A Father’s Advice
A Manny-Splendored Thing
The Most Disappointed Man
The Fifth Wheel
That’ll Be The Day
Super Bowl Sunday
This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life
The second season of the critically acclaimed drama series This Is Us is every bit as emotional as it was last year. With an unchanged cast and the characters already established, the second season dives deeper into the emotional turmoil of each character, showcasing the impressive acting range of everyone involved in the show. Whilst the storyline might not be as absorbing this year compared to the first season, This Is Us more than makes up for it with an impressive showcase of acting and a rollercoaster of emotion.
Picking up where it left off last year, the second season of This Is Us continues to shift the focus between “The Big Three”, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) as well as exploring their childhood through the eyes of their late father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore). This year sees Kate wrestling with her inner demons after a tragedy strikes. Randall adopts a girl called Deja and struggles to connect with her whilst continuing to explore William’s past. Kevin finally lands a lucrative acting deal on a movie before hurting his knee and beginning a downward spiral.
Although all three characters have endearing and gripping storylines, they’re ultimately overshadowed at the end of the series in one of the most emotionally gripping episodes in the entire show’s history, Super Bowl Sunday. Here we see the Pearson kids reflecting on their own struggles through the year before jumping back in time where we see exactly what happened to Jack that led to his death. The episode is incredibly emotional and for me personally, it’s up there with one of the best TV episodes I’ve seen in a very long time.
Although there’s little in the way of surprise twists like the pilot episode last year, there’s some smart editing used to emphasize some of the more shocking moments this year. Once again the shifting perspectives between the three siblings as children and back to them as adults works well and this year sees a full, dedicated episode to each, conveniently called Number One, Number Two and Number Three. It’s during these episodes that the editing works harmoniously with the storyline as it weaves each character’s events leading up to an important night in the family history whilst switching back to them as adults dealing with their current issues. On top of the editing, the use of music and the generally excellent cinematography really help This Is Us stand out from other family dramas out there.
There’s a reason some of these actors have gone on to win awards and this year really solidifies the great work the cast have done. Although Randall is likely to attract a lot of plaudits for his impressive range and incredible performance, his performance is overshadowed slightly by Kevin whose journey this year plays out to devastating effect before his inevitable breakdown. The rest of the cast do a great job reprising their roles too including the kids who deliver an impressive and realistic depiction of The Big Three.
There are moments this year that This Is Us surpasses the first season, delivering some truly heart-wrenching moments in a rollercoaster ride of emotion that grips most of the 18 episodes. Although the plot lines work more parallel to one another this year rather than regularly converging and breaking away like last year, This Is Us proves once again to be a reliably solid family drama. Full of excellent acting, smart editing and an incredibly emotional climactic episode in Super Bowl Sunday, This Is Us manages to match the excellent work done last year. With a third season already greenlit, promising to explore more of Miguel and Rebecca’s relationship following Jacks’ death, season 3 can’t come quick enough following the excellent work done here.