Can you believe it’s been seven weeks since we’ve shed tears alongside the Pearson clan on This Is Us (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV)? Seven whole weeks since we last left Jack in Vietnam, diving into the water towards an off-camera explosion. Seven whole weeks since Randall and Beth’s epic fight. And seven whole weeks since we learned that Jack’s baby bro Nicky is alive in Philly somewhere, shacked up in an airstream and living his PTSD life solo, like some kind of bearded cave dweller.
Given that so much time has passed, the show did the kind thing Tuesday night by easing us back into its emotional universe, which is a good thing since it seems intent on devastating us next week with the Nicky-centric episode.
In the meantime, “The Last Seven Weeks” opened on election night, where the race between Randall and Sol Brown was too close to call, Kevin and Zoe were in the throes of breaking up, and over on the West Coast, Kate was worrisomely bawling her eyes out.
This show, guys.
Of course, because This Is Us loves to play with time, the writers then backed up to explain how we got to this point, rewinding seven weeks (how apropos) to where we left off with the present day characters, and focusing on the Big Three storylines and how their relationships have evolved during that time—complete with several pop culture references. So let’s grab a slice of boo-berry pie, invoke our inner Jaime Lannisters and break it all down, shall we? Have mercy.
Beth and Randall
Our favourite couple was in an awful place when we left them, and Beth was furious with Randall for continuing his blind quest to run in an unwinnable election given everything happening at home. But laser-focus Randall couldn’t just hand things back to Sol Brown—not now that he’d tasted the political life. So he pressed forward solo, while Beth manned the fort two hours away at home.
Things for the couple looked pretty dire, with Randall pulling all-nighters at the campaign office and developing corns on his feet (thanks, Dr. Google) from continuously pounding the pavement. Even Sol noticed that Randall’s family had been absent, remarking as much during a radio interview in order to quash his opponent’s claims of being a family man.
So after hearing that, Randall went home and immediately asked his wife to rejoin him at events, which incurred the Wrath of Beth. Obviously.
That’s because it’s been three seasons of Randall doing whatever he wants and then expecting Beth to be on board. He looked up William and brought him home without telling his wife. He quit his job and decided he needed to adopt a kid. He ran for office on a whim. Beth has had his back every step of the way, but with Tess questioning her sexuality and Deja wanting to reconnect with her mother, enough was enough. Beth finally stood up for herself and her daughters, and Randall couldn’t deal.
That’s why we were on Beth’s side on Tuesday night, even after the numbers started to climb in Randall’s favour. What would winning an election actually look like for the family anyhow?
Well, it seems like we’re about to find out. Because at the end of the day, after Randall proved he’s a “great” man by ditching the dirty Sol Brown dossier and apologizing to his family for ignoring them, Beth was back on board. So was the reverend, who saw Randall’s gooey centre firsthand on New Year’s Eve and in a surprising turn of events told his congregation they’d be in good hands with Randall or Sol come election night.
That may have been the push voters needed because in that aforementioned too-close-to-call race, Randall won. Cue the slow clap, because who knows if this is going to be a good thing. Get ready for more political storylines, guys.
Kevin and Zoe
Who knew that Uncle Jesse would have such an impact on the show’s newest couple? Following Kevin and Zoe’s stint in Vietnam, where they opened up in new ways and professed their love for each other, Kevin asked Zoe to move in with him by handing her a spare key with a large picture of John Stamos on it. (A present from Tess and Annie, naturally.)
All seemed hunky dory, until weeks later when Zoe still hadn’t unpacked her boxes from Chicago. Then Kevin learned that Zoe broke up with her previous boyfriend of two years via email, and he started spinning. As one does when your girlfriend has so much baggage that you’re now tripping over it in your overflowing living room.
Hey Kev, Beth warned you her cousin was a man-eater.
Luckily for Kevin, his baby bro is excellent at speeches. So when Randall spoke to his volunteers about the importance of pushing for a brighter future, Zoe realized that sometimes you need to also be pushed in order to grow—especially when it pertains to matters of the heart. Or at least that’s our interpretation of why she asked for John Stamos back, and we’re going to run with it. Especially since these two rekindling their romance led to the grand (if not a little too coincidental) reveal at the end about Nicky.
After having secured Nicky’s file and learning he signed his discharge papers as Clark Kent, the pair came across a postcard in Jack’s salvaged stuff from the fire. The note was cryptic, saying only “last one.” But it was signed C.K.—proof that Jack knew his brother was alive and lied about it. The postcard also came with a return address, which will be handy next week when the Big Three track down their uncle. (And we all bawl our faces off.)
Kate and Toby
Meanwhile over on the West Coast, Kate and Toby prepared for the arrival of their baby boy by fashioning a nursery and clearing out their old “toys.” That included Kate accidentally selling off a box of Toby’s Star Wars collectibles, which he had planned on gifting to his future kids.
Kate felt terrible, especially since she has nothing from her childhood to pass down (Crock Pot fires really do suck), so she did her best to get the action figures back. And when she couldn’t, she painstakingly tracked down more on eBay until they had a new set.
So what was Toby doing during all of that time, other than mourning the loss of a plastic Chewbacca? Well, in between painting his blues into the nursery walls he had Kevin send him photos of the football stadium Jack once built his Katie-Girl, and he had it recreated for Kate and their soon-to-be-son.
Oh Toby, you really do have an inner Jack, don’t you? Even as you lose something precious to you as a result of your wife’s cluelessness, you manage to pull out a huge romantic gesture. Cue the aforementioned Kate-tears from the top of the episode. It turns out they were good tears—you know, the kind we like to shed with this show.
Thanks for easing us back into things, This Is Us. Because we know that next week you’re going to devastate us again.