It’s gotten to the point in THIS IS US where they seemed to have maybe run out of ideas. I say maybe because these storylines could be what the creators think are good ideas, but they feel like someone’s idea for a spec of the show. There’s a character that wants to lose weight, uh send her to a fat camp. There’s a guy in a love triangle? Introduce us to a new love interest. It’s all so predictable, especially for a show that used to pride itself on plot twists. There has to be a middle ground between extremely predictable story move and earth-shattering plot twist, but This Is Us has yet to find it.
For once, in a surprising move from last week’s snoozefest, the flashback portion is the most compelling part of “Three Sentences.” All the kids want separate birthday parties and Jack and Rebecca have their own little freak out about it. For once, it’s nice to see the two of them on the same page, and not keeping secrets from each other or pressuring each other into having kids. They are simply trying to cope with their kids growing up. Jack makes a suggestion of having another kid that we all no will go nowhere, so it’s nice to just sit back and watch them actually be pretty okay at parenting. Also, the actor who plays young Randall will always be the cutest, and seeing him perfectly fine to have three close friends and not more was a delight. By the end, the party goers have all gone, and it’s just the core family. Jack and Rebecca decide they don’t need another kid, and they all celebrate the birthday. It’s nothing spectacular but it’s a sweet little button for these characters that normally have to deal with much more dramatic fare.
Speaking of drama, ol’ Kevin is trying to figure out his pesky love triangle situation. Help comes in the form of Toby, the self-proclaimed king of romantic gestures. No one tell Toby that his gestures only work because this show doesn’t understand nuance, and they actually would make most women very uncomfortable. Either way, Toby tells Kevin to close his eyes and picture the woman he wants to be with, and then think of three sentences to say to her that express his love and could win her back. The silly little audience is thinking this woman must be Sloane or Olivia but oh no, it turns out there was another lady in his life. It also turns out all the build up between him and Sloane was just a waste of time. In a classic This Is Us plot twist, it turns out Kevin had a wife named Sophie, who he divorced a decade ago. This Sophie was even present at the birthday part where the seeds of love were planted. And she is the woman he pictures. This would all be fine, if her existence felt like anything more than a trick trying to be played on the audience after weeks and weeks of building up other women for Kevin.
The other plot that did not hold weight (pun intended) was Kate going to essentially an adult hippie fat camp. This Is Us is really outdoing itself for thinking of creative ways to have Kate not be anything besides her weight. There’s a whole sequence where she realizes she has to get to the emotional core of why she is overweight, which involves being bullied and her father’s death, among other tragic things. It’s sad and real, but if only there was a way for the character of Kate to get to experience emotional growth and self discovery without being placed in a literal fat camp. The only good news is that a man who is a little rude keeps flirting with her, and it would be great to see Toby, now her official fiancee, get the boot.
From a sea of a predictable and sappy mess, the delight that is Randall and William emerges. The two of them truly don’t have much to do in this episode, just William wanting to spend time with his son after he stopped chemo. The good thing is that Sterling K Brown and Ron Cephas Jones don’t need anything but their combined charm to carry their story. Somehow the two make sitting in a car a delightful time. It may also be the comparison to the overly obnoxious plots that Kate and Kevin had to endure, that make this vignette seem so nice, but either way, we’ll take what we can get. Willam describing an egg cream to Randall will always be a billion times better than Kevin confessing to a woman we have never met that she is the love of his life. More egg creams please, and less melodrama.
Season 1, Episode 13 (S01E13)
This Is Us airs Tuesday at 10PM on NBC
Raina spends most of her time watching television and trying to find the perfect bagel and lox, because she likes being emotionally distraught.
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Raina Deerwater | Contributor