This Is Us – Episode 5 – The Game Plan

ALERT – If you’re reading this – I’m assuming that you’ve watched the episode and love this show as much as me.  If you haven’t watched, this will contain spoilers.  You’ve been warned.


TV Guide synopsis:  Jack and Rebecca argue about the idea of starting a family; the story behind the family’s love for the Pittsburgh Steelers is revealed; Kevin discovers that the script for his part in the play is relevant to his own life.

Ok, it’s official.  I’m obsessed with This is Us (TIU).  I’ve decided to do a “weekly recap” after watching the episode (which was delayed because the Cubs are in the WS and I’m from Chicago).

There are a few plot lines going on in this episode.

Kevin, Randall, Beth & William

Firstly, Kevin is still staying with Randall and Beth.  At the beginning of the episode, they bluntly ask him when he’s going to leave.  Kevin explains that staying in his large, plush, expensive hotel room is very lonely.  Randall jumps all over that and tells Kevin that he and Beth will stay there for the night, and that he and William can watch the girls.

Once Randall and Beth had to NYC, Kevin is in charge of the girls.  He’s busy reading for the play he’s been cast in, trying to learn his lines and be “off-book”.  The girls want to play, so Kevin ropes them and William into helping him.  The story takes a turn and has the girls questioning Kevin about death – an answer which he totally fucks up, freaking the girls out.  The girls note that grandpa is sick and takes pills and ask if he will die; Kevin’s response is “I wouldn’t get too close.”  After William puts the girls to bed, he and Kevin talk and he points out to Kevin that he is constantly doubting himself.  I appreciated William doing that – Kevin needs to get over himself a little.

Meanwhile, in NYC, Beth admits to Randall that she’s “late”, news which Randall doesn’t handle too well.  They go to a pharmacy to get a pregnancy test, while Randall blasts Beth for being irresponsible with her birth control.  She throws in his face that she wants to go back to work and isn’t too excited about the idea of being pregnant.  Next we see them, they are sitting in the bathroom of Kevin’s hotel room waiting to see the results of the test – Beth is not pregnant.

Back in New Jersey, Kevin tries to make amends with the girls by telling them a secret that not even Kate knows.  That he paints how he feels when he reads a script.  He then goes into a speech about life – it was a very beautiful moment for Kevin and his nieces.  I love that he realized he messed up and wanted the girls to trust him.   The moment felt very real.

We then have a montage in which Randall appears to be packing up William’s belongings while crying.  We know William has a terminal illness, but who knows how far down the road this is.  Sidebar – Sterling K. Brown in a phenomenal actor.  He should be nominated for an Emmy for his performance in this show.

Jack & Rebecca

Back in the late 70’s, we are with Rebecca and Kate on Super Bowl Sunday, when the Steelers are playing the LA Rams.  They head to a bar to watch the game, and Miguel and his wife meet them there, after telling them a horror story about their children’s behavior before leaving the house.  This prompts Rebecca to look at Jack and say “promise me we’ll never have kids.”  This clearly pisses Jack off.

Later, Jack and Rebecca get into it, with Rebecca saying she’s not ready to have kids yet, but sees it in their future.  They end up getting it on in the bathroom of the bar, and the kids are supposedly conceived that night.

Kate & Toby

Kate makes Toby a healthy breakfast in bed, and Toby invites her to play mini golf that evening.  Kate politely declines, stating that the Steelers are on.  Toby invites himself, but Kate again declines.  At their OEA meeting, Toby passes Kate an invitation to his house to watch the Steelers, and Kate reluctantly goes.

Once there, she meets Toby’s friend Shooter, who proceeds to stand in front of the TV and talk during the game.  Sidebar – as a football fan, I could totally sympathize with Kate there.  Anyway, Toby pauses the game, which causes Kate to leave.

Toby comes over to her house later, and asks her what the hell that was all about.  Kate tells Toby about growing up a huge Steelers fan and watching the games with her dad.  Toby says he wants to meet her dad sometime; Kate then brings an urn over and introduces him to Jack.

Yep, Jack is dead.  He passed away sometime after the 2006 Super Bowl.  This news, however, doesn’t end the story.  It opens even more questions – how did Jack die?  Were he and Rebecca still together when it happened?  Was he sick?  I’m so sad.

I find it funny that Randall, who is the outsider in the Pearson family, seems to have his shit together, while Kevin and Kate are messes.  Kevin is a totally insecure person, given his fame, money and extreme good looks.  He constantly needs to be told how great he is.  Kate is a mess for other reasons – her weight for one, and her inability to trust.  I hope that the show explores Kate’s relationship with Rebecca.  I have a feeling that’s another reason for Kate’s insecurities – skinny, beautiful mom.

On a side note – Toby is my favorite character on this show.  He is the NICEST guy.  He clearly cares for Kate for who she is.  I firmly believe that there is someone for everyone and Toby is the guy for Kate.  I just hope that Kate realizes it soon before she pushes him away.

What did you think of the episode? Did I miss anything?  Do you love this show as much as I do?

Happy watching.

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