Episode 3 of This Is Us Season 6 begins with Toby leaving Kate’s and heading back to work. This simple opener turns the focus away from motherhood and to the often overlooked world of male parental woes. Toby does his best to facetime with Kate but it’s clear that this is taking its toll on their relationship.
Another person struggling with the current parental situation is Kevin. He feels like he’s missing out on the twins’ development and his life is spiraling as a result of this. Even worse, at rehearsals for the Manny reboot his speech about being a parent hits a little too close to the bone. It also makes him realize how much he’s missing out on his kids’ life. When a video from Maddy arrives that night, depicting their daughter walking for the first time, Kevin rushes over.
When he gets there, Kevin ends up fighting with Madison but also gaining some perspective in the process. It’s been hard for her too, and she’s worried she’ll end up alone. It’s clear Maddie has been juggling a lot and now Kevin finally sees a bit of this for himself.
Speaking of perspective, Randal takes Deja out for driving lessons. A message from Malik comes in though about the previous weekend and how nice their time together was. The thing is, she clearly lied to Randall about where she’s been and he’s seething.
While he goes out for a run later on to blow off steam, Beth silently heads into Deja’s room, who’s very clearly mortified, and decides against saying anything. She can sense that Deja and Mallik are in love and decides to stay quiet for now.
Things between Toby and Kate take a turn for the worst that night. When Toby comes bearing gifts for Jack, it messes up the meticulous routine Kate has made for him, and he misses his nap. Kate is not happy and that night, while they’re due to go to Kate’s recital together, a big argument sees Kate eventually leave on her own.
Once there, she gains some perspective too and realizes things could be a whole lot worse.
All of these parental woes link back to the past. Despite being seen as the super Dad, Jack’s commitment to work means he’s missing a lot of the big moments in the Big Three’s life. He decides to spend some quality time with the kids that weekend, taking them out to the cinema.
While at the cinema, Kate chirps up and asks whether Jack is just going to live at work forever. It’s a heartbreaking moment but he shrugs it off and the gang take their seats. Unfortunately, Jack falls asleep and Kevin wanders off.
Thankfully Kevin is found outside, and Rebecca is there too. She reveals that she actually left a phone number on Kevin’s shoe incase something like this happened. For Jack, he’s upset and clearly embarrassed over what’s happened.
Back in the present, Kevin and Toby have a really nice chat about fatherhood. Kevin admits that he’s not happy with his current life and wanted a perfect, picturesque life like his parents did. There’s a really nice analogy here involving triangles being the strongest shape rather than squares; a metaphor to try and show that Kevin needs to be there for the twins and enjoy his time with them rather than trying to be there for everyone. As a divorced dad myself, it’s a really nice metaphor.
Another character who has a beautiful chat is Randall. He speaks to Deja about how grown up she is now but when he mentions not seeing Mallik, she chirps up and tells him that’s going to be a problem.
As the episode closes out, we cut back to Jack one more time who receives a devastating call. His mum has just died.
The Episode Review
How do you juggle work with spending quality time with your kids? What happens when the two start to collide and you struggle to keep control of your life? These questions are pretty important and as someone who’s self employed and works a ridiculous amount of hours – it’s certainly not easy to juggle the two.
The balance is always to keep quality time and special moments with your kids; you don’t need fancy gifts or a big cinema trip to try and make those memories. You just need to be there for them and spend quality time together, shut away from every distraction.
It’s a really beautiful episode in truth, and although there isn’t a lot that actually happens in relation to the big, overarching story, thematically there’s a lot here about perspective and fatherhood that captures this struggle perfectly.
This season has undoubtedly been a big step-up compared to season 5 (partly thanks to COVID not being shoehorned into the story.) The ending involving Jack’s mother dying feels like an ominous sign of things to come, especially as we know where this road leads with Rebecca.
Either way though, This is Us continues to deliver the goods, leaving things wide open for next week’s follow up.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|