"First came, me and Dad said, 'Gee.' And then came me, and Mom said, 'Whee!' And then came me, and Dad said, "That's three."
"Big Three. BIG THREE!"
Good news, "This Is Us" has been picked up for a full season (an additional 5 episodes, making the season a total of 18 episodes.) The news broke hours prior to the airing of the show's second installment and of course, the episode did not fail to disappoint. It was filled with that goodness of Campbell's soup on cold, wintry day and topped off with a cherry of a twist from an ice cream sundae. The emotions are still there and this was an episode where we got to look into the different windows of the character's lives.
As mentioned elsewhere, the second episode picked up later in time. Jack and Rebecca's triplets are around 8 years old, maybe 9 and we open with a scene in the kitchen. Rebecca is busy being the super-mom she is making lunches for Kevin, Kate, and Randall. Top C is their drink of choice (as a child of the 80's, this is really Hi-C but the show probably couldn't get the permission to use the brand.) Children will be children and the boys are bickering upon entering the kitchen for breakfast. Randall is being teased at school by the other boys and Kevin isn't much help, calling him Webster at home because that's what the other boys are calling Randall at school. It seems the other children are having trouble understanding how Kevin and Randall are brothers. Later on, these brothers share a moment, but more on that later.
NOT SO PERFECT - It's clear Rebecca and Jack's marriage is a bit shaky and raising three children has taken its toll. Rebecca is working her butt off being supermom, tucking all three kids in at night, and keeping the peace between all of them. But the strain is really evident when Jack is in the bar with his co-worker and close friend Miguel, and he's downing bourbon. Later on that evening, Rebecca challenges Jack to be a man and fix things because she refuses to let their parenting scale continue to dip. She feels they're a 6, despite her putting in the work of a 9 level parent. Jack somehow finds some sense and sleeps outside their bedroom door all night. In the morning he apologizes and decrees that he is going to stop the drinking and be a better parent. Everything is all fine and dandy afterwards, given the big family piledrive in the hallway shortly thereafter.
KATE - The episode's first scene also gave viewers a glimpse into what seems to be Kate's lifelong(?) struggle with weight and body image issues. The boys got to have sugary cereal for breakfast, but Kate is given half a cantaloupe with dollop of cottage cheese. Daddy Jack tries to make it better by adding some cereal on top, much to Rebecca's chagrin. Midway through the episode Kate tells her mom all she had to eat today was fruit and it's a bit of a heartbreaking moment between them because you could see how much Kate is trying to make her mom happy. The two agree to find a healthy balance, which will be interesting to see hopefully in forthcoming episodes.
Keeping with the thread of Kate's body image, both she and Toby are at the gym and she's frustrated because everyone else is losing weight and she's still stuck. This is evident when she hulks out, in Toby's words, at their Overeaters Anonymous meeting. She unintentionally, or maybe intentionally goes off on a few of the members. Toby calms her down and her emotions were in reaction to being invited to attend a party at the residence of Kevin's agent. Her body image issues come to the surface and Toby reminds her of the good times they've had so far and now it's time for them to cut loose for one night and not have to talk about their weight. Despite her trying to enjoy the party in the beginning with Toby, her issues and insecurities come to the surface when she notices everyone looking at her as she and Toby dance. But Toby, being who he is reminds her they are there to cut loose. And cut loose they did, with Kate getting tipsy -- okay, drunk after taking one too many tequila shots.
Kate sobers up later on and confesses to Toby that she can't stop thinking about her weight and that it will always be on her mind.
MAN-NY OUT! - Kevin gets a stern talking to by his agent, played by Katey Sagal reminding him that even though he quit the show, the network owns him so he can't quit or else they will make his life a living hell. In plain words, he has no choice in the matter. He's forced to attend a party later on that night wherein he was to grovel at the feet of the network's president, played by Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond. Mr. Network President tells Kevin he can't quit and he will finish out his contract or else have his career "Nagasaki'd". Burn... Thinking he could go to Kate for some advice, because earlier in the day the two and spoken and Kate had given him a pep talk, he sees her in no condition to impart any wisdom because she's had one too many shots.
Later on, Kevin is taking a moment to himself and decides to call Randall. He's near tears as he speaks and it's quite clear the brothers aren't as tight knit like how Kevin and Kate are. Seems Kevin was looking for advice on what to do about his Man-ny situation. Eventually, Randall warms to his brother ("I was not a good brother to you, was I? (Kevin), "No, you weren't but you've still got time." (Randall)) and he reminds his older brother that their parents didn't raise no whores. This gives Kevin a bit of confidence, I think, and after reciting their "BIG THREE" cheer that dear old daddy taught them, he heads off to take control of his career.
WHAT'S HIS DEAL? - Meanwhile, Randall's life isn't without complication. His wife Beth is wondering what William (Randall's bio dad) is doing staying with them. He's been sleeping in their youngest daughter's room for the past three nights and during the day, he heads out to do whatever it is he needs to do. She wants to know what William's deal is. Randall, on the other hand, wants to get William to an appointment with a doctor to deal with his stomach cancer. In the meantime, it's become clear Randall's daughters warmed to William. Late one night, Beth decides it's time to find out what William's deal is and the two of them talk in the kitchen. Just as William is telling Beth how much he loves staying at the house because it's given him something to care about and answered Beth's questions about if he is doing drugs and if he is really dying, Randall enters. It turns out, William is out all day because he travels back to his home in Philadelphia to feed his cat. Beth feels dumb and the three share a laugh. I'm interested in seeing how the Beth and William dynamic works out as the series progresses.
The next morning all seems well in the household. The doorbell rings and the girls run to open it. Randall wasn't expecting anyone, but the girls shout "Grandma and Grandpa are here!" Randall heads to the door and the camera pans up to a much older Rebecca and Miguel, Jack's best friend from work.