This Is Us Season 6 Episode 16 Review: Family Meeting

The Big Three sitting next to Rebecca on This Is Us

I want to get into the recap, but all I can think about is “the song.” If you watch This Is Us, you know what song I’m talking about. I’ll get to it shortly.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 16: “Family Meeting”

As the show gets better, things become sadder. Last week, we said goodbye to Miguel. This week, it’s time to start saying goodbye to Rebecca. But first, there are some important decisions to be made.

It’s been approximately 7 days since Miguel’s death, and Rebecca doesn’t remember as she calls out for him at night. Randall, Kate, and Kevin call a family meeting as they must decide on how to care for Rebecca during her final years. Beth, Sophie, and Philip head to the cabin as the Big Three are left to discuss their mother’s future over some delicious Chinese food.

In a typical fashion, an overprotective Randall believes Rebecca should move in with his family in Philadelphia. They flashback to a time when Rebecca thanked Randall for protecting Kate at a party where Kevin and Kate got drunk. Obviously, Kevin does not agree with Randall, saying that he built the house for Rebecca at her request. Kevin is not wrong. Rebecca did ask him to do this! The two brothers want to make their decision without Kate’s input, who is technically Rebecca’s guardian.

Rebecca interrupts their conversation to say she wants to go for a walk. She even did her makeup for the occasion. I’m not a fashion expert, but I’ve seen five-year-olds apply makeup better than Rebecca. But it’s not her fault! When Kate escorts her on a walk, both Kevin and Randall agree that Rebecca is not “magic” anymore. However, they still don’t agree on what to do.

We interrupt this break to joke with the Big Three Spouses – Beth, Sophie, and Philip – who joke in the cabin about what their significant others are saying. Was this a backdoor pilot for the spinoff?

Back to the family meeting. When it’s finally time to talk, Kate tells her brothers that they need to look at Rebecca like she’s their mother, not a woman with an illness. They need to see Rebecca again. She still has the magic. It’s just a little hidden at the moment. The boys share a nice and quiet moment with their mother and sister.

Finally, it’s decision time. Kate tells the family that Rebecca will be moving back to LA to be closer to her. Before she can even finish, Kevin pulls a “not so fast my friend.” Inspired by his time with Rebecca the day prior, Kevin steps up and says he will move in with Rebecca in the house he built for her. Sophie is game as are Madison and Isaac, who will relocate to the East Coast with the kids as well. Everything is all fine and dandy until…

The song.

This goddamn song! When accompanied by a montage, this song will always mess with my emotions. I still think about the time the show used it to show the crockpot starting the fire that killed Jack. So rude!

It’s a great song by the way. Now, the end is here as the goodbyes begin next week. See you then.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

NBA Playoffs: 3 Biggest Questions Right Now

Luka Doncic flexing in a game for the Dallas Mavericks.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m locked into these NBA Playoffs. My wallet may beg to differ, but I haven’t missed a game. The league is so damn talented right now. There are emerging stars left and right. On any night, so many guys can give you 20 points a game. 

Here are the three biggest questions I have right now. Two of them are fair while one is out of leftfield. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

3. What Happens To Duncan Robinson This Offseason?

I’m fully aware that I’m the only person outside of Miami who cares about this question considering the Heat are going to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and have a good shot of returning to the NBA Finals. That being said, what happened to Duncan Robinson? Two years ago, the sharpshooting Robinson was the Heat’s starting shooting guard, averaging 13.5 ppg and 44.6% from three. Now, Robinson is glued to the bench as Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo receive Duncan’s minutes.

Every team would love to have a 6’7″ shooting guard who shoots over 40% from three. However, do teams want Robinson in year two of a 5 year, 90-million-dollar contract? If he’s getting healthy DNP’s in the playoffs, the Heat have to explore trade options for Robinson this offseason.

2. Will Hunting Become The New Normal?

If you’re a bad defender in the NBA, then there’s nowhere to hide especially in the NBA Playoffs. If the opposing team is smart, they will run pick and roll with whomever the worst defender is guarding, get the switch, and attack at will. It’s like a shark that smells blood in the water. Look no further than Game 2 between the Suns and Mavericks. Despite just under three minutes of matchup time, Chris Paul scored 9 points against Luka and the Suns scored 18 points. He’s also put Dwight Powell through the wringer, scoring 14 points against the Mavericks’ big man in just under two minutes of matchup time.

