After the dramatic fall finale, This Is Us returns with another strong episode to begin the year, one that gives us more clues around the direction this familial drama is likely to go in the future as we connect the dots toward Rebecca’s tragic downfall. There’s some good stuff here involving Kate and Toby too, who confront one another over what’s been going on, and the past storyline is particularly poignant this week given what we know about Rebecca.
Episode 10 of This Is Us begins with Kate confronting Toby over his texts to the cross-fit group. He apologies and goes on to explain himself while Kevin, desperate to find love, downloads a matchmaker app. It’s Christmas time for the Pearson’s and while Kevin goes on various dates, Randall finds a neurologist for Rebecca and awaits the results anxiously with Miguel while she’s tested.
Miguel takes offense though while they wait, confronting Randall over his concerns and brushing them aside as them getting old. Although he remains adamant there’s nothing wrong with her, Rebecca test results come back and it’s revealed she does has cognitive issues. As they return home, Rebecca looks in the mirror and thinks back to her time with Jack; the first time she tells him she loves him. “Don’t ever forget it” Jack tells her, and as she weeps silently this happy memory is now tinged with a cruel sense of irony.
Intending to put water under the bridge, Kate invites the entire cross-fit team over to hers while Kevin turns off his app and decides to let the universe decide for him which seems to work instantaneously as a girl named Lizzie checks him out from afar. They hit it off nicely too, and after a coffee together, he learns she’s only there for a conference and will return home to Chicago shortly.
Kevin, ever the one to make an impression on his date, takes her out to the Hollywood Bowl where John Legend sings for them. As he leans in to kiss her however, she tells him she’s married and he’s her “Hollywood Pass”. Disappointed, Kevin instead throws himself back into his work, unbeknownst to him that Sophie rings just as he gets onto set.
Kate throws the party but it turns out Toby hasn’t been at the gym for the last 2 weeks, throwing up big question marks about Cara. After the party, Kate confronts Toby who tells her Cara tried it on with him but he dodged her. Finally he admits to why he’s been so distant with her; while Kate sees Jack with nothing but joy, he can’t help but feel sad. Sad that their son will never see the world the way they can.
With an uncomfortable atmosphere hanging in the room, especially given Kate’s birthday present to him is a weekend retreat away, that tension is shattered when baby Jack sees the Christmas lights and appears to reach for them, prompting Kate and Toby to immediately share in their family moment and celebrate his big win. Of course, this holds even more weight given Toby’s missed a lot of the big moments in Jack’s life so far.
As the episode closes out, Randall returns home and looks on all the girls before going to bed. As he heads downstairs to get a glass of water, he spots a dark, ominous figure standing in the living room.
Picking up right where it left off, This Is Us throws us back into the heart of the bubbling issues carried over from the first half of season 4, with a few resolutions along the way. Rebecca’s deteriorating state is absolutely heartbreaking and brings fresh meaning and urgency to the flashbacks we’ve been experiencing along the way. The thought that Rebecca could eventually forget Jack completely is a tough pill to swallow and something the Pearson’s are going to have to try and deal with going forward.
The ending to this episode is ultimately the big talking point though and the agonizing cliffhanger will inevitably have fans counting down the hours to next week’s episode. What’s going to happen? It’s not often the show throws up surprises like this, reserving much of its drama for character-driven situations instead, but it looks like we’re in for a real rollercoaster ride next week.