Don’t Let Me Keep You
Episode 4 of This Is Us Season 6 starts with Jack packing ready for his Mum’s funeral. It’s a surreal experience for him, as Jack makes sure he has a black suit ready. With bad weather blowing in and the blizzard getting worse, Rebecca is worried about Jack traveling. But travel he does.
When Jack arrives, “cousin Debbie” is there to give him a rather frosty entrance. Everything for the funeral has already been sorted out too, but she does leave Jack with the task of writing the eulogy.
It soon becomes apparent though that Jack didn’t know his mum that well. She has a boyfriend called Mike and he has a cat too. Mike admits he’s nervous, given Marilyn spoke about him and Rebecca a lot.
Mike originally met Marilyn at a diner. It seems like fate, given they both had the same favourite table and got talking that way. The conversation between Mike and Jack soon turns to Stanley, as Jack admits that his mum was always on high alert around him, making it difficult to recollect when she was happy and laughing.
“You’re a hero Jack, you’re the one who got her out of that house.” Mike reminds him. While that may be true, it’s clear that Jack doesn’t feel that way. Life continues on and as the years have ticked by, Jack begins to reflect on all those little dismissive moments on the phone; the rushed chats, the distracted nothing-talk. So how does one write a eulogy about a woman whom he didn’t really know?
Jack blames Stanley for hanging over her like a black cloud and eventually rings him, airing his feelings. Given Stanley’s influence over her, Jack never really knew the real Marilyn and since visiting Mike and seeing this side of his mum, it’s only exacerbated those familial issues he had. Jack warns Stanley not to come to the funeral but the old man grits his teeth and tells him he’ll do whatever he wants.
The big day arrives and Jack eventually stands up to give the eulogy. Just before diving in, Rebecca shows up with the kids. And more tellingly than that, Stanley doesn’t. This gives Jack the courage to speak openly, mentioning how he has a new home now and Marilyn did too thanks to Mike and Debbie.
After the service, these two worlds collide and join as one. Jack and Rebecca take the kids ice skating, courtesy of the skates Marilyn bought for the kids all those years ago. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate her life, and as the gang return home they eat hotdogs and soup. This was a meal that Marilyn made for Jack as a child. And then it hits him. “I don’t have a mum anymore.” Jack says, sobbing on Rebecca’s shoulder.
The Episode Review
This is Us returns for a bottle episode this week, turning the focus across to Jack mourning the loss of his mother. There’s an undercurrent of abuse tackled here, and more specifically the after-effects of coming from an abusive home. It’s something we don’t see too often in media, at least not from western entertainment anyway (Korean dramas have some pretty strong themes around this) and it’s explored beautifully here.
The entire episode works well to show two worlds being joined as one, and how for Jack, he’s not quite the perfect family man we all knew. After the incident with Nicky, finding out that he’s drifted away from his mum and never fully healed old wounds is definitely showing a different side to him.
With the clock ticking on this final season, this is actually a solid chapter to take a detour with – and an important one too. When it comes to the overarching themes of loss and death we’re going to be tackling, it makes sense to preface that with this episode.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|