No one, and I mean no one, on the Suns can guard Luka. He will score over 30 points again in Game 3. However, Kidd is right when saying Doncic will have to participate more on defense. That can only happen if he’s not exhausted from the offensive burden he carries the entire game. Will the real Jalen Brunson please stand up and help Luka out? If that doesn’t happen, get the broomsticks.

1. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo Become A God And Enter The Top 15?

Giannis Antetokunmpo put on a godlike performance in last year’s NBA Finals, rallying the Bucks from an 0-2 deficit to win the series, 4-2, behind series averages of 35.2 ppg, 13.2 rpb, and 5.0 assists. The cherry on top of a historic run had to be his 50-point performance in the series-clinching victory.

Giannis is already one of the 75 greatest players to play in the NBA. He also happens to be the best player in the NBA. Furthermore, The Athletic had Giannis as the 24th greatest player in NBA history. At this time, top-25 is where the Greek Freak belongs. However, if Giannis can go back-to-back, where will he stand with the all-time greats?

If Giannis wins the title this year, it will be without the Bucks’s second-best player. Khris Middleton, for a portion of the playoffs. I’m also assuming he will win Finals MVP if the Bucks win a title. There will be no Igudola over Curry if the Bucks win. So if those two things happen, here are what Giannis’s accomplishments would look like:

  • 2x NBA Championships and 2x Finals MVPs
  • 2x regular-season MVPs
  • 3x All-NBA First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 2x All-NBA Second Team
  • 1x DPOY
  • 3x All-NBA Defensive First Team (will be four after this season)
  • 1x All-NBA Defensive Second Team
  • 1x NBA MIP
  • Member of the 75th Anniversary team

Giannis will have accomplished all of this by the young age of 27. That is an insane resume. Giannis easily slides into the Top 20 with those numbers, but if it’s another historic final where he dominates, it will be hard to keep him outside of the Top 15.

Here’s to an exciting NBA Playoffs. Hopefully, we get a Game 7 in one of these series.

If you agree or disagree with my assessment, leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15 Recap: Miguel

Miguel and Rebecca take a walk in the house in a scene from This Is Us.

After waiting six seasons, Miguel finally stepped into the spotlight on This Is Us. Hopefully, tissues were nearby.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15 Recap: “Miguel”

Every television show has an unsung hero. It’s the supporting character who’s perfect in their role, but when called upon to be in the spotlight, they deliver. On The Office, it was Kevin Malone. On Ted Lasso, it’s Higgins. On This Is Us, it’s Miguel. It’s always been, Miguel.

The episode starts with Miguel’s childhood in Puerto Rico. Led by Miguel’s father, the entire Rivas family moves to Pennsylvania. Miguel’s father finds work as a landscaper. When a young Miguel uses the bathroom in one of the homes, he stumbles upon the owner of the home and discusses Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Miguel says he’ll sit anywhere in the stadium to watch Clemente, the man stresses that where you sit is all that matters, a lesson that stuck with Miguel for the entirety of his life.

We skip ahead to Miguel’s early days as an adult. Miguel lands the construction job because he changes his name to “Mike Rivers”. After all, “Miguel Rivas” never received a callback. On Christmas Eve, Miguel spars with his father over the choices in his life: a new car, straighter hair, and his willingness to pay for a nurse for his aunt. His father expresses his disappointment in Miguel, feeling as if he’s forgotten where he came from. An upset Miguel leaves in tears.

Miguel heads to the bar to meet Jack and Rebecca. Weirdly enough, Rebecca is not too kind to Miguel. Being the good guy that he is, Jack forces Miguel and Rebecca to talk and settle their differences. Future scenes at the bar highlight their budding friendship as well as Miguel’s courtship of his wife, Shelly, which unfortunately ends in divorce as their two kids witness the turmoil in their failed marriage.

Miguel tries to do the right thing and moves to Houston to be closer to his kids even if that means leaving behind a heartbroken Rebecca. After his father dies, Miguel admits to his mother that he’s lost in life. His mother reassures Miguel that he will find love soon enough. Lo and behold, that love is Rebecca, who he reconnects with on Facebook in 2008. When the two friends meet up, their connection is seamless. They kiss, make love, and begin a relationship together in Pittsburgh. At this point, I bet most fans gave a fist pump to celebrate this new union. You know who didn’t approve of this relationship? A twentysomething Kevin, who voiced his displeasure on Thanksgiving at the cabin.

