Ron Batzdorff / NBC

This Is Us Celebrates A Birthday With The Gift Of Another Big Twist

Perhaps the most shocking of all: that Kevin is more than skin deep.

Kate: will she or won't she?

If Kate, for one second, succumbs to the clichéd Jedi "charms" of this broflake fratty chub...? No. I mean: NO. Who is this guy, and how dare he? First of all, what is his game? He sees she's about to quit to avoid her feelings, so he negs her into staying. It works. Then, in her post-emotional state, he makes purely sexual and aggressively hostile overtures, declaring that "this is happening"? I can't have this alpha male douchery in my TV fiction right now, I really can't. This guy comes out of nowhere, decides he thinks Kate is sexy, and she is supposed to...what? Hit her knees in thanks? And we're led to believe that next week some kind of "love triangle" will be in place because this dick says so? Naaaaahhhh, show. Unless this ends with whatever his name is getting kicked in the head by one of those horses, this is decidedly NOT happening.

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

What I want most is for Kate to choo-choo-choose herself. If she loves Toby, so be it -- I'm starting to get on board with that -- but I can't have this close-talking cheese muddying the waters. (You got me out here championing Toby, who I was just tossing into the grave like three episodes ago? What is happening?) And why do they have an overweight guy on staff at the camp for people trying to overcome their weight issues any damn way? Is he on work release? Boy bye.

If that was Jack's memorial service, and he was cremated, why was it outside?

The (painfully poignant) snippets looked like your typical TV graveside service -- i.e. not remotely how graveside services ever look. If he was cremated, it wouldn't be happening like this. And if it was at a mausoleum service, why would Kate have his urn now? I'm pretty sure all of them outdoors, clasping hands, was just a more picture-perfect way to indicate "funeral"; I get that. But still.

Of course what we all want to know is: how old were the triplets when Jack died?

Everything we saw was reading "young adult" to me, like maybe age nineteen to twenty-three or so. Then again, they were very particular about not showing Rebecca's face or hair. Then again, in the photo we saw on the memorial program, Jack looked fairly young. Then again, you can use a photo from any time in the deceased's life for one of those things. THEN AGAIN, it's really too sad to think of Kate harboring unresolved grief over his death for fifteen years, or whatever. Then...again...grief is weird and terrible and people do weird and terrible things to themselves in, around, and in avoidance of it.

Speaking of harboring: were you surprised Kevin could be holding a secret like that?

FINALLY, Kevin gets layers, and this time I don't mean his hair. Well, he gets a layer, okay. Were you, like me, pushing him even farther into the hate column with all that agony over whether to "choose" Sloan or Olivia because "they're both awesome women"? First, Olivia is the opposite of awesome, and Kevin should know that. Also, why should he even imagine he could "win back" whichever of them was the alleged love of his life? My eyes were nearing roll-paralysis from the whole notion, but then when it turned out that the one he really needed to express his love to was Sophie, his childhood sweetheart (and Kate's best friend) and former wife?

That was a good twist, and it leads me to a lot of sub-Qs, like: if Kevin and Sophie were married at one point, but haven't spoken in twelve years, how old were they when they got married and then divorced? They're thirty-six now, so they split up when they were twenty-four?! Why do I have to do so much math every week? Did they possibly divorce because Kevin spiraled after Jack's death? Or was his death why they married so young? Also: are we still secretly a little bit on Team Sloan? Maybe I'm the one who needs to move on. I will say that seeing Justin Hartley finally get a chance to show some depth as he delivered his "three sentences" was something of a relief.

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

If I watch this for at least two more seasons, will I die of a broken heart? And, if so, what will serve as the ultimate weapon?

They're killing me with their perfect illustration of the light-speed passage of time that occurs as children grow and change. Jack's realization that his funny stories and distractions will no longer work on Kate's sadness: this is something I am facing in my house, also, as my seven-year-old becomes aware of the concepts of manipulation and persuasion. "You're just trying to make me not be upset anymore," she said to me the other day as I tried to lighten the mood about something that disappointed her. She was right, and I felt like crying, for myself and for her.

Meanwhile, seeing Rebecca and Jack clue in to Randall's self-awareness at his magician party was heartwarming to the other extreme. That they immediately took credit for his mature outlook was a trap all parents fall into and made me laugh because I'm as guilty as the next.

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

Ron Batzdorff / NBC

Will we ever see Randall being anything but the perfect human being?

I'm a little worried about this, honestly. I've got Randall (at all ages) on such a pedestal that I fear they're setting him up to fall. This will truly gut me, as I need to believe, especially now that a Randall can exist in the world.

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