This Is Us continues this week with another 40 minutes of drama, one that focuses on Nicky’s condition and Kevin’s behaviour toward this and his life. While there is, of course, more of the same when it comes to the other characters, it’s ultimately this interesting dynamic and the way it ties into Cassidy that makes this episode so endearing.
We begin with Nicky at the veteran centre, talking to Dr Miranda. After opening up to her and explaining his situation, he packs up the alcohol and seems to be on the mend…until she tells him she’s being transferred to Arizona. This happens to be the chain of events that sets Nicky off down his path of destruction and throwing a chair through the window.
Meanwhile in the past, Randall starts junior high school, mirroring Randall’s first days in office as mayor. In the past, Randall gets a yellow slip for wearing the wrong shoes and, sensing a panic attack, Kevin rushes to his aid where he forges their Mum’s signature. In the present, Randall listens to the people’s concerns and despite his receptionist Bernice’s objections, agrees to see someone at 5.59pm – 1 minute before he’s scheduled to meet the other Councillors. Randall takes the man into his office and hears his concerns about public transport before being confronted by Bernice who implores him to fire Jae-Won. After some deliberation, he does decide to let someone go. That someone being Bernice.
Facing jail-time, Kevin works on Nicky’s behalf to try and have his sentenced reduced, which the centre agree to do on the basis of Nicky returning to the program. In the waiting room, Kevin keeps a young boy occupied who happens to be the son of Cassidy, the war vet from the first episode. Despite Nicky being told he can continue treatment, Kevin finds him in the local bar drowning his sorrows. This happens to be the last straw for Kevin who, lamenting Nicky’s destructive behaviour, admits he was the reason he started drinking again.
Kate runs into problems with her weight at a dinner and despite things going well, afterward she worries about Toby’s erratic behaviour. Removing his shirt, she sees first-hand the benefits of his gym time before they discuss their future with baby Jack. He apologises for not telling her about his gym time and explains that he doesn’t want to have another heart attack; they have enough problems on their plate with Jack’s deafness.
As the episode closes out, Kate gets walking with baby Jack and her neighbour Gregory while we end on a montage of laughter, in both past and present times.
While not the strongest episode of the season, This Is Us delivers a heartwarming episode nonetheless, one chock full of some lovely interwoven moments and a great blend of past and present reflections. The show is a little tricky to recap at times because of this but the juxtapositions between these two time periods do a great job keeping everything connected together. It’s not perfect but there’s enough here to make for another decent episode.