Warning: there are spoilers below for Tuesday night’s episode of This Is Us, “Number Two.”
Well, it’s not like we didn’t know it was coming. As we learned in the closing moments of last week’s tear-inducing episode of This Is Us (Tuesdays, 9 p.m., CTV), Kate and Toby lost the baby. So naturally this week’s Kate-centric episode picked up with that thread, showcasing all of Chrissy Metz’s talents in a storyline that broke our hearts but then somehow put all of those pieces back together.
Much like last week’s “Number One” episode, the installment focused completely on Kate, and took place during the exact same timeframe as Kevin’s storyline as a teenager and in the present day. Apparently when one member of the Pearson family has a bad day they all have really bad days, huh?
But while Kevin’s theme was of trying to live up to insane expectations, Kate’s was one of stumbling and having to get back up. Apparently it’s something she’s been living with her entire life, from the moment she tried to take her first steps and fell, to when she was a teenager with high hopes of getting into music school, to learning as an adult that the baby she was finally coming around on wasn’t to be.
Stack that up against a dead father, a gorgeous mother with a perfect disposition, a famous twin brother and a genius adoptive brother, and you can begin to see why Kate has so many body and self-esteem issues. Really, you can’t help but root for her to have a win already.
Sadly that moment wasn’t going to happen in Tuesday night’s episode, but we’re glad we had a disclaimer that this one was going to be something of a trigger for all of the current and hopeful parents out there well in advance. Had the writers decided to hold off on the pregnancy loss reveal and not given us fair warning, it would have been a lot harder to swallow.
But miscarriages happen to many, many couples; most of us know of someone who has been through one, whether we actually know about it or not. It’s not often that we talk about the loss of a child, but it is a lot more common than some people realize. That’s what makes an episode like this so important — quite often in TV and film things are all hunky dory for our romantic leads. From the get go, This Is Us has been different, as it’s written the harder storylines that don’t necessarily emulate a Hollywood dream or ideal.
Sure, it’s not like this is the first show to delve deep into the awful world of losing a baby and the feelings that invokes. But it’s also hard not to praise the storyline when it dug into so many aspects of that shock — from Toby’s attempts at supporting Kate and her walking out on a gig, to the big fight they had when she couldn’t let him in or ranted that he couldn’t relate.
The best moment of the night came from the reconciliation between Kate and Rebecca though, and the powerful message it sent about true love.
For a season-and-a-half it’s been painful to watch the chasm grow between that mother-and-daughter duo, despite what has appeared to be Rebecca’s best efforts to always be there for her daughter. For many deep reasons Kate just never responded, opting to burrow into herself or to lean on her father, Kevin, or sometimes Toby instead. That changed with this episode, starting with another flawless flashback parenting monologue about always being there no matter what, and culminating with Rebecca showing up at Kate’s doorsteps, arms wide open.
Now how can you not feel a little good about that, despite all of the other bad stuff that happened in the episode? Loss can do strange things to people, so when you see it actually bring loved ones back together you can’t help but find a small, positive spin to peg your hopes to.
Let’s see if we still feel that way during next week’s midseason finale, “Number Three,” which features everything Randall and his current familial situation with Deja. Something tells us it may be the most weepy episode to-date, but so long as it’s not a Toby-crashing-through-a-coffee-table, cliffhanger-midseason-finale level of crazy, we think we’ll be able to deal.
Or at least we hope we’ll be able to.