This Is Us Season 5 Episode 13 Recap: Brotherly Love

Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley in This Is Us / NBC

To sum up Randall and Kevin Pearson’s relationship on This Is Us, I turn to one of the smartest and wisest movies ever made, High School Musical 2. There’s a scene between Troy and Chad where Troy apologizes for being a jerk over the summer. Troy says, “Hey, brothers fight,” to which Chad says, “And they’re still brothers.”

Is that the greatest brotherly quote ever? Randall and Kevin fight, but they’re still brothers. Finally, it was time for “The Talk” between Randall and Kevin. Did the brothers become closer or move farther apart?

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 13 Recap: “Brotherly Love”

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Randall traced his battle with identity and race all the way back to his childhood. The episode starts with a 5-year-old Randall spending time in the kitchen with a black couple. It’s clearly a fantasy, but more on that later.

In a flashback, it’s boys’ weekend at the Pearson household and Jack takes 5-year-old Randall and Kevin to a taping of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. While in line at the show, a PA mistakes another white boy as Jack’s second son instead of acknowledging Randall. Jack forgives the PA for the mistake, but it stings Randal. To overcompensate for the mistake, Jack asks the PA to give Randall a “special seat” with a great view of Mister Rogers, much to Kevin’s dismay. Kevin then acts out the entire taping because of his jealousy for Randall.

Before leaving the set, Randall is alone with one of the puppets on stage. Randall reveals to the puppet that he created a set of imaginary parents for himself. These imaginary parents are a black weatherman and a black librarian, who happen to be two of the only black people that Randall sees daily. The puppet says it’s ok to create this fantasy, which makes a young Randall smile.

The College Boys

In the second flashback on This is Us, a late teenage Randall visits Kevin in Los Angeles. Randall is in town for a Model UN conference while Kevin tries to make it as an actor. Kevin calls Randall the “Fresh Prince” upon arrival at his small, beatdown apartment.

After some small talk, Kevin convinces Randall to go out clubbing, and the brothers start to drink like fish. I just want to say that Kevin is a MANIAC for taking straight shots of cheap vodka. Randall starts to loosen up with more liquid courage and takes a hurtful jab at a painting on the wall. Then, Kevin gives Randall a fake ID of a black guy who looks nothing like him. When Randall relays his concerns, Kevin says it will be fine since they’re “both black guys.”

On the cab ride to the club, Kevin is obnoxious to the black cab driver, requesting music changes and demanding specific routes to take. Annoyed, Randall tries to defuse the situation, but it leads to an argument, and the cab driver kicks the brothers out of the car. Randall and Kevin then wrestle on the street before calming down and walking back to the apartment.

While in the hallway, Kevin apologizes for being a jerk. Randall specifies that he was a jerk to their black cab driver, and Kevin responds by saying he’s rude to all cab drivers regardless of race. This argument is a microcosm of their relationships with race. Kevin overlooks Randall’s race despite blackness and identity being very important to Randall. In turn, Randall never wants to discuss race with Kevin for fear of an argument and elects to diffuse any situation where it’s brought up.

The boys eventually make up. Kevin admits he’s a struggling actor and says he’s jealous of Randall because he seems to have it all figured out (Beth, college, future, etc). Randall comforts Kevin by complimenting his painting, taking back his previous insult.

The Talk

In the present on This Is Us, Kevin arrives at Randall’s house, and the two waste no time diving. Kevin acknowledges that Randall probably had a tough, racially charged childhood. It could not have been easy growing up as the only black kid in a white family, living in a predominantly white area. Kevin shares his regret for not defending Randall when the racist father of his prom date humiliates Randall for being black.

While Kevin’s words are sincere, Randall doesn’t accept this defense because frankly, he believes it’s not a true apology. Kevin is just saying what he thinks Randall wants to hear instead of taking responsibility for his racial blindspots.

