This is the beginning. Four strangers who all happen to be celebrating their 36th birthday, embark on life-altering changes. NBC's newest family drama promised to bring all the feels, and if the first three episodes are any indication of what is to come, then it looks as if they will succeed in doing so. This is a recap of the first three episodes in the series with weekly recaps and show scoops to follow.
This is episode 1.
Jack and Rebecca Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore) are moving into a new home and have triplets on the way, but they find time for a sexy Shamu birthday song and dance brought to Jack by his very pregnant wife. Birthday traditions are birthday traditions, and once things start to really get going the triplets decide to make their grand debut. Once at the hospital things go south when Rebecca's regular doctor is unable to make the delivery due to a pesky appendicitis. Never fear charming Dr. K (played by the always great Gerald McRaney) is here and he is more than qualified to deliver the babies, just as soon as he figures out who is actually pregnant. Bad jokes aside they do need to take a moment and seriously discuss the risky positioning of the babies, but as Jack points out it's his birthday, and he tends to get pretty lucky on his birthday, and he knows he's leaving the hospital with three healthy babies and one healthy wife. So Dr. K had better get on board. During the delivery the first baby born is a boy, Jack is bursting with pride and smiles, but Rebecca is in distress, and Dr. K is going to have to go in for the other two. Rushing Rebecca out Dr. K explains Jack cannot go with them, but he is going to do everything in his power to deliver the babies and take care of Rebecca. When Dr. K returns later to an anxious Jack, he announces that Rebecca is ok and is resting. The second baby was a healthy girl, but unfortunately, they lost the last baby a boy. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck there was nothing that could be done. In a beautifully acted scene between Ventimiglia and McRaney, Jack unable to process this news at first needs Dr. K to repeat it to him. Seeing Jack is distraught Dr. K sits with him and tells of his own life troubles and how they led him to be the doctor he is today. Dr. K gives one heck of a pep talk stating how he wants Jack to take this very sour lemon and make something resembling lemonade.
Kate (played by breakout star Chrissy Metz) is an obese woman who is celebrating her 36th birthday by writing notes to herself about not eating her own cake before her party. She then goes about weighing herself going to the extremes even removing her earrings before she falls off her scale to the floor.
Kevin (played by dreamboat Justin Hartley) is celebrating his 36th birthday with two cute young girls, but it seems he's in bit of a funk. Kevin is TV's The Man-ny a mid-rated sitcom, that's made him wealthy but not happy. If he had to pin point the moment when things started to go bad for him it would have to be the day way back in the eighties when the space shuttle fell from the sky. What's the point of trying to change the world, because when people do try to change the world they are rewarded with being blown up and scattered over Florida. Of course his melodramatic scene goes over the heads of the twenty somthings that are just trying to get him to stop talking and focus on them. Kevin zones out in a deep melodramatic trance till his phone rings bringing him back to reality.
Randall (played by recent Emmy winner Sterling K Brown) is celebrating his 36th birthday in his swanky corner office with cake from his coworkers. Randall is distracted by all of this because he's just received an email from someone stating they've found him. Him is William Hill a 62 year old man living in Philadelphia.
Turns out the call that snapped Kevin back to reality was from his twin sister...Kate! He comes to her rescue with ice cream for her bruised ankle from falling earlier. In a moment of self disgust Kate exclaims to her brother that he needs to tell her to wake up and lose the damn weight so she can live her life and maybe have a husband like dad become a mother like their own mom. Being the great big brother that he is (by a whole two minutes), he motivates her to wake up and lose the damn weight. The first step is admitting there's a problem, the second step for Kate at least is to go to an over eaters support group. There she meets Toby a fellow fattie with a sense of humor that tends to cross the line. That's all cool with Kate because she lives across the line. They share a few moments of banter, then Kate explains she can't fall for a fat guy right now while she's on this new path to a thinner Kate. Toby nonchalantly states that he'll just have to lose weight then.
Kevin is now back to his day job mindlessly acting shirtless on The Man-ny. After expressing his desire to do more challenging scenes, he is brushed off by a writer stating that Kevin could easily be replace "cause he's no Ryan Gosling". His options are simple shut-up and look pretty or leave.
