FRESH OFF THE BOAT Review: “This Is Us”

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FRESH OFF THE BOAT starts its two-part season finale with the Huang family making some big decisions and big changes. With summer upon the family both Jessica (Constance Wu) and Louis (Randall Park) decide to deviate from their life plans for different reasons, taking the whole episode to decide whether or not to make those changes. With guest star Michael Bolton, we had another fast-paced episode in which the arcs did not feel rushed and were totally in character.

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With Eddie (Hudson Yang) graduated from middle school and headed into high school, he and his friends start their summer off by finishing the video Emery (Forrest Wheeler) started of their graduation. He impresses the group with a mimic of VH1’s Pop-Up Video (Google it for those who don’t know) during the graduation ceremony telling facts about Eddie and his friends. When Emery leaves the group to their own devices, Eddie and his friends run rampant with the pop-ups. They hurl insults at each other laughing at embarrassing facts like Eddie liking the Spin Doctors. However, Brian (Dash Williams) is mad when they say his step-brother is hotter than him. Wanting revenge, Brian takes the video to add more pop-ups. Sadly, his step-brother gets a hold of it and gets the group goes to get it from him before he shows it to his high school friends. Not wanting to start high school as losers, the boys try to figure out a way to get from him with Eddie resolving to talk to him and even through the group scoffs at him, he does it. As he’s talking to him, Trent (Trevor Larcom) throws a rock through the window and tells Eddie to grab the tape which he does and to Eddie’s house.

After the teaser, the episode hits multiple jokes off the bat with Jessica against capital punishment and Evan (Ian Chen) for capital punishment. Jessica managed to make me laugh with not only wasting money and electricity for an electric chair but multiple jokes about the Mendez brothers. As Evan and Jessica enter a gated community as Jessica’s next real estate property to sell, Evan becomes enamored with going to St. Orlando’s private school. Jessica is against it until Evan and her meet the headmaster who sells Jessica on the tuition and institution (firing teachers and ivy league universities). With Jessica on board, both Evan and her make it known that they will do everything they can to get into the school. With the review hearing going well, Jessica and Evan are discouraged to learn that Evan is turned down. Deidre (Rachel Cannon) tells Jessica that admission is reflective on the child AND parent. With rumors of the Huangs not owning their house and hiding Grandma Jenny in the pantry among other things.

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Louis and Marvin (Ray Wise) talk about Louis’ dream of owning a house. Marvin tells Louis every man should own a home. Later, that day Marvin shows up with Michael Bolton (yes, for real) who’s recording his album in Orlando for tax purposes (in and out of the studio). He wants to go into partnership with Louis on Cattleman’s Ranch as Kenny Rogers is having success with fried chicken. Louis feeling hesitant turns down Michael much to Marvin’s disdain. Louis comes home to Murray his landlord inspecting the yard. Fed up Louis heads to Marvin’s office and tells Michael Bolton he’ll make him a partner on Cattleman’s life plans be damned.

Jessica getting wind of this kills multiple birds with one stone. She resolves to buy the house she’s promised to sell only if the homeowner gets Evan into St. Orlando’s. The deal is made and Eddie and his friends arrive to find the family packing with Jessica telling Eddie to say goodbye to his friends as he’s once again moving much to Eddie’s anger and his friends’ crushing surprise with a pop-up “to be continued…”.

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This was a very solid episode of Fresh Off the Boat with the status quo changing as the characters look to elevate their status to further their pursuit of the American Dream. I find it funny Jessica made it so dramatic as they’re just moving across town and I’m sure something can be worked out so Eddie can go to the same school as his friends. Everything in this episode harkened back to the first season of the show when the characters strive to make their lives better than what it was. This was a great start to wrapping up the season and I’m excited to see where this leads to next week.

Needle drops for this episode:

“Step into a World (Rapture’s Delight)” (classic track) by KRS-One featuring Keva off of KRS-One’s classic album I Got Next.

“Mo Money, Mo Problem” (classic track) by  The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase off of  The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic double album Life After Death.

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 3, Episode 22 (S03E22)
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC

Read all of our reviews of Fresh Off the Boat here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is an indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop).
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @bwood0824
Keep up with all of Brandon’s reviews here.

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