When the duo locks themselves out of the house, Randall tells Kevin he’s not an intentional racist. However, Randall explains that Kevin’s ignorance towards race was the true problem. Kevin insists that jealousy, not race, was the heart of his problems with Randall. On the flip side, Randall questions if his relationship with Kevin would have been different if he were white and accuses his brother of never accepting his blackness.

The argument showed no signs of slowing down after returning to the house. A defensive Kevin believes Randall is ungrateful for the life that Jack and Rebecca gave him. It’s actually the opposite. Randall is very grateful for his adoption but does wish he could have had a life with his birth parents. It’s here where Randall explains ghost kingdoms and how the black weatherman and black librarian in their town were his imaginary parents. Kevin finally starts to understand where Randall is coming from and the two start to reconcile.

Later in the night, Kevin finally accepts responsibility for his inconsiderate treatment of Randall. Kevin’s jealously stemmed from the fact that Randall’s blackness gave him special treatment so Kevin lashed out and tried to put Randall down because of it. This is the apology Randall was looking for all along. The episode ends with Kevin embracing Beth and the girls as Randall looks on with a smile.

That night, Randall dreams about his ghost kingdom, but this time, it’s with William and Laurel. Randall can finally dream about a life with his real parents, which puts him at ease.

Is all forgiven between the brothers? I’m not sure, but this was definitely a step in the right direction. Brothers fight, but they’re still brothers.

Did you like last night’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 12 Recap: Who Is The Best Man?

Sterling K. Brown on This Is Us

There is a storm coming on This Is Us that would make Selina Kyle jealous. The impending storm involves a serious conversation between Randall and Kevin about race, childhood, and their future as brothers. But first, coffee*.

I’m drinking coffee right now so in the moment, that phrase feels right even though it has nothing to do with This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 12 Recap: “Both Things Can Be True”

Madison And Toby Bond At The Park

No bond is stronger than that of the Big Three. It’s the Fort Knox of sibling relationships. Because of this, those on the outside looking in end up bonding since they can’t join the exclusive club. We’ve seen the “Other Big 3” bond before in a text chain. Miguel, Beth, and Toby can now add Madison to the group.

Madison and Toby spent some time at the park with their children as Kevin worked on wedding plans and Kate started her new job at the school. Both Madison and Toby are hiding secrets from their significant others. Madison wants a new wedding venue while Toby struggles with Kate’s employment opportunity since he’s now a stay-at-home dad.

Madison and Toby urge each other to come clean with Kevin and Kate. Madison asks Kevin to change the wedding venue, and he agrees without pushback. On the other hand, Toby does not reveal his feelings about work after Kate shares her excitement about helping a young girl sing “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. I’ll give it a few episodes before Toby and Kate argue about their future.

Beth And Tess Enter New Territory

In Philadelphia, Beth nervously prepares for a “date” between Tess and her new friend (are they officially dating?), Alex. Beth quizzes herself on Alex’s preferred pronouns and promises to accept Tess’s new relationship. Things were going fine until Beth opens the door to Tess’s room and discovers the duo huddled close on the bed. After Beth asks Tess and Alex to study downstairs, Tess abruptly calls Beth a psycho. Calling your mother a psycho is a death sentence so Beth asks Alex to leave. This starts an argument where Tess accuses Beth of having a “look” when she saw Tess with another girl.

Beth takes some time to cool down and vent to her mother, Carol, about her own feelings towards Tess and her future. Beth explains how she always dreamed of Tess dating boys and marrying a wonderful man, but would let that dream go in favor of what her daughter wants. In her mind, Beth thinks she let that dream go, but Tess begs to differ. Carol describes how it’s not ok to just let go of her thinking. Carol says Beth must adjust to this new reality, relating it to her relationship with her daughter and how she wasted 20 years holding on to false hope. It was here I knew that This Is Us was pulling our heartstrings tonight.

