A Hole In One
Settling into its fourth season, This Is Us returns for a more straight forward episode this week, one that sees the Pearsons grapple with demons of the past while dealing with their present-day problems.
Having a child is the biggest test of a relationship and it’s one Kate and Toby find themselves all too aware of this week. Needing to spice up their love life, Toby suggests Rebecca babysit for Jack and let them have a romantic evening together. Making good on her promise, Toby and Kate head out together but exhausted, Toby fails to perform. After a night of disappointment, Kate worries it may be her fault and they head back home.
In the past, Jack decides to meet Mr. Lawrence; the teacher that’s made an impression on Randall from school. Further back in time, we see Jack joining Rebecca’s Dad for a game of golf. It’s all an act to embarrass Jack though and one that sees him turn to drink. It’s a cruel case of foreshadowing and after the game, Rebecca’s Father talks about his daughter’s marriage and pointedly asks if he’s the man for her. After being driven home, Jack tells him outright that he’s going to marry his daughter whether he likes it or not.
In the present, Randall tries to get in the good books with the councilmen but after failing to impress them at golf, a friendly word of advice from his colleague sees his luck start to change. It also allows him to see Randall in a different light too and after sharing drinks together, he agrees to meet Randall to discuss business later on.
Meanwhile Kevin becomes agitated with the mundanity of living wth Nicky so he heads to the gym to get some of his frustration out. In doing so, he runs into Cassidy and the two flirt and grow closer. However, Kevin winds up going on a date with a different girl from the gym. After things go well, he brings her back but finds Cassidy waiting for him at the caravan. She tells him about her temper and how Ryan would never want to be with her, prompting her to kiss him.
As the episode closes out, the game of golf happens to be the one thing Randall has stuck with all these years. “This one’s for you Pop,” He says in the present, nailing a golf ball into the lake nearby.
With the revelation at the end about Randall’s hidden golf skills, we finally see a side of Randall we haven’t seen before. It’s a clever idea too, seeing him deliberately poor at golf to let the other council members appear to be in control, and one that certainly gives the perception Randall is in charge of his destiny, juggling his career and family life well so far. The golf game certainly ties everything together with the past too, but this very much feels like a standard This Is Us episode, with nothing particularly outstanding or dramatic occuring. Quite what next week will bring though, remains to be seen.