The Cabin In The Woods
This Is Us returns this week with emotions running high and tensions bubbling over into several messy bouts of drama. It’s all about the cabin this episode and the aforementioned drama crescendos into a really beautiful and emotional climax that’ll almost certainly shed some tears.
Before we get there though, episode 14 of This Is Us begins in the past with Jack speaking to the Big Three up at the cabin about something to put in a toolbox (their very own time capsule to open when they’re 18).
While the kids head inside, Jack looks over a sketch he’s made of a bigger cabin; a dream house for Rebecca when they grow older together.
Meanwhile Rebecca and the others race toward the cabin while Kate and Mark head inside. Unfortunately a tree falls, meaning the family won’t be able to make it there that night leaving Kate alone with her boyfriend. Symbolically, Mark picks up the “World’s greatest dad” mug from the cabinet but Kate pleads with him to pick another – the memories of her Dad too raw and too painful.
Mark takes offence to this though and feigns smashing the mug… until he slips and actually smashes it on the ground. Kate and Mark fight, leading her hot-headed boyfriend to lock her outside.
Rebecca and the boys make it to the cabin where they find Mark and Kate making breakfast. Randall notices the window smashed and as they start probing Kate about what happened, Mark throws his hands up and admits the truth about locking her out.
Rebecca snaps and tells Mark to leave the cabin, rasping through gritted teeth for him never see Kate again.
In the present, and interwoven around this Big Three centric episode, is a touching sub-plot involving Toby who saves Jack from choking on his food and eventually goes on to show his son his Star Wars collection. Using the iconic audio as a way of bonding and connecting with him, they share in his love for the sci-fi series. It’s a beautiful moment and one that acts as the perfect light-hearted anchor away from the heavier moments of drama involving the Big Three.
Meanwhile, our trio make it to the cabin but unfortunately the electricity goes out, leaving Randall and Kate to talk privately about Rebecca. It’s a secret Randall has been dealing with for a while now but with Kevin still in the dark, this makes his trip to LA all the more awkward as Randall dances around the reasons for being there.
Unfortunately the truth will out, and as they complete a puzzle together the truth about Rebecca’s condition spills out. Kevin leaves in a fit of rage, but not before him sleeping with Madison is revealed to Kate, leaving two of the Big Three to complete the puzzle. However, one piece is missing which they find in the time capsule they buried all those years ago, along with a mixtape.
That mixtape has a recording of Jack talking to them all about their lives and how good Rebecca is as a Mum. As he reveals this, the Big Three reflect on their lives, tears welling up in their eyes as Jack talks as if he and Rebecca are still together and alive.
As night turns to day, the Big Three embrace and leave the cabin. Only, Kevin takes Jack’s sketch with him. Fast forward to the future and Kevin has made the cabin a reality and this is where Rebecca lies on her death bed, a scene we saw at the end of last season. Kevin drives up and heads in to see Rebecca where the episode ends.
With a hint of poignancy hanging over this episode, the big talking point has to be the third act of this chapter. Emotions are clearly high and seeing just how much Rebecca has done for these kids over the years following Jack’s death is testament to her abilities as a Mum.
It’s particularly evident when Kate reflects on just how poorly she’s treated her over the years. It’s a cruel sense of irony that now they’re on the same page, things are taking a turn for the worst; another reminder that no matter what changes over the years – family will always be there for you.
Randall finally deciding to face the music and get help for his issues is a bold step forward too, while Kevin’s desire to try and please everyone sees him honour his Father with the best possible tribute – the cabin of Jack’s dreams. It’s a bittersweet but ultimately poetic moment and one that may well see more of this future timeline explored in the upcoming episodes.
With the show already renewed for a couple more seasons, we’ve got plenty more This Is Us to come and somehow the show continues to emotionally stir after all these episodes. Bring on next week’s slice of drama!