Finally, Beth and Tess attempted to smooth things over in their relationship. Tess is sad that Beth has to “try” in their relationship when that’s not Deja’s or Annie’s case. Beth swears that they’re still close, but Tess doesn’t wholeheartedly agree with this notion. I applaud This Is Us for making this a marathon and not a sprint. The show could’ve easily ended this argument after one episode so I’m glad that this subject and tension will continue between Beth and Tess.

Miguel To the Rescue

Is Miguel the nicest guy to ever exist on This Is Us? Seriously, Miguel is such a good friend. When Jack decides to propose to Rebecca, Miguel helps his friend every step of the way. While practicing the proposal, Jack accidentally jams the engagement ring onto Miguel’s finger, which causes it to get stuck.

As the men try to get the ring off, Rebecca’s dad arrives to let Jack know that he will accept the proposal, but won’t give Jack his blessing. Jack views this as a win, but Miguel passionately defends Jack’s honor and praises his friend’s heroic qualities. Although he doesn’t say a word, Jack’s father seems to reconsider and offers to help get the ring off Miguel’s finger.

In the present, Miguel also moonlights as a wedding planner and meets with Kevin to discuss the rehearsal dinner. Surprisingly, Uncle Nicky wants to plan the wedding, too. Nicky clearly has an ulterior motive, and it’s revealed when he takes an unnecessary shot at Miguel for marrying Rebecca after Jack’s death. It’s a huge low blow if you ask me. Miguel had every right to punch Nicky, but instead, he takes the high road and explains how he thinks about what Jack would think of this marriage every single day and how he’ll never have a chance to explain his reasons.

Later that night, Nicky calls Miguel to apologize for the insult. Once again, Miguel shows such restraint and forgives Nicky for the cheap shot. Miguel goes one step further and tells Nicky that Jack never fully cut his brother out of his life. In the past, Jack asked Miguel to stand on the altar and say a few words at the reception but never says “Best Man,” because Miguel believes that spot was always reserved for Nicky.

I’m still convinced Miguel will die at some point. I wrote this a few weeks ago.

Kevin And Randall Prepare To Talk

While Nicky and Miguel bicker, Kevin tries to muster up the courage to ask Randall to be his best man. After trying to write an email, Kevin finally calls Randall and asks him to be his best man. To Kevin’s surprise, Randall happily accepts. When Kevin tries to talk with Randall about their childhood, Randall, who had an emotional day at therapy, passes and says to do it another time.

However, Kevin wants to have “the talk” in person and offers to visit Randall in Philadelphia. Randall accepts the proposal.

Next week, the brothers will sit down and hash out their issues. It’s long overdue.

Also, shoutout to Kevin’s exes, who read about his engagement in the tabloids. I can’t wait for Sophie to show up and profess her love for Kevin.

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 11 Recap: Uncle Nicky Comes To Town

Uncle Nicky This Is Us

Uncle Nicky’s origins have been somewhat mysterious since his introduction. We know Nicky and Jack were close until that fateful day in the Vietnam War when Uncle Nicky’s mistake accidentally led to the death of a child. That resulted in a separation between the brothers as Jack tried to put his life pre-Vietnam behind him even if that meant alienating Nicky. Last night on This Is Us, we received a glimpse at a happier Nicky and what his life could have been.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 11 Recap: “One Small Step …”

Moon Man

Although he became jaded and secluded in his elder years, Nicky was quite the opposite as a young man. Nicky was a shy, happy, and intelligent guy who lived with his parents and worked at a veterinary clinic. On the day of the moon landing in 1969, Jack, who moved out of the house, visits Nicky and tells him to get out of the house and go out on a date. It turns out that Nicky has the perfect girl to take out in Sally, his coworker.

Nicky and Sally bond over his love and appreciation for the moon. The duo become inseparable as Nicky forms a deep, loving connection with Sally and her van, “Pearl.” One night, Sally asks Nicky to come with her to Woodstock, and then to California to work on her cousin’s farm. Nicky hesitantly agrees at first, but after receiving Jack’s blessing, decides to take the leap of faith with Sally and travel the country.

