After last week’s season premiere which focused mostly on new characters, “This Is Us” returned to its familiar formula Tuesday, reuniting viewers with the Big Three as they dealt with their adult problems, mirrored by flashbacks of them going to a pool with their parents on a summer day before they started seventh grade.
As usual, the interweaving storylines were heavy on emotion that had the tears ready to flow. So, let’s take a look at the moments that had us reaching for the tissues.
1. Kevin holds Jack
During the pool flashback, Kevin becomes concerned he's not a good person and his self-doubt surfaces again as an adult when he appears to be at a crossroads in his life. While at a rehab meeting, he admits he’s just going through the motions in his career. Later, while holding baby Jack, he muses that his nephew is 187 days old — the same amount of time he’s been sober. He also talks about how he can’t maintain a relationship. It was sad and sweet all at once and perhaps it foreshadows a possible love interest.
2. The pool outing
Call it a flashback within a flashback. During the course of the episode, the Big Three, as kids, show they are on the cusp of teenage moodiness when they have no interest in spending time with Rebecca or Jack at the pool. Randall struggled when Kevin didn't come to his side after some friends teased him for not knowing the lyrics to a popular song, leading to Kevin pondering how good a person he is. The end of the episode featured old shots of the family at the pool when the kids were little and more interested in being with their folks. The nostalgia of it all had us slightly misty.
3. Kiss me Kate
While at the pool with her family, Kate is approached to hang out with some popular kids who’ve never paid her any mind. Rebecca is suspicious — and rightfully so because the girls set up Kate to fool her into thinking she would be kissed by a popular boy. When a nerdy kid shows up at the spot, Kate rolls with the punches and they kiss. It was a sweet moment.
4. Toby is barely hanging on
The toll of having a son who is blind is getting to Toby. He tells Rebecca that he is amazed that Kate has been so steady, but adds that she has begun overeating to deal with her emotions and that he’s worried about her most of all.
5. Kate can’t deal
Kate is having a tough time coming to grips with baby Jack’s blindness. After saying she and Toby splurged on a TV so baby Jack can start watching the Steelers, she realizes she’ll have to explain what’s happening on the screen. Later, she confides to Kevin that she thinks his blindness is her fault. She rallies, though, and later declares the family can’t focus on their worry. “My son is going to live a life without limits,” she says, her empowering attitude a reflection of how her dad raised her. We just know this won’t be the last time this season Jack’s blindness presents issues for the Pearson clan.
The episode opened the door for many developments. How will Randall's family deal with life in Philadelphia, especially since there appears to be a romance blossoming between Deja and teenage father Malik? What's going to happen with Kevin, who has taken on the responsibility of looking after his Uncle Nicky? And what other obstacles will Toby and Kate have to face? Something tells us we'll shed a few tears on the way to getting the answers.