Randall and his wife Beth are attending their daughters adjacent soccer games together when Randall explains he's found him. By him he means William Hill, his biological father who left him at a fire station when he was just a new born baby. Beth is at first shocked by the news she didn't even know Randall wanted to find his father. She is at first concerned for him worried that he doesn't quite know what he wants from this man and how getting in contact with him may not do him any good. Randall agrees and states he just wanted to know who it was, he has no desire to meet the man in person.
Kate is out on a first date with Toby the playful banter from the support meeting has transitioned into playful first date banter and it is clear these two have a great chemistry. As the evening winds down and Toby has walked Kate back to her door sexy talk of calorie counting was just enough of an edge to get Toby an invite inside. Just form some water nothing else...
Kevin is back at it again on the set of The Man-ny this time with guest star Alan Thicke. They are preparing for what seems to be a real scene full of drama and shirts! Kevin goes out and nails the scene everyone cheers, and Kevin seems to be accepting that yes he can do this. Just as he's taking pride in his work the same writer that told him he was so replaceable earlier is praising him on a job well done, but wait they still need him do the lighter fluffier version...shirtless... That's it this is Kevin's breaking point he has a full on celebrity breakdown on set and quits as poor Alan Thicke has to awkwardly stand by and watch.
Randall pulls up to a shabby apartment complex and begins banging on the door. There William Hill opens the door to a frantic Randall who introduces himself as the baby William left at a fire station all those years ago. But Randall is not here to get anything from William he just wants William to know he turned out pretty great without him in his life. After being invited in by William, Randall quickly agrees neither man knows what the other should say as they try to awkwardly work through some stuff. William doesn't remember leaving Randall at a fire station but he does like fire stations so it makes sense. William's clean now but he wasn't then, Randall wants to tell him off and just leave. Instead he invites him to meet his wife and kids.
Kate and Toby are cozy on the couch watching innocent youtube videos when Kevin pops in drunk. Apparently his little meltdown at work has gone viral, and things aren't great form him. At first Toby is kind of annoyed that his date came to a screeching halt because of Kevin, till he realizes Kevin is in fact THE Man-ny from tv. Toby is a huge fan and he wants a selfie with Kevin...shirtless of course.
Randall arrives home with William in tow, turns out he's not quite ready to tell his girls who William really is. William is just dad's work friend for now, but Randall can't lie to his wife and tells her that William is his bio dad. He doesn't know why he brought him here and is having a mini breakdown. Later when Randall is talking to William it's discovered that William is sick, no he's dying sick was ages ago. Randall again leaps without thinking and invites William to stay there with them.
As the episode is wrapping up we go back to the hospital with Jack watching his newborn babies, a man walks up and makes polite small talk. Jack points his babies out and asks about the strangers newborn. The stranger is a fireman and he's not here to visit his own child but to drop off a baby that was left at his station he points to a squirmy little African American baby then offers Jack a smoke...turns out this is actually 1979 and these babies are Randall, Kate, and Kevin. As Randall and Beth set William up in their six year olds room he notices a signed poster from the Man-ny himself Kevin Pearson the signature is made out to Kevin's favorite nieces. Kate is giving a pep talk much like the one Dr. K gave Jack earlier about turning sour lemons into lemonade. The episode ends with Jack and Rebecca home with their three babies Kevin, Kate and adopted son Randall.
This is Us episode one ended with a surprise and so does episode two.
This is Episode two (should be a lot shorter since episode one was the pilot a lot of big stuffed happened)
Episode two has Kate working hard to lose the weight and Toby working hard to get into Kate's pants. Randall is worrying about William's whereabouts. Kevin is tired of selling himself like a whore. And Jack and Rebecca are at odds with raising their three kids.
Jack and Rebecca's time line has them eight years ahead of where they were last week. It's going to be interesting to see how their time line jumps around from episode to episode. Rebecca is busy being super mom packing lunches and fixing breakfast for the kids. Eight year old Kevin and Randall are not getting along with Kevin going so far as to call his brother Webster (eighties sitcom about a white family that adopts a young black child). Mom is having none of it and has the boys sit down to eat their cereal, but the fruit and cottage cheese is for Kate. Dad comes in and greets his little monsters, shares a chilly moment with mom and sneaks Kate some sugary goodness to go with her cantaloupe, you know typical dad stuff. Just as he's leaving he has the kids do their "Big Three" cheer, a beautifully fun moment, followed by a sassy goodbye to Rebecca. It's good they are showing us that Jack and Rebecca aren't perfect and happy all the time it makes them more real and relateable.