Unfortunately, Nicky develops cold feet on the night he’s supposed to leave with Sally. After bonding with his father over the moon, Nicky decides to stay, mainly to protect his mother from his abusive father. Nicky noted that he’s “better with her when I’m around.”

The “What Could Have Been” Meet Up

We know that Jack and Nicky met up at least once post-Vietnam when Jack essentially cut Nicky out of his life. It turns out there was a chance for a second meet-up. A few years after Vietnam, Nicky is in bad shape and clearly needs help. His old war buddy tells him about meeting up with some members of their unit to celebrate one of their engagements. More importantly, Nicky learns that Jack will be there.

Despite his fears, Nicky musters up the courage to attend this party. Upon arrival, Nicky notices Jack enter the building, but hesitates to say anything and remains in the parking lot. Inside, Jack receives advice on how to deal with his tough past and how to move on. He’s told to forget about his old life, lock it away, and focus on forming a new life with Rebecca. This advice explains why Jack moved on from Nicky. However, Nicky still had a chance to speak with Jack in the parking lot. Just when he’s about to call out his name, Nicky stops in his tracks when Jack looks at the engagement ring he bought for Rebecca. The brothers then go their separate ways.

Great Uncle Nicky

In the present-day on This Is Us, Nicky surprises Kevin and Madison at their doorstep. He explains how he received an invitation for the twins’ baptism and decided to show up even if the ceremony was taking place on Zoom. As someone with a 90-year-old Grandma who doesn’t use Zoom, I totally sympathize with this mistake.

Anyways, before arriving in Los Angeles, Nicky enlisted the help of Cassidy to prepare for the trip. Nicky is really excited about the trip and even makes two beautiful snowglobes by hand to give to the twins. Unfortunately, Nicky can’t bring his presents past TSA, which leads to Nicky accidentally destroying the presents. This reminds me of Chris Rock’s rant about airport security and how it used to be fun to fly.

In typical Kevin fashion, he starts planning activities to do with his uncle and the twins, which freaks Nicky out since he’s not used to his much love. After debating on pulling an Irish Exit to Kevin, Cassidy talks him off the ledge and encourages him to accept their love.

Late at night, Nicky sneaks into the twins’ room and gives an impassioned speech about his life and how regret and fear have held him back. Nick compares the moon landing to his life, that the impossible became possible. If man could land on the moon, then Nicky could be happy.

This was arguably one of my favorite episodes of the season. Uncle Nicky finally got the backstory he deserved. Hopefully, Uncle Nicky is here to stay.

Did you enjoy last night’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: The Dinner Table

NBC's This Is Us

If you like uncomfortable conversations at the dinner table, then last night’s episode of This Is Us was in your wheelhouse!

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 10 Recap: “I’ve Got This”

Anyone Up For Some Credit Card Roulette?

Anyone up for some credit card roulette? Back in the past, Jack learned to never play credit card roulette, especially with cocky businessmen. The men across from Jack would’ve been snake oil salesmen in the early 1900s. Plus, the waitress should not have the option to look at the cards when playing roulette. She needs to close her eyes or turn away and pick. This game of credit card roulette was fixed. To quote Brodie Broadus from The Wire, “The game is rigged, man.”

Jack spent money he didn’t have, a tale as old as time. However, this moment changed how the Pearson family dealt with money. Rebecca told Jack that she would be handling the finances and putting 10% of Jack’s monthly salary into savings. Well done, Rebecca.

The Dinner From Hell

In terms of awkwardness, family dinners are as uncomfortable as they get if all hell breaks loose. Well, all hell did break loose at Randall’s house. Beth has always had a contentious relationship with her mother, Carol (Phylicia Rashad). With Carol in town, Beth feels like a demon is breathing down her neck at all times. (Apologies to Phylicia Rashad. She’s not a demon, but a demanding and judgmental in-law can be someone’s worst nightmare.)