That concludes the happier part of the recap. Now, it’s time to go to the present where things become much sadder. Well, it’s bittersweet, but sad nonetheless as Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s worsens. Miguel borrows Jack’s Super Dad cape, and cares for Rebecca 24/7. Miguel is the first thing she sees in the morning and the last thing she sees at night. Between physical therapy, medicine consumption, and memory exercises, Miguel starts to wear down both physically and mentally, culminating with a bruised lower body after slipping on ice. Jack would be proud of Miguel. That’s for damn sure.

Thankfully, the Big Three step in and give Miguel the break that he so desperately deserves. They hire full-time care for Rebecca, which allows Miguel to receive the necessary treatment he needs both physically and mentally.

Cue Billy Joel. Let’s get sad.

The final montage covers Miguel’s final years. His health begins to deteriorate despite stepping back as Rebecca’s primary caregiver. His heart weakens along with the rest of the body. The writing is on the wall. Knowing Miguel’s time is limited, Kevin visits Miguel’s son, informing him about his dad’s illness. It’s here where Kevin finally sympathizes with Miguel and appreciates what he did for his entire family after Jack’s death. Kevin urges Miguel’s son to make things right with Miguel while he still has the chance. Thankfully, Miguel’s son listens to Kevin’s advice and spends time with his dying father.

I wrote this at the end of my recap last week. I was right. Sadly, Miguel dies. His ashes are spread at his two homes: Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.

When the show finally ends at the end of the month, “Miguel” could crack the Top 10 list for best This Is Us episodes. Though not as good as “Memphis,” the best episode in the series, “Miguel” finally gave an unselfish character the tribute he so desperately deserved. “Miguel” reminded viewers like me that This Is Us can still reach back and throw a 99mph fastball. Go be with Jack, Miguel. Here’s to the final three episodes.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

The New York Giants Finally Did The Right Thing On Draft Night

Kayvon Thibodeaux posing for a picture

Draft night for New York Giants has been a “house of horrors” during the Dave Gettleman regime. After watching Gettleman six feet under, good things have not happened on draft night for the New York Giants. When Gettleman referred to the data analysts as “computer folks,” it was time for him to leave the draft room and head to the golf course.

With the fifth and seventh picks, the Giants were in a prime position to significantly improve at two important positions. In my opinion, the five most important positions are quarterback, offensive tackle, edge rusher, defensive back, and wide receiver. Going into tonight, tackle, edge rusher, and defensive back were a high priority.

I’m in foreign territory. I’m about to compliment the Giants. With their first two selections, the Giants selected DE Kayvon Thibodeaux and OL Evan Neal. Two words: home run.

Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll absolutely crushed the first round. Thibs is a monster on the edge and will be a nice running mate with Azeez Ojulari. Neal will start Day 1 at the right tackle position with Andrew Thomas at left tackle. That’s four promising players at two key positions. This is a smart regime, something that cannot be said about the last few years in New York. I’m so happy right now. I don’t know how to feel because I haven’t felt this positive about the Giants since 2016.

There’s still a lot of work left to do, but fans should enjoy this victory for the night. Now, let’s start the “Malik Willis to the G-Men in Round 2” discussion.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 14 Recap: Sophie’s Choice

Sophie and Kevin talking in an episode of This Is Us

Kevin Pearson’s love life has been a topic of conversation on This Is Us for six seasons. In Episode 14, he finally found his happily ever after with…

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 14 Recap: “The Night Before The Wedding”

At the end of Episode 13, Randall asked Kevin about his night before the wedding. Through the flashback, Kevin thought about three women: Sophie, Cassidy, and Arielle (the wedding singer). Who will he choose?

Episode 14 kicks off with Sophie, or contestant number one. After Kevin learns about her missing luggage, he offers to drive her into town to pick up some clothes. After striking out at every store, Sophie cleverly enters a dry cleaner and secures an unclaimed dress. The former couple then begins to share details about their lives. Sophie is now a traveling nurse while Kevin is a family man and the head of his non-profit construction organization. When Kevin tells Sophie that he’s happy she found love, Sophie shockingly reveals she’s divorced. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife.

After a night of staring at each other from afar, Sophie and Kevin begin to passionately hook up in Kevin’s room. When Kevin makes a comment about how her hair’s smell hasn’t changed, Sophie panics, telling Kevin that she wants him to fall in love with her current self, not her teenage self. Sophie leaves the room, and Kevin is back to square one. For recapping purposes, the pink bra that Madison and Beth found the next morning belonged to Sophie. I had to say it.

