2022 Emmys Predictions: Who Should Win And Who Will Win?

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

Be honest. Did you know that the 2022 Emmys are tonight? My guess is no because you’re coming off of a 48-hour football binge which included some pizza, beer, and a dramatic plea for Justin Herbert to throw to Mike Williams.

Ok, that’s just me.

Anyways, television continues to operate at a ridiculously-high level. TV is on a three-year heater where multiple new shows come out of nowhere to dominate pop culture. Severance, Squid Game, Yellowjackets, Abbott Elementary, The White Lotus, and Only Murders in the Building are all first-year shows that had their own moment to shine, which is saying something considering how fast the Internet moves.

It’s competitive as ever this year so once again, I am here to gift you with some predictions. May B̶o̶b̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶R̶h̶e̶a̶ the best nominees win.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul (AMC)
  • Euphoria (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Ozark (Netflix)
  • Severance (Apple TV+)
  • Squid Game (Netflix)
  • Stranger Things (Netflix)
  • Succession (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Yellowjackets (Showtime)

You could make cases for Better Call Saul, Severance, Squid Game, Succession, and Yellowjackets. Severance is my favorite new show of the year, and the finale is the best episode of the year—however, good luck dethroning Succession, which also had a tremendous ending.

  • Who Should Win: Severance
  • Who Will Win: Succession

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman – Ozark 
  • Brian Cox – Succession 
  • Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game 
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul 
  • Adam Scott – Severance 
  • Jeremy Strong – Succession 

Did you know that Better Call Saul has zero (0) Emmy wins? Frankly, that’s a crime. I tend to think the Emmy voters will reward Odenkirk at next year’s ceremony, but there’s no time like the present. It’s Bob’s time.

  • Who Should Win: Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul, but every nominee is worthy of this award.
  • Who Will Win: Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Jodie Comer – Killing Eve 
  • Laura Linney – Ozark 
  • Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets
  • Sandra Oh – Killing Eve 
  • Reese Witherspoon – The Morning Show
  • Zendaya – Euphoria 

Any other year, Melanie Lynskey would be walking away with this award. However, Euphoria’s fifth episode, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” is Zendaya’s crowning achievement in her young career.

  • Who Should Win: Zendaya – Euphoria 
  • Who Will Win: Zendaya – Euphoria 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nicholas Braun – Succession 
  • Billy Crudup – The Morning Show 
  • Kieran Culkin – Succession
  • Matthew Macfadyen – Succession 
  • O Yeong-su – Squid Game 
  • Park Hae-soo – Squid Game 
  • John Turturro – Severance
  • Christopher Walken – Severance 
  • Who Should Win: Kieran Culkin – Succession
  • Who Will Win: Kieran Culkin – Succession

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Patricia Arquette – Severance 
  • Julia Garner – Ozark 
  • HoYeon Jung – Squid Game 
  • Christina Ricci – Yellowjackets 
  • Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul
  • J. Smith-Cameron – Succession
  • Sarah Snook – Succession 
  • Sydney Sweeney – Euphoria 

[Takes a deep breath. Exhales. Screams.] RHEA SEEHORN. Since it took this long to give Rhea a nomination, I don’t see the Emmys awarding Rhea with the hardware that she deserves. I pray I’m wrong, but when in doubt, pick someone from Succession.

  • Who Should Win: Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul
  • Who Will Win: Sarah Snook – Succession

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Abbott Elementary (ABC)
  • Barry (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Hacks (HBO/HBO Max)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video)
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
  • Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

This category is extremely difficult to predict. Only Murders in the Building and Abbott Elementary are looking to crash the party with strong first seasons. In a perfect world, this award goes to Barry, one of the most impressive shows on television. (Though, it may not be a comedy anymore.) But, I’ll stick with Ted Lasso as it continues to Emmy dominance.

  • Who Should Win: Barry (HBO/HBO Max)
  • Who Will Win: Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Donald Glover – Atlanta 
  • Bill Hader – Barry 
  • Nicholas Hoult – The Great 
  • Steve Martin – Only Murders in the Building 
  • Martin Short – Only Murders in the Building 
  • Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso 

If Jason Sudeikis wins in this category again, Ted Lasso is winning Outstanding Comedy Series. This award should go to Bill Hader, and if he wins, it will be three for three in Lead Actor as Barry Berkman.

  • Who Should Win: Bill Hader – Barry 
  • Who Will Win: Bill Hader – Barry 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 
  • Quinta Brunson – Abbott Elementary 
  • Kaley Cuoco – The Flight Attendant
  • Elle Fanning – The Great 
  • Issa Rae – Insecure 
  • Jean Smart – Hacks 

Quinta Brunson has a lot of support for her excellent work in Abbot Elementary, but the Emmys love Jean Smart even more. (Rightfully so. Jean Smart is awesome.)

  • Who Should Win: Quinta Brunson – Abbott Elementary 
  • Who Will Win: Jean Smart – Hacks 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Carrigan – Barry 
  • Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso 
  • Toheeb Jimoh – Ted Lasso 
  • Nick Mohammed – Ted Lasso 
  • Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 
  • Tyler James Williams – Abbott Elementary 
  • Henry Winkler – Barry 
  • Bowen Yang – Saturday Night Live 

It should be Hank, but Roy Kent will win again.

  • Who Should Win: Anthony Carrigan – Barry 
  • Who Will Win: Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 
  • Hannah Einbinder – Hacks 
  • Janelle James – Abbott Elementary 
  • Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live 
  • Sarah Niles – Ted Lasso 
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph – Abbott Elementary 
  • Juno Temple – Ted Lasso 
  • Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso 

I’m not even changing the picture from last year’s predictions. It’s Hannah Waddingham for the win. However, watch out for Kate McKinnon getting the award as the “cherry on top” of her SNL career.

Ted Lasso / Apple TV+
  • Who Should Win: Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso 
  • Who Will Win: Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso 

Outstanding Limited Series

  • Dopesick (Hulu)
  • The Dropout (Hulu)
  • Inventing Anna (Netflix)
  • Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
  • The White Lotus (HBO/HBO Max)

The toughest category of the night. While preparing for this article, Dopesick was my original selection. After much thought, I’m going with The White Lotus since it will win in a few acting categories.

  • Who Should Win: Dopesick (Hulu)
  • Who Will Win: The White Lotus (HBO/HBO Max)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Colin Firth – The Staircase 
  • Andrew Garfield – Under the Banner of Heaven 
  • Oscar Isaac – Scenes from a Marriage 
  • Michael Keaton – Dopesick 
  • Himesh Patel – Station Eleven 
  • Sebastian Stan – Pam & Tommy 

Not many people watched Under the Banner of Heaven, but I really dug Andrew Garfield’s performance. It was weird, raw, and emotional. He might be the best working actor in Hollywood. However, I have no problem with Michael Keaton winning the Emmy.

  • Who Should Win: Andrew Garfield – Under the Banner of Heaven 
  • Who Will Win: Michael Keaton – Dopesick 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Toni Collette – The Staircase 
  • Julia Garner – Inventing Anna 
  • Lily James – Pam & Tommy 
  • Sarah Paulson – Impeachment: American Crime Story 
  • Margaret Qualley – Maid 
  • Amanda Seyfried – The Dropout 

Out of all the acting nominees, Margaret Qualley in Maid gave one of my five favorite performances. What hurts Qualley’s chances is Maid came out nearly one year ago. Amanda Seyfriend’s Elizabeth Holmes was better than Elizabeth Holmes herself.

  • Who Should Win: Margaret Qualley – Maid 
  • Who Will Win: Amanda Seyfried – The Dropout 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus 
  • Jake Lacy – The White Lotus 
  • Will Poulter – Dopesick 
  • Seth Rogen – Pam & Tommy 
  • Peter Sarsgaard – Dopesick 
  • Michael Stuhlbarg – Dopesick 
  • Steve Zahn – The White Lotus 
  • Who Should Win: Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus
  • Who Will Win: Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Connie Britton – The White Lotus 
  • Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus 
  • Alexandra Daddario – The White Lotus 
  • Kaitlyn Dever – Dopesick 
  • Natasha Rothwell – The White Lotus 
  • Sydney Sweeney – The White Lotus 
  • Mare Winningham – Dopesick

The White Lotus dominance continues.

  • Who Should Win: Kaitlyn Dever – Dopesick 
  • Who Will Win: Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus 

What are your predictions for the Emmys? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

James Caan: The Heartwarming Tough Guy

Until today, I never reflected on my relationship with James Caan. The charismatic actor always gave me “tough guy” vibes. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the son of Jewish immigrants born in the Bronx and raised in Queens.

So when I read that Caan sadly passed away at the age of 82, I started to think about his career, and the more I revisited his filmography, the sadder I was knowing the world lost a terrific actor. I did not know Caan personally so I can only speak about his performances. However, so many positive tributes have poured in about Caan, the man, and how much people loved working with him.

Every tribute to Caan will start with his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. You’ll hear no negative remarks from me about Caan’s performance as Vito Corleone’s eldest son. Caan is a lightning rod throughout the film, bringing the necessary chaotic, machismo energy required to play the don-in-waiting. Al Pacino’s performance as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II is arguably the pinnacle of acting, but Caan’s performance is better than Pacino’s in the first film. When he sees Connie with the bruises on her face, Sonny goes from enraged maniac to sympathetic brother in a matter of seconds, convincing the audience that he might show remorse towards Carlo, when in fact, he beats the life out of him. Caan is so committed and believable as an older brother who would kill to protect his family.

Caan’s other iconic roles in the 1970s that struck a chord with me are Brian’s Song and Rollerball. For the former, Caan played Brian Piccolo, a halfback for the Bears whose life ended at 26 from cancer. Caan wasn’t the tough guy anymore. Caan played Piccolo with such grace and vulnerability that it became known as a “movie that will make every guy cry.”

In Rollerball, Caan starred as Jonathan E., the superstar of the violent and deadly game known as Rollerball. The film was simply ahead of its time, brutally foreshadowing a world dominated by corporate greed and global capitalism. Caan is the perfect actor to give the middle finger to “the man” and represent individualism.

Skip ahead to 1981 when Caan ends up starring in Michael Mann’s directorial debut, Thief. For my money, Thief is on the Mount Rushmore of Caan performances. It’s the best representation of the heartwarming tough guy I used in the title. Caan is an enigmatic thief, but he’s a criminal with morals and a code of ethics that make him easy to root for. In one scene, he’s pistol-whipping a henchman. In another scene, he’s pouring his heart out at an adoption agency, trying to convince the state to grant him a child. Caan’s vulnerability is unmatched.

Unfortunately, Caan took a 5-year hiatus in the 1980s to coach his children’s sports teams to combat his depression over the death of his sister and his cocaine use. Luckily for us, Caan returned to acting and starred in 1990’s Misery. Almost every big name in Hollywood turned down the role of Paul Sheldon, who is brutally tortured and confined to a bed throughout most of the movie. But not Caan, who became the perfect foil to Kathy Bates’s Annie Wilkes.

Skip to 1996 when Caan appeared in four movies:

  • North Star, a movie I have never seen
  • Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson’s directorial debut
  • Eraser, where he plays the adversary to Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Bulletproof, where he struck up a personal and professional friendship with Adam Sandler

That’s a hell of a year.

The last iconic role of Caan came in 2003 when he played Walter Hobbs in Elf, the mean-spirited book publisher, and father to Buddy (Will Ferrell). To think there is an entire generation of people who know Caan strictly for Elf and not any of the roles mentioned above is a testament to his impact in Hollywood.

There are plenty of roles I didn’t mention, which speaks to Caan’s longevity and versatility. At the end of the day, Caan is one of the most talented performers of the last 60 years. It’s not hyperbole to say he is one of one. May he rest in peace.

What is your favorite James Caan performance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, at @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 18 Recap: Us

Still from This Is Us Season 6

With the conclusion of the Season 6 finale, This Is Us has come to an end. What a journey it has been. I’m going to keep the recap brief because I have some other thoughts I want to get off my chest.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 18 Recap: Us

Last night’s series finale included a mix of happy and somber moments. In the past, the adolescent Big Three spent a lazy Saturday with Jack and Rebecca. In the future, the Big Three beautifully celebrated the life of Rebecca Pearson at her funeral. Randall might run for President, but more importantly, Deja is going to name her son after Randall’s father, William. The Big Three promised to never drift away from each other, and they recited the “Big Three chant” one last time. Finally, Rebecca and Jack shared a heartfelt moment in the bed of the train as the Pearson patriarch promised his wife that she will forever be a part of her children’s lives.

I apologize for the short recap, but my mind continues to contemplate the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Many people like myself use television as a vehicle for escapism. However, it’s hard to watch a tight-knit family onscreen and not think about all of the parents who sent their young children to school, believing they would come home safely at the end of the day. It breaks my damn heart thinking about it.

This Is Us meant a great deal to many families. I’ll never forget when my father told me to watch this interesting show about a family that spans multiple timelines back in September 2016. This is when broadcast TV was searching for another hit drama outside of Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, and the Dick Wolf universe. I gave the pilot a shot. The reveal of Kevin and Kate being twins with Randall as their adopted brother (who shared the same birthday) was enough for me to stick around. My patience was rewarded with the show’s 16th episode titled, “Memphis,” which is the best the series has to offer.

Over the years, the show preached about the importance of family and sticking together even when times get tough. The lesson I will take away revolves around the speeches about time from Randall and moments from Jack. Randall discussed time and how we all wish to slow time down, especially during the big events.

When teaching the boys to shave, Jack talked about how during the first half of our lives, we wish to be older. Then, the script flips. As you get older, you wish to be younger. Kate understands the concept of enjoying the present, and Jack hopes that Randall and Kevin will come to appreciate these strange things one day, too.

So as I sit here and reflect on the tragic events that occurred yesterday, I think about time and moments. I’m the first one to laugh at Internet users who post quotes about living in the moment and carpet diem. Perhaps I need to start living my life by those inspirational quotes. I’m at the point in my life where I want to be younger and remember all of the little things in life.

I apologize for rambling so I’ll end with this. This Is Us might be a television show, but the lessons about living in the moment and enjoying time in the world will stick with me for the rest of my life. I can’t promise I’ll even abide by those teachings every single day, but there’s no shame in trying. Hug your parents and siblings a little tighter today.

Thank you, This Is Us. Stay safe.

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

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 17 Recap: The Train

Kevin and Randall sit bedside in a scene from This Is Us.

Rebecca has finally arrived at her destination on the train known as life. While the Pearson family says goodbye to Rebecca, fans should start saying their goodbyes to This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 17 Recap: The Train

After years of teasing the flash-forward, the show finally arrives at Kevin’s house as the Pearson family began their final goodbyes to Rebecca. One by one, every member of the extended family said their heartfelt goodbyes to the Pearson family matriarch. Annie thanks her for the inspiring words about her size. Toby praises her for always believing in him. Beth tells her to rest easy, saying it’s her turn to take care of Randall.

Kevin and Randall are waiting for Kate, who is flying back from London after a business trip. The nurse believes Rebecca will not last through the night. It’s a race against time for Kate. More on this later. Meanwhile, Rebecca is on a train, waiting for someone to arrive. First to greet Rebecca is William, who invites her to the bar cart. Although Rebecca is waiting for someone, she agrees to go for a walk. As they move from cart to cart, Rebecca sees the Pearson family at different stages in their lives – childhood, teenage years, and adulthood.

Rebecca reaches the bar, and much to our surprise, Dr. K is the bartender! Dr. K offers to make her a drink with lemons, a flashback to his famous saying, but Rebecca elects for a vesper, a drink her father would have gotten on a fancy train like this. Dr. K injects his soothing presence into the scene once again, praising Rebecca for her toughness and attitude. Rebecca sees different versions of Randall and Kevin in the cart, but Kate is noticeably missing since she is still not back from London. Dr. K lets Rebecca continue her journey with William on the train.

Back in the house, an adult Deja tells Randall that she’s pregnant. However, she’s hesitant to tell the father. Who is the father of Deja’s child? It’s none other than Malik, who shares his enthusiasm with Deja over the pregnancy later that night. The Pearsons then gather in the living room as they listen to Joni Mitchell and share their fondest memories of Rebecca. The night ends with Kevin and Randall the last ones standing as they head to Rebecca’s bedroom. As the boys talk, Rebecca continues to see her sons on the train. Unfortunately, Kate is still missing.

Before Rebecca reaches the caboose, the show takes us to the hospital the night of the housefire and Jack’s death. There is a family that got into a car accident, and their little boy, Marcus, is fighting for his life in surgery. Jack and Marcus’s father trade stories over coffee. When Marcus’s father worries that his son won’t make it, Jack shares the same advice that Dr. K gave him the night of the Big Three’s birth. Take the sourest lemon that life has to offer, and turn it into something resembling lemonade. That becomes the motto for Marcus’s family as Marcus goes on to develop medicine to combat Alzheimer’s.

Here’s the twist. At the hospital the night of Jack’s death, both Jack and Marcus were seen by the same doctor. The doctor left Jack, who was in stable condition, to help an unconscious Marcus in the operating room. Marcus survives, but Jack dies. Had the doctor not left to help Marcus, Jack would have survived.

Finally, Rebecca reaches the caboose of the train, which is an empty room with a bed. She refuses to go in because someone still hasn’t arrived. That special someone is Kate, who comes rushing into the house and sits with Rebecca at her bedside. When Rebecca tells William about her sadness, he says that if something is sad when it ends, it must’ve been pretty wonderful. I agree, William.

Rebecca finally accepts her fate. She gets in bed, turns around, and sees Jack laying next to her. Reunited at last.

Next week, we all say goodbye to this show. See you then.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.