With Carol set to leave the next day, Beth decided to make the perfect dinner as a way to prove her worthiness as a mother and leader of a household. Before sitting down for some chicken curry, Randall shared an important moment with Malik outside on the porch. (Shoutout to Isaac the basil plant.) Malik’s ex-girlfriend, Jennifer, who happens to be the mother of his child, expressed interest in being apart of baby Janelle’s life again. Randall, who spent most of his life wishing he knew his birth parents, supported Malik’s decision to give Jennifer another chance.

As you could expect, dinner became a war zone on This Is Us. Carol threw a backhanded compliment towards Beth about her chicken. Tess scolded Beth for using the wrong pronouns towards her friend, Alex. Tess also revealed that she’s dating Alex, which came as a surprise to Beth since Carol already knew about the relationship. Deja confronted Malik and Randall about Jennifer. Beth finally reached her breaking point and lashed out against Carol. It’s not what you want to see.

After taking some time to relax, everyone finally calmed down. Randall apologized to Deja and reassured her that he will always be #TeamDeja. Beth apologized to her mother after Carol revealed her appreciation towards her daughter and her family. In a surprising twist, Beth told Randall that Carol will be staying at their house indefinitely, which means Randall will be spending a lot more time on the porch.

The Dinner From Hell (In California)

Across the country, there was another dinner full of arguments and awkward moments and no, I’m not referring to an episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Kate, Toby, Madison, and Kevin decided to meet for dinner as a temporary escape from their newborns.

Before dinner, Toby asked Kate to not mention the fact he lost his job. Toby was waiting on a potential job offer and did not want to discuss work with Kevin unless he had another job lined up. As soon as the Damons arrived at Kevin’s house, bad news struck when Toby received a rejection email from a potential employer. Throw in the fact that Kevin wants to build a family compound in Mailbu. Toby was bound to explode at some point.

Money is a tricky subject to discuss with other people. No one wants to admit they’re struggling or need help. Our pride gets the better of us. However, people in better financial situations need to understand this concept and respect someone’s wishes when it comes to finances.

Take the above paragraph and apply it to the dinner conversation between Kevin, Toby, Kate, and Madison. After Kevin offered to pay for everyone’s childcare, Toby flipped out and stated he doesn’t want or need Kevin’s money. Toby assumed that Kate told Kevin about their financial troubles, which she did not disclose. Toby then tripled down on outbursts when he called out Kevin and Madison’s nanny for doing all the “hard stuff” of parenthood, which was a cheap shot. Cooler heads prevailed as Kevin and Toby forgave each other later on. Mark my words, this conflict between Kevin and Toby is far from over.

At the end of the night, Kate shared that she’s going back to work as teacher’s assistant, and Toby was less than thrilled with the news. Something tells me things are only going to get worse for Toby. I could see his depression ramping up in future episodes. Hang in there, Tobe.

Uncle Nicky Comes To Town

Kevin was greeted by none other than Uncle Nicky, who showed up on his front porch at the end of the night. Next week will be Uncle Nicky’s time to shine. See you then.

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: Here In My Car

Chris Sullivan in This Is Us

To quote Gary Numan, “Here in my car.” Car rides and babies dominated the screen on last night’s episode of This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: “The Ride”

Kevin And Madison Battle The Paparazzi

The paparazzi sucks. I’m trying to think of something nice to say about the paparazzi, but I’m at a loss for words. If you have a family and need to provide for them, then I can (sort of) sympathize with those photographers. However, if you’re single and stalk celebrities for a living, please get a life.

Madison experienced the paparazzi firsthand on her way home from the hospital with Kevin and the twins. A paranoid Kevin pulled over and confronted a photographer when he noticed the paparazzi was on his tail. Before he could start a fight, Madison intervened and cut a deal with the photographer. She’ll inform the photographer when Kevin goes jogging if he stops following them home, to which he agrees. Apparently, Madison is a ride-or-die.