Later at the hotel bar, Kevin meets Arielle, the wedding singer, who has been writing observations on things she’s seen in order to serve as future song lyrics. Arielle shares what she wrote about Kevin and how he’s longing for someone in his life. The napkin is what Madison and Beth found the next morning in Kevin’s room.

On his way back to the room, Kevin runs into Nicky, who is on an ice run for Edie as the older couple tries to… well, I’ll leave it to your imagination. As Nicky attempts to relate Kevin’s love life to a pinball machine, Cassidy interrupts and requests to speak with Kevin in private. She needs help unzipping her dress, and Kevin happily obliges. Inspired by Nicky’s words, Kevin asks Cassidy if they should be romantically together. However, Cassidy shoots his request down immediately, saying they are best friends and coworkers and that’s the way it should be. Kevin taking Ls left and right!

At the wedding, Rebecca approaches Sophie, and senses something is wrong with Kevin.* She calls her son an idiot (fair statement!) and reassures Sophie that he will one day figure it out and be a great partner. Meanwhile, with Kevin, Randall attempts to compare losing Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl merchandise to how the world makes no sense. (I give Randall a pass on this mediocre speech because he absolutely crushed his speech to Kate.) However, he tells Kevin that his relationship with Sophie makes sense, and he needs to talk to her.

*Rebecca thinks Kevin and Sophie are 20-years-old and married.

When Kevin attempts to tell Sophie how she feels, Sophie cuts him off and tells him that it’s her turn to speak. Sophie explains how they are both the best versions of themselves at the current moment, and they need to love each other for who they are, not who they were. In one of his shortest speeches ever, Kevin pulls out a Valentine from elementary school that’s addressed to Sophie and tells her that he’s always carried her with him. The two kiss and the crowd goes wild!

I’ve been Team Sophie since Day 1 so I’m happy with this result despite having many questions about how it transpired. Did Kevin carry that Valentine while dating Madison? Anyways, some viewers might think this was rushed. It’s not exactly the shocking This Is Us twist we’ve grown accustomed to over the years.

Sometimes, you just have to play the hits. I’m a huge Billy Joel fan. Seeing Joel live is in my top 3 concerts of all time. I love lesser-known songs like Why Judy Why and Big Man On Mulberry Street, but that’s not what I want to hear at his concert. I want to hear Piano Man, Vienna, and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Play the hits. Don’t overcomplicate things.

That same mindset applies to Kevin and Sophie. Justin Hartley and Alexandra Breckenridge have undeniable chemistry. Why fight against it in the name of shock value? I’m sure there are quite a few painful moments in the four remaining episodes (Miguel’s death? Rebecca’s death?), which is why a happy ever after a moment feels great right now.

Tune in next week when Miguel FINALLY gets a spotlight episode. I’m afraid he dies. See you next week.

What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

The NBA Should Create A Postseason MVP

Joel Embiid and Danny Green celebrating against the Toronto Raptors

I’m tired of the MVP debate. As great as NBA Twitter can be, this year’s MVP discourse on the bird app has been nothing short of insufferable.

I haven’t chimed in the debate so I’ll try to keep it under three paragraphs. Heading into April, three names had legitimate claims for the MVP. In order of where they stood in the race, the three players were Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. After Giannis dropped 44 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists in a Bucks 120-119 OT victory over the Nets on March 31, I told a buddy of mine that if the Greek Freak secured the one seed and won the scoring title, he would win MVP.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. Embiid dominated all season long and became the first center to win the scoring title since Shaq in 2000. However, when I looked at all the numbers and all of the circumstances surrounding each player, Joker gets my vote for MVP. Despite the Ben Simmons debacle, Embiid had Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris in the first half of the season before adding James Harden. In comparison, Jokic’s running mates are Aaron Gordon and Will Barton. Actually, there’s no comparison. Jokic’s supporting cast is as close to nonexistent as you can get.

Joker became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a single season. The Joker is also a monster in the advanced analytics department. For all of the prominent voices in the media laughing at Joker’s advanced analytics, just realize that Giannis and Embiid are right there with him at the top. In VORP, Joker is first followed by Giannis and Embiid. In BPM, Joker is one followed by Giannis at two and Embiid at three. Win shares and OBPM follow the same order. You can’t shit on Joker for being first as a way to discredit his case when Giannis and Embiid are right behind him in these categories.

Ok, I lied. Last paragraph. The Nuggets are the 6-seed at 48-34. People are making the argument for Embiid to win because an MVP can’t be that low in the standings. The Sixers finished with three more wins, which was good enough for the 4-seed. You’re going to go on a tirade over THREE WINS? Enough. Both Embiid and Joker had amazing seasons. One guy can win MVP, and my vote is for Joker.

Time for my next rant. The Joker is averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists in his series versus the Warriors while Embiid’s numbers are 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Nuggets are down three games to none while the Sixers are ahead three games to none. Now, Embiid voters are using this to strengthen their MVP argument while diminishing Joker’s resume.

Really?

The MVP is a REGULAR SEASON award. It is NOT a postseason award. Why is that so difficult for fans to understand? Whether fair or foul, narratives determine the MVP. A good postseason performance might strengthen Embiid’s MVP narrative for next season, but it should not be used to diminish his competition for the current season.

I’m seeing too many tweets that say “Joker would be the worst MVP of all time.” Buddy, that’s a small group of candidates. If Joker is the worst MVP of all time, he’s still better than 98% of his competition. It’s like saying a player is the worst member of the hall of fame. At the end of the day, that player is still in the hall of fame, which is better than the overwhelming majority of players who will lever step foot on a basketball court.

That being said, Embiid is having a monster postseason, and if the Sixers end up making the NBA Finals, he should be rewarded for taking his team there. Even if he’s the best player on the court during those games, if the Sixers lose, the NBA Finals MVP will go to a player on the winning team.

Here’s my solution. The NBA should institute a postseason MVP. In order to win the championship, a team has to win 16 games. The number of games played in the postseason by the winning team can range anywhere from 16 to 28 games over the course of two months. That’s equivalent to one-fourth of the NBA Season. With that sample size, the NBA is doing a disservice to its players by rewarding one player with the MVP for four to seven games. It doesn’t tell the whole story of the playoffs.

Most of the time, the Finals MVP is awarded to the most deserving player on the winning team. However, changing the award to include the entire postseason will ensure that the best player for two months gets rewarded for their efforts. It will also prevent “prisoner of the moment” voting, where players are rewarded for having a few good games during the finals. The best example is Andre Igoudala in the 2015 NBA Finals. Iggy had a nice series, averaging just over 16 points and 5 rebounds. Iggy’s postseason averages were 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. The man who should’ve won Finals MVP, Steph Curry, averaged 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. If the Finals MVP were a postseason MVP, then Steph easily wins it with playoff averages of 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Awarding a postseason MVP instead of a Finals MVP also opens the door for a player on a losing team to win it. They should name it the “LeBron James Trophy” because he has multiple cases where he should have won the Finals MVP. James could have won the 2015 Finals MVP with averages of 35 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. The King also had strong cases in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, LeBron became the first player to average a triple-double in the Finals.

If the regular season MVP encompasses the entire season, shouldn’t the Finals MVP follow suit and encompass the complete postseason? The NHL already incorporates a postseason MVP with the Conn Smythe Trophy. The NBA should do the same.

Do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 13 Recap: Wedding Day

The cast of This Is Us posing for a photo at Kate's second wedding.

As someone who has always wanted to play the piano, tonight’s episode of This Is Us made me want to take out the keyboard from under my bed, and tickle some keys. But first, the recap.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 13 Recap: “Day of the Wedding”

Welcome To Kate’s Second Wedding

This Is Us is on the move once again as we say goodbye to Katoby and hello to Phate. The show picks up at Kate’s second wedding where the flash-forward from Season 5 left off. Kevin is practicing his speech, Randall is helping Nicky to his room, and Kate is preparing to marry Phillip.

For Rebecca, her health is rapidly deteriorating. It’s come to the point where she constantly mistakes Kevin for Jack. Being the good son that he is, Kevin plays along and pretends to be Jack whenever his mother calls him by his father’s name. Speaking of Kevin, Madison and Beth find a bra, poem, and floral jacket in his room. Did Kevin sleep with someone? More on that later.

When Randall visits his mother, he notices Miguel’s blood pressure medication and begins to wonder if Miguel is sick. Randall’s questions about Miguel’s health increase when he notices his constant shaking when lifting his glass up for some wine. When confronted by Randall, Miguel cracks and says that everything is happening too fast. Miguel is playing the role of caretaker and he can’t slow down Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s. The stress has caused “whiplash” for Miguel, and he confides to Randall that he just wanted one normal day where he doesn’t have to talk about Alzheimer’s or be reminded of his dead best friend. It’s a heartbreaking scene. I will drink wine with you, Miguel. Name the time and the place and I’m there.

Rebecca’s Hair

In the past, Rebecca decides to do something drastic in order to spice up her routine. She gets the Princess Diana haircut, and it’s met with mixed results. Kevin says the hair reminds him of Peter Pan while Kate compares it to He-Man, which are both funny jokes in this blogger’s opinion.

It’s clear Rebecca finds the stay-at-home wife pattern repetitive while Jack finds a routine comforting due to his tough upbringing. To comfort his wife, Super Jack puts on his cape and shaves his goatee, leaving only his signature mustache behind. Later that night, the happy couple spend date night at a restaurant, which ends with Rebecca behind the piano, singing a song.

Piano (Wo)Man

It was time for the actual wedding, and everything went according to plan. Kevin goes the comedic route during his speech while Randall elects for a touching (but depressing) speech about time. Randall gets the nod for a better speech. Then, Rebecca is summoned to the piano to play a special song. Despite her fading memory, Rebecca is able to remember her notes, find the right key, and play a beautiful song for Kate and Phillip.

Kevin’s Mystery Woman

I’d be lying if I said the most interesting aspect of the episode was Kate’s wedding. I’m more interested in Kevin’s mystery woman. At the end of the episode, Randall asks Kevin how his night went, which leads to a flashback of the night prior involving three women: Sophie, Cassidy, and the wedding singer. When asked if it’s a good story, Kevin says that he does not know yet.

Well, next week is titled “The Night Before the Wedding” so we will get answers. Sophie is the sentimental choice. Cassidy is the choice that makes the most sense. The wedding singer is not the right choice, but she will somehow share her wisdom with Kevin which will inspire him to chase Sophie or Cassidy.

See you next week.

What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 12 Recap: The End Of Katoby

Toby and Kate sit around a table in a scene from This Is Us

It’s a matter of time before the “Book of Katoby” came to an end on This Is Us. Last night’s heartbreaking look at divorce is in the running with Jack’s trip to Ohio for the best episode of the season.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 12 Recap: Katoby

Goodbye, Katoby

First of all, let’s revisit the original “Goodbye, Toby” from The Office. Hit it, Michael.

This Is Us sifts between multiple timelines in each episode, but this episode jumps back and forth through time like no other episode prior. It chronicles the downfall of Katoby, the rise of Phate (Phillip and Kate?), and the wedding of Phate.

The episode opens at Kate’s wedding to Phillip. She receives a call from Toby, and he tells her to remember what she told him on the day they signed divorce papers. If I were Kate, I would have hung up the phone on the spot. Receiving a call from an ex-spouse as you’re set to marry someone else is wrong.

Back in the present, Toby decides to take a job in LA and attend couples therapy in order to save his marriage. At first, things improve between Katoby, but as Kate becomes happier at school, Toby loses joy by the day. After Kate arrives late for a therapy session, a frustrated Toby leaves the session abruptly.

From there, the show jumps ahead to Kate’s engagement party with Phillip. Kevin brings a woman that won’t be in his life much longer to counteract the fact that Sophie is in the room with her husband. Randall finds time out of his busy Senate campaign to spend some time with the family. For Kate, she hits the stage to sing Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping,” which changed her relationship with Phillip a few years prior. It turns out that Kate met Phillip in Koreatown the day she signed divorce papers and ended up singing that song at karaoke.

The episode then gets in the Delorean and travels back to the future to Nicky, Franny, and Hailey’s second birthday. Kevin brings a different girl this time who happens to be a spokesperson for Trojan condoms. Practice safe sex, everyone! The cracks in Toby and Kate’s relationship split open again after Toby comments about his wife’s low-paying job. Kate escapes to the other room in order to cry and reveals to Kevin that her marriage will probably end. Hold that thought as we jump forward to Phillip’s proposal to Kate a few years later. Obviously, she says yes thanks to some help from Jack and Hailey.

Back in the past, we go as we sit in on a dinner between Kate and Toby. The gloves come off in this fight as Toby screams that he is a good dad despite Kate’s constant remarks about the mistakes he makes. Kate accuses Toby of being miserable with the kids, and Toby says that he’s miserable with Kate in the room. YIKES. Furthermore, Toby says he’s unfairly compared to Jack Pearson, believing Kate will only accept a father as good as Jack. Sorry Kate, but I’m with Toby on this one. The fight comes to an end when Jack yells for help after his Boba Fett action figure goes in the toilet. The couple regroups, and Kate finally decides that their marriage is over.

After their divorce, Toby meets with Phillip to discuss his future with Kate and the children, and Phillip reveals that he will propose to Kate. Who knew Toby would be put in the same situation as Kevin with Madison and Elijah? After the meeting, the show goes back in the past to Phillip and Kate’s first official date. When Kate asks Phillip about his intentions, he tearfully reveals that he’s looking for happiness. His first marriage ended in tragedy when his blind wife died in a car accident after a huge argument concerning their marriage and infertility issues. Moved by his own speech, Phillip kisses Kate.

A few days before the divorce is final, Toby makes one heartfelt plea to stop Kate from going through with this decision. Unfortunately, Kate does not budge, and the result is heartbreaking.

Once the papers are signed, Kate tells Toby that just because their marriage is over does not mean the story of Katoby has come to an end. A dejected Toby does not believe Kate and walks away. Guess what? Kate is right as a montage of Katoby post-divorce showcases happier times between the ex-spouses. Toby even starts a relationship with a new woman! This all culminates with an older Kate and Toby, alongside their significant others, meeting at a bar to watch Jack sing.

Do you know what else ended last night? My theory about Kate’s death. Oh well, you can’t be right about everything.

See you next week at the wedding.

What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.

Stop What You’re Doing And Watch Severance

Mark S and the rest of the team stand together in a scene from Severance

Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to forget about work? Imagine you could shut out all of the struggles and hardships that come with commuting, date input, and awkward water cooler conversations as soon as you leave the building. If you could separate your work persona from your personal life, would you? After watching the (fictional) show, Severance, splitting up one’s memories is not as appealing as it sounds.

Severance follows Mark S (Adam Scott), an employee who works for Lumin Industries in the Macrodata Refinement division. Mark and his coworkers – Dylan (Zach Cherry), Helly R (Britt Lower), and Irving (John Turturro) – are all in the severance program, meaning work memories are completely separate from personal ones. Thanks to a computer chip implanted in their brains, severed employees have two different personas – innies (inside Lumin) and outies (outside Lumin). As soon as employees get into the elevator to enter or leave the office, the computer chip activates one’s innie or outie.

After watching last night’s brilliant season finale, this drama from Apple TV+ is now one of the best television shows in 2022. The show is equal parts sci-fi mystery and workplace comedy. It’s a true slow burn, but not one that wastes entire episodes on explaining exposition with little character development. Every episode peels back a layer of the show’s onion as the employees (and audience) try to figure out the underlying question of the season. What does Lumin do?

The four severed employees start as coworkers, but as the season progresses, they slowly become a family as they band together to figure out their purpose at Lumin. Unlike a lot of workplace dramas and comedies, Severance smartly focuses on the thoughts and feelings of its employees rather than those in charge. That doesn’t mean the higher-ups like Harmony Cobel (Patricia Arquette) and Mr.  Milchick (Tramell Tillman), who both give terrific performances (“Defiant Jazz” is an Emmy worthy submission for Tillman), are neglected along the way. They’re just as clueless about Lumin’s powers and capabilities as the Macrodata Refinement division.

Somehow, the show made cubicles and long hallways visually appealing, and that’s a credit to the show’s creator, Dan Erickson, and primary director* and producer, Ben Stiller. When the employees begin to venture outside of their department and walk the halls that resemble a labyrinth, the music becomes more ominous, and the lighting incorporates more colors to symbolize curiosity and rebellion. Severance takes uneventful tasks such as inputting numbers into a computer and spits out a thrilling adventure about human interaction and responsibility.

*Of the nine episodes, Ben Still directed six while Aoife McArdle directed three.

At the core of the ensemble is Mark, who became a severed employee after the death of his wife. Instead of grieving, he chooses to forget about her for eight hours a day. Mark’s journey from a depressed outie and conservative innie to a curious outie and rebellious innie is the heart of the show. Mark and the rest of the employees want to combine their two halves and become whole again. It’s this idea that the show successfully develops sympathy and understanding as to how people deal with loss and grief.

This brings me to the real reason I’m writing this post, the season finale. It’s one of the tensest and most thrilling 40+ minutes of television I’ve witnessed in the last ten years. Without spoling the plot, every stylistic decision made by Erickson and Stiller is perfect. The fluid camerawork from each character’s innie and outie felt like one continuous movement. The eerie music increasing as the suspense picks up made me want to take a Xanax. Each character’s climactic moment brought me off the couch like I just witnessed a buzzer-beater at Madison Square Garden. (Let’s fix the Knicks, Ben.) The finale is a triumphant victory in how to build suspense and pay it off while still leaving enough on the table to explain in subsequent episodes.

So please, go watch Severance. Season 2 hopefully arrives in 2023. Join this weird world with me and the rest of Lumin Industries.

If you have seen the show, leave your thoughts on the finale in the comments below or tweet me, @Danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 11 Recap: Sinking Ship

Kevin, Kate, and Randall console one another in a scene from This Is Us

Kate and Toby’s marriage on This Is Us is sinking faster than the Titanic. Not good, folks!

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 11 Recap: “Saturday in the Park”

The Barbeque From Hell

The entire family flocks to Kate’s house for a barbeque to celebrate Rebecca and Miguel’s tenth anniversary. Kate and Toby are already on edge after the San Francisco trip, and their constant arguing starts to affect Jack. Despite a happy day at the park with the family, Kate and Toby cannot stop bickering, and it bleeds over to the party. When Randall and Beth arrive, Kate breaks down and cries on her brother’s shoulder. Kate remains hopeful that their marriage will turn around, but I’m not sure if she believes the words coming out of her mouth.

Things go from bad to worse when the ceiling starts leaking water from a plumbing issue. While yelling at each other, both Toby and Kate make careless mistakes. Toby does not lock the gate to Jack’s room and Kate fails to lock the door after letting the plumber in. Jack, who earlier tells Rebecca about his parents’ fighting, takes advantage of the situation, leaves the house, and walks to the park.

Upon realizing their blind son is missing, Kate, Toby, and the rest of the party begin to yell Jack’s name throughout every square inch of the house. Because of his missing rain boots, Rebecca realizes Jack went to the park, and sprints to catch up with him. However, the damage is done when Rebecca finds Jack on the ground with a cut on his head that requires stitches.

Tangent: Does anyone for a second believe that Jack could have made it to the park without being stopped by ONE person? There is no chance in hell that the kid makes it 20-feet down the sidewalk alone.

After returning from the hospital, Kate and Toby have their worst argument to date on the front lawn. It’s ugly, to say the least. Kate accuses Toby of only seeing Jack for his limitations while Toby counters by saying Kate is irresponsible for not admitting his deficiencies. Kate believes she’s the only parent in the family, and Toby says that’s the way Kate wants it to be.

As Toby starts to raise his voice, both Kevin and Randall intervene as they form the “Flying-V,” ready to take on their brother-in-law. An upset Toby laughs and infers that Kate has always put the Big Three over her marriage. This is a callback to a flashback in the episode when the Big Three defend each other from a babysitter who they feel was mean to Kate. Back to the fight, is Toby wrong? For Kate, it’s always been Kevin, Randall, and Toby in that order so he has grounds to be upset. The San Franciso debacle is Toby’s fault, but how would you feel if your significant other always sided with siblings instead of you? I, for one, would be quite upset!

At the end of the episode, Kevin and Randall console Kate after the argument with Toby. However, this blowup feels like the climax, not an early entry, to a rocky relationship. Even Kate doesn’t think the marriage will work. Unfortunately, her instincts will be proven correct.

Kevin Accepts The Truth

Meanwhile, Kevin heads to Madison’s house to visit the twins to escape the craziness at Kate’s house. While walking into her bedroom, Kevin catches Elijah with a ring sizer, meaning a proposal is on the horizon. This rocks Kevin to his core, who still holds out hope that he can rekindle his relationship with Madison.

Later that night, Kevin tells Madison that he’s removing her as an emergency contact aka he knows about the proposal and needs a way to break the ice. Funny enough, Madison admits she’s excited about her impending engagement to Elijah. Seeing her reaction is the “a-ha” moment that Kevin needs to finally move on and accept his co-parenting relationship with Madison.

I’m expecting Kevin to call Sophie in a future episode.

Next week marks the end of Katoby. Wear black and bring the tissues.

What are your thoughts on this episode of This Is Us? Tweet me, at @danny_giro.