Kate is hitting the gym hard, but it seems only Toby is losing weight. This just mounts her frustrations leaving Toby no choice but to charm her into a good mood, and he succeeds effortlessly. Toby seems to joke around a lot and it's probably to hide his own issues I'm positive his demons will come home to roost before too long, but for right now the focus is all on Kate.
Kevin is going in for a meeting with his team to discuss where they go from here, he's hoping for a real career and can't wait to get started. His team, led by guest star Katey Sagal is not cool with Kevin's actions or his decision to wear a ski cap in 80 degree weather. Quitting is a lot easier said than done, and Kevin's choices are go back, or be sued for damages which will bankrupt him. Also he'd be in breach of his contract meaning he wouldn't be able to appear on TV or in film. All of that was the good news, now he has to go and beg to be forgiven by the network CEO, at a fancy Hollywood party with other celebs present to see him groveling.
Randall is still hosting his bio dad, and still isn't quite sure what it is he wants or doesn't want from William. The scenes with Sterling K Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson are damn near perfect, their chemistry is sweet and has an easiness that makes you believe these two have been together for 17 years. Beth is becoming increasing uncomfortable with William staying with them, mainly because she doesn't know where he's disappearing to everyday all day. It's understandable especially with his history with drugs.
Kevin insists that Kate comes with him to the Hollywood party, he's decided he is going to quit "Man-ny out!", And he needs his sister there with him. The scene where they sit on the porch was endearing and eye opening to just how co-dependent they actually are. We got glimpses of this in the pilot, but now it seems to be taking more root. Favorite bit from that scene Kevin asks what he did without Kate the first minutes he was alone before she was born. Her answer "cried and pooped yourself a lot" oh baby humor love it!
Back at fat support group Kate goes off on an anorexic lady and a dirty litterer! Once again Toby uses his charm to calm Kate down, but he's confused by her lady Hulk out and wants to know what's going on. Kate explains about Kevin needing her to go to his agents big Hollywood party, and the fact she can't find anything nice to wear that would fit her. Okay, I love Chrissy Metz she is acting the heck out of this show, but they've got to give her something else to chew on (no pun intended...okay maybe a little bit) besides these cliche overweight story plots. She's so much more than the fat girl with fat girl problems. Toby has had enough of it too, saying he needs to know if they can be more and do more than just talking about their weight all the time. As he explained it they are dangerously close to boyfriend/girlfriend territory, and he needs to see another side of her, and he wants to show her another side of him. She agrees to take him to the party, and he is super excited to hob knob with that person who had the idea for Deadpool...or was it Hamilton??
Rebecca is home putting three little ones to bed while Jack is at a bar putting three drinks away. As Rebecca tucks Kate in, Kate tells her mom she only ate fruit the whole day. Mandy Moore's reaction was spot on. No parent wants to police their child so strictly when it comes to food, but she just wants Kate to be healthy and happy. When asked if she's happy Kate answers "yes, for the most part," in a heartwarming moment between mother and child they agree to find a happy medium when it comes to the food Kate eats. That tender loving moment is interrupted by the sound of two boys fight. Mom rushes into the boy's room and separates the brothers. As she's tucking Kevin in she reminds him he needs always to look out for his little brother, he mutters a half-hearted agreement and rolls over. Rebecca goes to tuck Randall in, and it's clear the two share a special bond, as she says good night she has Randall promise that he'll always be good. He agrees quickly in a way that suggests he is always good and will continue always to be.
Randall needs sleep (so says his wife I was perfectly fine watching him run on that treadmill, heck the rest of the show could have just been just him running and I would have been A-Okay with that!) he's been up since 4 am and he's taking on way too much. Randall goes off to shower before bed, and Bet takes this opportunity to have a conversation with William. At the kitchen table, Beth questions where William has been going, and why he's gone all day. To his apartment in Philadelphia is where he's been going, and no he isn't doing drugs. Beth explains that Randall isn't a good man he's perfect, he's kind and good. So good in fact she has to protect him and just as Beth was telling Randall he has overstayed his welcome, Randall comes down and stops her. William explains the reason he goes to apartment every day is because he has a cat, and since the six-year-old has allergies he didn't want to bring it up. He doesn't have long to live, and it's nice here with Randall and his family. To which Beth has to eat crow "well now I feel like a bitch...and it's not funny", it was actually pretty funny.
At the Hollywood party Kate is faced with snickers when she and Toby take the dance floor, and yet once again Toby saves the day with his wit and charm...but this time he enlists the help of Tequila! Kevin is told by the network CEO (another great guest star Brad Garrett) that he isn't going to quit or he would bury Kevin, he'll never act on TV or film again. Kevin goes in search of his level headed twin only to find drunk Kate being reeled in by drunk Toby on the dance floor. Love this scene between Kate and Toby, and the way Kevin reacts is priceless! Since Kate couldn't help, Kevin turns to his brother. They awkwardly chat, with Kevin finally admitting that he wasn't a very good brother to him when they were growing up, to which Randall replies there's still time to change that. Kevin resolves to go back and be the whore they want him to be and work out the last two years of his contract. Randall insists that their mom didn't raise whores (except briefly when Kate went through an eye liner phase), and ends their call with a pep talk and the three siblings doing the "Big Three" cheer. Kevin resolves to actually quit, and he's moving to New York to do theater.
Back in the past Jack is getting a truth bomb from him best friend Miguel, about how great Rebecca is and how he should be home with her not there drinking in a bar. Later when Jack arrives home late and drunk Rebecca is waiting up for him. She sternly puts her foot down about the drinking, and stepping up with taking care of the kids she operate at a nine while he's been slacking off. But no more, she leaves him and heads to bed. Waking up with him just outside the bedroom door, because he can't stand not sleeping near her. The drinking is done, he quits just like that, he's going to be an 11 for her-no make that a 12 for her 11 for the kids. He gives her a moon necklace because it has special meaning to them and are making up when all three kids wake up and dog pile them one big happy family.
Jump to the present time line with Randall and his family along with William enjoying breakfast when a knock at the door sends the kids off to investigate who it could be. It's grandma and grandpa, William excuses himself, and Randall goes to greet his mother (Mandy Moore in aged make-up) and Miguel no Jack it's clear the girls called Miguel grandpa. Rebecca is still wearing her moon necklace Jack gave her, but where's Jack???
This is episode 3 recap
There was no huge shocker in episode 3. It was revealed that Rebecca met William back when they first adopted him, and she told him to stay away. She did this because she was having a hard time bonding with him, and didn't need William hoping in and out of their lives while she was raising Kevin, Kate and Kyle. Yep Randall was a Kyle before he was Randall, but with Williams suggestion they give him his own name, Rebecca was able to better bond with him.
Bonding is all Randall wants from William but he's not quite sure how to do it. After a disappointing visit with a top notch doctor, it's determined that William's cancer is to advanced to treat. Randall is not going to take no for answer and will continue to fight for Williams health. At the end of the episode they bond when William tells him how he met his bio mother. i was on a bus, he would read he poetry.
Kevin didn't to much to do this episode he's sticking to his guns and moving to NYC, his personal assistant Kate is in the process of setting everything up for him. The co-dependence between Kevin and Kate was extremelypresent in this episode. Kevin needs Kate to move to NYC with him and without much thought to Toby Kate agrees.
Kate and Toby finally do it! Only after he had to roll out a literal red carpet for her in a big romantic jester that he says he doesnt do for anyone. Kate is already to go to NYC with Kevin, till he fires her. They need to grow and maybe being separate from each other will get this accomplished. Kate doesn't know who she is if she isn't Kevin's sister, but Kevin knows who that girl is and he knows Kate's going to love her. He leaves and Kate stays it's going to be a rough patch for these two going forward, their codependency has been apparent since the pilot.
All in all episode three was a strong episode, not as dramatic as the first two but still solid and well acted by everyone.
Some fun stuff and stray observations.
- Randall was kind of short there with Miguel as they were leaving i wonder how Miguel came to be married to Rebecca and where Jack might be. Popular speculation is that he's dead. But that just seems to easy and expected, and this show loves it's curve balls and surprises.
- Kate's Time after Time cover was great, I love how that scene was spliced together weaving through plots and time lines
- Chrissy Metz can for real sign y'all she use to do show choir!
- Toby's aunt was on point! loved the nursing home bits
- "if I'd known all i had to do was bring you to a nursing home we would have come a long time ago"
- insane Elaine (i just like saying it)
- the return of Dr. K!!
- Rebecca and Jack aren't opposed to running away to Mexico and leaving the babies they just have to go together
That's for this recap of the first 3 episodes check back weekly for Recaps from here on out.