This Is Us – Season 5 Episode 5 Recap & Review

A Long Road Home

This Is Us Season 5 returns for the new year with a much improved episode, beginning with Kate dropping that bombshell reveal to Toby. It turns out she had an abortion but Toby is having trouble wrapping his head around why she’s kept this quiet all this time.

Although Kate promises this is all in the past, her googling Marc McKeon’s name that night suggests otherwise. In fact, she’s decided to go and visit him with Toby to try and get over the past.

Speaking of which, the past flashbacks this week cut back to Kate grappling with being pregnant and getting an abortion. Intending to talk to Marc about what’s happened, she can’t bring herself to do that as she heads to his house. Instead, she sits and watches Airplane which holds significant memories for her of Jack and Rebecca watching it together.

This gives the present time period more gravitas though, as Kate finally confronts Marc and tells him exactly how she feels. It’s an empowering moments – one that properly portrays female empowerment and allows Kate to confront her past and move past her demons.

Meanwhile, Kevin learns his film shooting has been moved up to Canada thanks to a certain virus outside. Although he’s reluctant to do it, Madison agrees to support him and encourages Kevin to leave. Before that though, they interview a prestigious nanny but Madison doesn’t like the idea of him traveling all over the place after giving birth. With Kevin torn between his family and career, he’s got a difficult decision to make, especially to decide whether he’s “all in” or not.

Randall receives a letter through the post at the Mayor’s office from Hai Ling. Within this, it confirms that he was with Randall’s Mother, Laurel, when she died in 2015. When he shows Beth the note back home, he struggles to deal with this bombshell reveal.

Given it would mean admitting William lied to him, Randall isn’t willing to go down this road. Beth meanwhile, believes he needs to phone his therapist.

Well, Randall eventually does just that and goes over the facts. His empathetic therapist encourages Randall to explore his past further. As he contemplates doing just this, Kevin rings Randall asking for advice. If anyone knows how to keep a family together and juggle that with a career, it’s him. Well, when Beth shows up he hangs up and decides to ring Hai instead. Together, they decide to meet up.

The Episode Review

After several disappointing episodes of This Is Us crowbarring covid into the storyline, This Is Us’ mid-season break seems to have done it the world of good. Kate’s empowering moments of confronting her past are arguably the highlight of the entire episode too, and seeing her standing up for what she believes in is easily the best moment of the entire season so far.

The situation between Kevin and Madison is intriguing too, especially given what we know about the future. I do hope Kevin doesn’t throw away his career for his kids though as Randall is a perfect example of someone within the show who’s managed to balance both perfectly.

Sure, it’s hard work but Madison doesn’t seem to understand Kevin’s message of being “all in” with the family while working hard to achieve his dreams. Potentially taking him away from that feels a little cruel, although I’m sure there’s some that disagree with me on that!

With Randall’s past being brought up now too, it looks like the next episode is going to deep dive into Laurel’s upbringing and what happened to her in the past with Hai Ling. This will inevitably bring back some painful memories but it certainly promises to be an interesting one, no doubt.


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