This Is Us – Season 5 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Forty: Part One

Episode 1 of This Is Us Season 5 begins moments after that big fight with Randall. Kevin and Madison are having twins. Only, there’s more pressing matters to deal with given the news of a certain virus spreading around.

Kevin heads over to Kate’s house where he reveals that Madison is pregnant with twins – social distancing of course while they do. This is crazy news but also tinged with a cruel sense of irony given Kate and Toby were discussing a sibling. News of this also reaches Randall who learns his brother is having twins.

Believe it or not, Randall messages and offers him congratulations. Only, there’s more pressing matters to deal with in the form of George Floyd. Randall’s therapy sessions continue though, this time via Zoom, as his anxiety reaches fever pitch thanks to the protests gripping the US.

It’s the Big Three’s birthday and there’s an option on the table to drive up to the cabin together. Randall decides against this though but continues to contemplate exactly what happened the day he was brought home with the Pearson’s.

The rest of the family head up to the cabin but Madison has a bit of a fall, landing hard on her stomach which panics the girl. She and Kevin head up to the doctors, where they’re thankful to find out both babes have a heartbeat.

Randall starts to celebrate his birthday at home while the girls question why they can’t see the rest of the Pearsons, especially given they’re still family.

Up at the cabin, Rebecca heads out alone but winds up seeing an apparition of William while she’s there. This unfortunately sees her losing her way – and her phone – again.

Flashbacks shed more light on the birth of the Big Three. Rebecca and Jack prepare to go to hospital to give birth. At the same time, William rides the bus with young Randall after a horrific incident where Laurel died giving birth.

Unable to deal with the pain, this is when he leaves Randall at the fire station. Only, William has second thoughts about it and heads to the hospital. Interestingly, it’s the exact same hospital Jack and Rebecca are at.

As the episode closes out, Randall heads up toward the cabin.

The Episode Review

The first 15 minutes of this episode are a great example of how not to incorporate real-life events into a show. The expression “show don’t tell” – which this series usually does so well – is completely disregarded for outright commentary and constant references to corona and masks.

It feels completely unnatural when really you don’t even need to mention it outright, just show these characters in masks and faint news broadcasts in the background to keep things relevant.

The George Floyd parts could gave been interwoven around the game-show program (given they’re all watching TV in the original script) and it wouldn’t have felt out of place.

It’s even more jarring given the final 25 minutes don’t mention it once aside from a more natural conversation between Randall and Malik while random characters wear masks. This feels much more naturally included.

In terms of the main plot line though, we’re slowly but surely starting to piece together the fragments of those flash forwards as the penultimate season of this familial drama returns.


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