When they arrived home, Kevin passed out in the car and dreamt about Jack meeting his twins. In the dream, Jack held Franny and Nicky while promising Kevin that he’ll be a good father. The dream ends with Jack asking Kevin to go after what he wants in life. It turned out that Kevin wants to marry Madison, and upon waking up, he re-proposed with a hospital bracelet instead of a ring, stealing a page out of a middle school boyfriend’s playbook. Madison accepted so let the wedding conspiracies begin.

Kate’s Dilemma

Things didn’t go according to plan for Kate. After Toby finally met Hailey, it was time to go home and become a family of four. But first, they had to bring Ellie home, who looked upset as soon as she stepped foot in the car. An excited Kate started to plan future playdates between Ellie and Hailey. However, Ellie tearfully revealed that she does not want to have an open adoption anymore. Expect this to come up again before the season’s end.

The bad news kept on coming when Toby shared the news about losing his job. Toby was laid off but withheld the news so Kate wouldn’t worry. Surprisingly, Kate remained extremely positive and reassured Toby that they will figure out their finances later. Something tells me that more problems are on the horizon for Kate and Toby. Unfortunately, Toby’s depression will most likely remerge.

One Shot Of Whiskey, Please

This Is Us brought us back to the day Jack and Rebecca left the hospital with the Big Three. Both parents were extremely nervous and on-edge. Can you blame them? Taking care of one baby is a full-time job, but three babies? That’s like working a 23-hour day.

On their drive home, another car illegally cut off Jack, which led to Papa Pearson angrily confronting the driver at a gas station. To calm down, Jack slammed back a whiskey nip and asked Rebecca to drive home. Upon arrival, Rebecca and Jack elected to stay in the car while the Big Three fell asleep.

At this moment, Rebecca and Jack revealed their biggest fears about parenthood. Rebecca disclosed how her mother experienced a miscarriage and never recovered from the sadness. Jack confessed to the whiskey shot and how he never wants to be like his drunk father. As this power couple tends to do, they lifted each other’s spirits and reassured themselves that they will be good parents.

Beth Wants A Blizzard

It was time for Randall and Beth to bring the cutest member of the family, Annie, home from the hospital. On their way to Dairy Queen, Randall expressed interest in having a third child with Beth. Randall wants a son so his family tree will grow. I don’t have kids, but talking about the next kid while your wife recovers from pregnancy seems like a death wish.

In the Dairy Queen parking lot, Randall explained how he has no family tree. At the moment, Randall does not know about William and Laurel. However, Randall reassured Beth that he doesn’t care about having a boy anymore. Tess and Annie will help grow his family tree.

A Flash-Forward!

It’s time to play “Who is in the flash-forward at Kevin’s house?” At the beginning of last night’s episode, a medical intern left the hospital to avoid a lecture on labor. This intern was picked up by another young woman. We found out that the intern is pregnant.

At the end of the episode, we got the big reveal at Kevin’s house. The pregnant intern was Deja and the driver was Annie. The girls embraced Randall and Tess at Kevin’s house. Right before the episode ended, a white car pulled into the driveway. In other words, the next guest has arrived. Who is it?

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 8 Recap: The New Big Three

Caitlin Thompson in This Is Us

Let’s make some babies. The new Big Three arrived on This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 8 Recap: “In The Room”

Kevin, Madison, and the assist from Randall

Let’s start with the most famous member of the Pearson family, Kevin, who was in a race against time to join Madison in the delivery room. While Kevin battled the TSA, Madison battled her contractions as she did her best to wait for her fiancé’s arrival. Excuse my ignorance if battling contractions is not the proper term. Apologies to all of the strong mothers out there!

Alone and afraid, Madison received an unexpected call from Randall and Beth as they traveled home from New Orleans. The duo did their best to calm Madison down as she prepared for labor. I was ecstatic to watch Randall in a good mental space. It takes a toll on my well-being to watch Randall suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. More Hanson stories, fewer tears.

