This is Us Season 1 Episode 2 Review
by Julie Perez
Quick question; will this show continue to attack my emotions throughout the entire season? With episode 2, This Is Us reproduced the magic that they captured with the Pilot episode and this episode continued the emotional train ride, with a couple of twists and turns to boost. Spoilers are ahead; you’ve been warned.
At the end of the Pilot episode last week, we found out that although these characters are definitely connected we are viewing them at very different times. Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) exist in the 70’s, where they are raising their three children Kevin, Randall and Katie. Kevin (Justin Hartley), Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Katie (Chrissy Metz) exist in present time. In the pilot episode we saw that Rebecca was pregnant with triplets and complications with her labor caused her to loose one of the triplets and she was left with Kevin and Katie. On the day that she gave birth, an African American infant was dropped off at the fire station and we soon find out that Rebecca and Jack decided to adopt that child; Randall.
We fast-forward eight years on episode 2 and we see the strain that raising three children have put on Rebecca and Jack’s relationship. With the story being told within two timelines, I was afraid the scenes would get complicated. Yet, I found each scene easily transitioning into the other while keeping the storyline active. This Is Us has found a very unique way of giving us character background and though it is a new approach, they somehow make it look completely effortless.
Within Rebecca and Jack’s storyline we see the love that felt so real on episode 1, be questioned with this episode. We find out that Jack likes a drink, or two, or three during the day and while at a bar with his best friend Miguel (Jon Huertas) Jack questions his marriage. Miguel reminds Jack that his wife is the “gold standard of wives” and advises him to cut back on the drinking unless he wants to loose her. (You know, just some totally normal advice from a bestie, nothing out of the norm here … you should definitely watch until the end of the episode.) Apart from the marital problem, I’m happy to see that the show seems to be opening the door for the possibility of them attacking the issues that would have been very real in the 70’s for a family, who was raising an African American child in an all-white household.
Back to present time Kevin is still trying to get out of his TV show contract, Katie is still unhappy with the weight she is NOT loosing and Randall is still trying to figure out how his biological father fits into his family. Just like in the Pilot episode, episode 2 hit a range of emotions that had me completely consumed with the story. You will laugh, you will smile, you will empathize, you will relate and you will definitely cry. The entire cast consists of actors who are bringing their most genuine-selves into this series and the chemistry between everyone is undeniable.
I’ll be honest; I saw the twist at the end of the episode coming. Yes, they gave us subtle hints throughout the episode but I don’t know how or why I connected the dots but I had a feeling of what the twist would be. I won’t spoil it here, because I want to give you the opportunity to gasp out loud while you’re actually watching the episode; but trust me it’s a wonderfully painful twist and it’s worth watching.
I am so completely here for This Is Us and I am excited to see how they will continue to pull at our heartstrings. The beauty about the way they are choosing to tell the story is that they give us so much backstory within an episode while still leaving us with an endless list of questions. I hope that they don’t get lost within the twists and turns; I hope that they stay true to the world they’ve created and I will be here for the rest of the ride.