This Is Us Shows The Value, And The Price, Of Enormous Personal Sacrifice
Is making us cry this much 'The Right Thing To Do'?
"The Right Thing to Do" doesn't waste a moment before slamming us with that emotional tsunami we've come to love. Let's count down the tearful hits from trickles to tidal waves.
- Kevin and Olivia: made for each other?
Are they both the worst, or what? Setting aside for a moment Kevin's complete destruction of my girl Sloan, what the eff was with his gross disrespect of William's private business? The man is dying. And you don't know him. Now is not the time to sing the porn soundtrack about his boyfriend, here to alleviate his suffering in his final days. I know it was just to rib Randall, but...well, it's actually never the time for that! When will we have a scene where Rebecca (or Beth, who is eminently qualified) brings down the Mom Hammer on Kevin's stupid ass for being a stupid ass?
But let's get to Olivia. I thought we'd have a few more weeks before she oozed back in, but here she is, causing me to reach for the phone to place an emergency call to Wig Cop. Are you kidding me with that dimestore Sassoon? I'm not interested in this lady or in Kevin's feelings about her. She's too perfectly hatable and I see no possible redemption arc. Rise up, Sloan! I don't know why you like him, but if you want that monochrome piece of ass whose hair, skin, and personality are all the same shade of "bleige," get in there and slay.
- The heartbreaking burdens of Rebecca and Jack.
Oh, people. I don't know if it's because I'm middle-aged now, or because I'm a parent and just tired as hell all the time, but I can now see the toll of Jack's and Rebecca's generation surviving whatever you want to call the emotional gridlock brought on by: being raised by parents who went through a world war; being on the wrong side of the Civil Rights movement; and, like...Vietnam? Extreme sexism? Hyper-masculinity? The '60s and '70s and '80s. It's a lot, when you think about it. Don't get it twisted. I hate a Boomer. But. They were young, once, and it was hard. Call your parents.
- Milo Ventimiglia, I forgive you everything.
As much as I've been enjoying him in this show, I'd been holding on to some negative Jess-related Gilmore Girls stuff, I'll admit it. But when Jack goes to his terrible father, with his wedding ring in his pocket...that was on a grown-ass man actor level with which I had yet to credit M.V.
That moment when his dad disparages, yet again, Jack's mother with all the unspoken suggestions in "she was bad at everything, really," daring his son to do something about it, and Jack looks down and then back up, I felt something happen in my soul.
- I know we should not objectify men and stuff, because...reasons, but....
WHEN STERLING K. BROWN TOOK HIS SHIRT OFF GIRL HELLO WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I KNOW. Whooooo, Lord. Just thought we all needed a crying break, for a second. Okay, on with it.
- The Big Three toast.
What I love is this: Randall is getting to know -- and now, to really know, his biological father. Tragically, it appears he will lose William in a short time. But he's understanding things about himself and facing realities about his life, beginning to feel connected to his genealogy, which is the birthright of us all, whatever we choose to do with it. And yet, he thinks of himself as one of the Big Three, because he is. He would never let go of that, because that's him, too. This is what I want people to understand about adoption: adopted children be can be both things, and this truth can exist without threatening anyone.
- Toby lives.
I mean, I was surprisingly upset when I thought he was dead. Weren't you? Then his nonstop sex jokes in the hospital made me double back on that. Still, Chrissy Metz is so wonderfully compelling and, really, the two of them together are good chemistry. I appreciated that she was the one who proposed. The hints here and there that she was mad he wouldn't get a fixable heart problem fixed made me wonder if this was how they lost Jack, but she didn't need that reason to be mad about it (though something about the hole/arrhythmia/surgery thing didn't quite line up). I only hope Randall is not to busy to plan the wedding, because Randall as Bridesman is what we all deserve.
- William's decision.
The emotional brutality of this very sad moment was something I can't put into words.
Sterling K. Brown's single tear as Randall, with unbelievable strength and grace, supports and respects William's decision to stop treatment: I can't say enough how meaningful and revelatory the character of Randall is for me. I know he's not real, but the lessons are, and they are being beautifully taught.