t be shipped. He doesn’t want Kate to have to see it. When Carl says it’s not on the truck, he lets Toby search the warehouse, but it’s not there either. Toby gets in his car feeling a little hopeless, but Carl pulls through and finds the product. After signing off for it, Toby gives the fancy baby bath to Carl for his pregnant sister. How sweet of him.
Toby then goes to pick Kate up at the café, but she’s not there. One of the band members informs him that she left mid-set because she was sick. Toby tries calling her repeatedly, but gets nothing. So, he leaves her a message to please call him back. ☹
Kate finally returns home where she sees that the shower curtain is gone. She finally answers her mom’s call, but she keeps it short and emotionless as she informs her of the miscarriage before hanging up. Toby walks in and is relieved that she made it home, but is concerned about what’s going on with her. His concerns cause her to snap. “You pushed, and you pushed, so congratulations, Toby. You got me excited.” She continues her rant by saying that the miscarriage didn’t happen to him, it happened to her. Hurt by her words, he walks into the other room.
Kate wakes up the next morning on the couch. She checks to see if Toby is there, but he left a note saying that he needed some air. There’s a knock at the door, and she thinks Toby forgot his keys, but it’s not. It’s her mother. Rebecca doesn’t say much. She just opens her arms and Kate falls into them, finally breaking down and crying on her mother’s shoulder. It’s a beautiful moment that plays on Rebecca’s words in the hospital earlier.
They sit down and talk. Kate doesn’t understand how she can be so sad when she never even met the baby. Rebecca sympathizes with her by telling the story of when she lost Kyle and how she dealt with her own grief. She didn’t talk to Jack for weeks. She had a meltdown in the grocery store over onions when the kids were only 6 weeks old. It took time, but she eventually opened up to Jack, and advises Kate to do the same with Toby.
Toby finally returns home and Rebecca leaves them to talk. Kate confesses to Toby that she feels like she failed him. He assures her that she could never do that. They’re one step closer to being okay again. They retrieve the shower curtain from the top of the dumpster outside (ew. Why couldn’t they just hang up a new one?) and hang it back up. Kate tells him that they can try again soon. Aww! I really hope things get easier for them after this hurdle.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC!