Finally, This is Us has returned and “Fifth Wheel” deals with Kevin’s stay in rehab after his arrest for a DUI (with his niece in the car) and also gives us a glimpse of young Kevin’s childhood as the “un-special” Pearson.
The entire family is preparing to visit Kevin in Rehab. The meeting which will be led by his therapist is an important part of Kevin’s treatment. Beth does not want to go. She is still furious that Kevin was driving under the influence with Tess in the car. It does not help when Randall defends Kevin by reminding Beth that Kevin didn’t know his niece was in the car. Randall has decided that he is all about supporting Kevin even though he is angry about the DUI too. Kevin was there for Randall at his lowest point not that long ago, and Randall is determined to be there for his brother. In a significant Beth moment, she says “that is some white-people-level repression, babe.” Randall’s response is great too. “Well, I was raised by white people.” Beth says “everybody knows.” Wisely Randall keeps his mouth shut. Before the Pearson’s leave, they check on Tess who they fear has been traumatized by witnessing Kevin’s arrest. Tess tells her parents that she is okay and sends them on their way.
Kate is upset that she didn’t see Kevin’s downward spiral and that she hasn’t been able to see or talk to Kevin since he’s been in rehab. As they leave the house, Toby drops the garbage bag he’s taking out and sees junk food at the bottom of the bag. He now knows that Kate has been binging on junk food and hiding it from Toby. Visibly upset, he knows it’s not the time and place to discuss it.
Kevin’s siblings, Rebecca, Miguel, Beth, and Toby have arrived and watched as Kevin saunters in. Clearly, this is “actor” Kevin putting on a show for them. As his therapist comes, she thinks that it would be best if only the immediate family attend the meeting, so Beth, Toby, and Miguel are out! Feeling very unimportant, the three head to a local bar.
As the session begins, it’s the “charming” Kevin that addresses his family. He apologizes to Rebecca for worrying her. He apologizes to Randall for the DUI. He apologizes to Kate for not being there for her when she miscarried. It’s all very polite and emotionless, and Kevin’s therapist tells him so.
We are taken back to adolescent Kevin and just one of the reasons Kevin felt like the 5th wheel.
Its summer, Kevin is away at camp, and Rebecca and Kate are playing a game. Randall walks in the room with new glasses marveling at how much better he sees. Back to the game, when Kate wins, she wants cookies. Rebecca says no – she’s already had cookies. Just then Jack bursts through the front door! He’s been given the use of a co-workers cabin and announces that the Pearson’s are going on vacation! The kids are excited; Jack is excited, Rebecca not so much. She just sees all the work involved. But, she can’t say no to Jack and the kids, so the vacation is on. Kevin is already at camp, and they will pick him up to join the family later.
When Jack and Kevin arrive at the cabin, Kevin is upset because they started their vacation without him. His parent’s don’t seem to see that fact that he feels left out. Rebecca warns Kevin not to tease Randall about his glasses. No warm and fuzzy reunion there. Kate’s weight is always a priority for Rebecca and Jack is not supportive. He promises to try. Rebecca forces Kate to go outside and play, Kate gets upset and runs off. Jack follows her. Later, Randall’s glasses are missing, and Rebecca blames Kevin, who says he didn’t touch them. She doesn’t believe him. They argue, and Kevin tells his mom that he hates her.
Jack finds Kate, and they talk. It seems a boy at school has been calling her fat. She asks her dad point blank, “do you think I’m fat.” Jack says “Katie Girl, I think you are my favorite-looking person on the whole planet” and then, despite his promise to Rebecca, he TAKES HER FOR ICE CREAM. Rebecca is not happy about that when they return to the cabin. She tells Jack what it’s like to be the bad guy. He agrees to help her with Kate’s food addiction.
Later, as Kevin sits on the porch reading a comic book, Rebecca tries to apologize for not believing him. But, I think Kevin is just done fighting the battle.
While Rebecca, Kate, and Randall meet with Kevin and his therapist, the banished Beth, Toby and Miguel are getting drunk at a local bar. I love drunk Beth. They are all going on about living with a Pearson and when they bring up “Saint Jack,” Miguel is quick to remind them that Jack was his best friend and the greatest guy he’s ever known. In a more somber moment, Toby tells the others about the junk food Kate’s been binging on. They name themselves “the other big three.”
Finally, we go back to the meeting. With a nudge from his therapist, Kevin goes deep. Kate assumes that Kevin is finally going to talk about Jack’s death. Nope. Kevin’s issues go back farther than that. He begins by telling them that he’s learned two things since he’s been in rehab. First, he admits that he has always felt like the fifth wheel of the family. Kate was Jack’s favorite and Randall was Rebecca’s favorite. He believes he used football, acting, fame and finally drugs and alcohol to deal with it. Secondly, he has realized that his entire family is addicts. Jack was an addict and Kate is an addict. This declaration doesn’t go over well, and the family turns on him. Rebecca is furious! When the therapist asks Rebecca if she ever spoke to her kids about Jack’s addiction, she says no because she didn’t want to spoil the 17 years of memories they had with their father. Randall is done with the brotherly support and tells Kevin that he will not allow him to speak to Rebecca like that. Kevin and Randall’s discussion gets heated, and Randall gets up to leave the room, and Rebecca runs after him. This is exactly what Kevin was talking about. He pushes and pushes finally getting Rebecca to scream that yes, Randall was her favorite because he was “easier.” She says that Randall didn’t “abandon me and move away right after his father died.” Deep. Meeting over.
As Kevin sits alone, no doubt reliving the entire session in his mind, Kate finds him. She apologizes. She tells Kevin that she’s been binging on junk food but is hiding it from Toby. Randall approaches and joins them. He apologizes to Kevin and in turn, sincerely this time, Kevin apologizes for driving drunk with Tess in the car. All is well with The Big Three.
Toby finds Kate still sitting on the bench, her brothers gone. She has no idea that Toby knows about the junk food but it seems she has taken some of Kevin’s words to heart. She opens and tells Toby about the binging and hiding. She admits that her addiction to food is very much linked to her father, emotionally and physically. Toby is relieved that Kate told him the truth. Now they can work on it.
Kevin returns to his room after a very long day and finds Rebecca waiting for him. She couldn’t leave without seeing him. She tells Kevin that he was always the strong one. She never worried about him. She didn’t think she had to. She realizes now that was wrong. She tells Kevin that she is sure they had their special moments when he was a child, she knows it. As mother and son embrace, we go back to the cabin and that Pearson vacation from long ago. Kevin wakes up during a thunderstorm and looks for Randall. He walks to Randall’s bed, looks under it and finds Randall’s glasses. He enters his parent’s bedroom hoping to find Rebecca awake and instead sees everyone sound asleep in bed – Jack, Rebecca, Randall, and Kate. Kevin sets the glasses on the nightstand, gets a pillow and blanket and lays down on the floor. Not long after, Rebecca wakes and sees Kevin asleep on the floor and Rebecca lays down on the floor with him. There, now that was definitely a special moment.
This was another great episode superbly written by the show’s excellent writers and portrayed by the cast.
#thisisus #thisisusrecap #bethrocks