We can probably all agree that no one does mommy and daddy issues like This Is Us (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET, CTV) but holy heck was the latest episode “Sorry” the perfect display of all kinds of parental strife. We’re not talking about small things either, like whether or not a dad got home in time to see his baby eat his first bite of food (we see you too, Toby and Kate). We’re talking major things like parental illness, birth-mom problems and dead father apparitions. All wrapped up into a neat little hour-long episode. The power of television is real.
Let’s start off with Deja, shall we? After last week’s episode, we’re all-in on whatever is happening in her storyline, and as it turns out right now that means being chaffed over not seeing her birth mom. If you’ll recall, she had asked Beth and Randall whether she could arrange a visit, but then the move happened, Beth opened up her studio, and everyone became super concerned about Deja dating an older guy with a baby (as they should be).
Now that we all know Malek is a good guy though, he had to be the one to fill Beth in on why Deja is so sullen these days. Apparently she didn’t want to push the issue and make her adoptive parents feel less-than, but he wanted her to at least voice her concerns. How can you not love a guy who’s so firmly in your corner?
With that finally out in the open, Deja’s mom is now coming to Thanksgiving next week and we genuinely can’t wait, because in four seasons This Is Us has always doubled down on its Thanksgiving episodes. Now that we have an awkward family reunion to look forward to, it’s almost too much.
Kevin and Nicky
Deja’s mom won’t be the only unexpected visitor coming to Philly Thanksgiving Take 1. Thanks to a newfound closeness between Kevin and Nicky, we now have a better idea of how Nicky returns to the Pearson fold. But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves.
THAT IS WHAT WE CALL GROWTH. 👏
— Gabby Ross (@Gabby_Spnatural) November 13, 2019
Throughout the episode, written by Elan Mastai who quipped on Twitter that it’s called “Sorry” because he’s Canadian, we began to see why Kevin and Nicky need each other in their lives. Nicky has been craving that human connection, and there’s a part of Kevin that is still deeply mourning Jack. Were those “apparitions” of Jack while Nicky was scolding Kevin for sleeping with Cassidy a bit on-the-nose? Sure. But they also say so much about Kevin’s poor choices and his aforementioned need to be loved.
The fact that Nicky’s trial ended on a positive note and that Kevin didn’t bury his face in a drink while wallowing (just bar fights, but that’s a whole other story) gave us hope for these two yet. And while we’re still kind of shipping Cassidy and Kevin as a couple, we’re glad that their story got its some time. Maybe they were always meant to be there to help each other through a difficult time and come to some self-realizations, which is totally fine, too. Kevin back in Hollywood after Thanksgiving though?
And then there was Rebecca and Randall. We’ve always known those two had a special relationship but the flashback scenes just made it come to life even more. After Jack died Rebecca was falling apart, and it was Randall who kept coming home to comfort his mom.
It’s such a sad situation. Rebecca was incredibly lonely after Jack’s death, and Randall filled that companionship void because he felt like it was his responsibility to do so. But in reality he gave up so much to be there for her—Howard University, weekends with his friends and who knows what else. And she let him, because she needed someone. It’s interesting to think about what he would have become had Jack survived that fire. Then again isn’t that one of the eternal questions of This Is Us—how the Big Three would have been different if they’d had their dad during those formative years.
Anyhow, it all came full circle in the present-day storyline when Rebecca’s memory started slipping and she was quick to anger. It’s devastating because we know down the line she suffers from some sort of brain condition, but to actually trace the beginnings of it is even more heartbreaking.
For her to lash out at Randall for voicing his concern is next-level alarming. For a mother-son relationship to sour due to a medical condition is awful but it’s also real, as anyone with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can vouch for. Watching the person you know become replaced by a stranger is beyond sad. That’s why the show works, though. For all of the highs, This Is Is also get some of life’s lows, and it’s that relatability that keeps audiences coming back for more. This may have been another tear-jerker episode, but at least we know that brighter days—like Thanksgiving—are just around the corner.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.