Thankfully, Kevin arrived before the birth of the twins. Did anyone else feel cheated of an explanation regarding Kevin’s conversation with the TSA agent? He gave this magnificent speech in last week’s episode, and it apparently worked. However, I wish there was a scene at the airport where the TSA agent explained her rationale for letting Kevin on the plane. It could’ve been Kevin’s Jerry Maguire sprint through the airport scene.

Nevertheless, the twins arrived, and their names are Nicholas, in honor of Uncle Nicky, and Frances, after Madison’s grandmother. Kevin called Randall to share the good news and apologize for his actions in the argument to end Season 4. Randall forgave Kevin and wished him well. Not to toot my own horn, but… toot.

Kate And Toby Welcome A New Daughter

Kevin wasn’t the only member of the Big Three preparing for parenthood as Kate accompanied Ellie to the hospital for the birth of her daughter. Due to COVID, Toby waited in the parking lot like he was tailgating for a football game.

Ellie gave birth to a baby girl named Hailey with Kate by her side. However, Ellie went against her own orders and asked to spend time with the baby before giving her to Kate. The writers teased the idea that Ellie would keep the baby, leaving a devastated Kate to watch from afar. Instead, Ellie reassured Hailey that by giving her to Kate, she would be doing the right thing. Eventually, Kate greeted and caressed Hailey as Toby, who bonded with Arlo aka Senator Mitchell Chapin from Amazon’s Jack Ryan in the parking lot, virtually looked on. Toby chose Rose as Hailey’s middle name in honor Arlo’s wife, who finally reunited with her husband.

Rebecca Reminisces At The Cabin

In the past, Rebecca and Jack retreated to the cabin for a romantic getaway. After a pipe burst, they argued about the Big Three and how they’re growing up too quickly. Rebecca reassured Jack that their family will always remain strong and survive. Truthfully, that hurt to watch knowing that Jack dies years later.

In the present, Rebecca bonded with the nicest guy to ever exist, Miguel. Rebecca thanked Miguel for always being there for her especially after Jack died. Just like Jack’s death crushed our morale, Miguel’s death will crush our souls. Yes, I’m calling my shot.

On a group FaceTime between Kate, Kevin, and Rebecca, Kate dubbed the babies as the new “Big Three.” I can’t wait for a Big Three episode centered around these three kids in a flash-forward.

I also want to make note of the storyline between Esther Pariente and Nasir Ahmed. It was a touching tribute to the man who helped develop video transmission.

Next week, we’re going back to the past as Jack and Rebecca bring the Big Three home from the hospital.

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 7: The Good Father

This Is Us Kevin

All eyes were on Kevin as he raced home for the arrival of his twins on This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 7 Recap: “There”

Kevin Hits The Road

If you thought Kevin’s twins were going to arrive on their due date, then you must be new to This Is Us. Right before his A Few Good Men moment with Robert De Niro*, Kevin receives a call from Madison, who tells him she’s having contractions. Stealing a page from Jack Pearson’s playbook, Kevin leaves the film, jumps in his car, and heads back to LA. Fans everywhere were happy when Kevin stood up to the director and quit the film.

Side note: Do you think they had to ask De Niro if they could use his name in the show? I think they did. More importantly, does De Niro watch This Is Us? Up until 2020, I’m guessing he never watched. However, I bet he watched a few episodes during quarantine and liked what he saw.

I’m a sucker for a long car ride as a framing device for Kevin’s internal crisis. In the span of an hour, Kevin quits the movie, talks to Randall, secures a flight home thanks to Miguel and Rebecca, and promises Madison he will make it in time for the delivery. Oh, that’s right. He also saved a man in a car accident!

Side note: I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I predicted Kevin wasn’t in a car crash. Instead, he would be the one to help out at the scene.

While conversing with the victim (Joshua Malina from The American President and The West Wing), Kevin conveys how he wants to be like his father, who was always there for every major event. Malina’s character assures Kevin that his kids won’t remember anything about their birth. Still, Kevin doesn’t want to be an absentee father, and missing the birth of his twins would most likely send him on a downward spiral.

This conversation ties in with the two other timelines on last night’s episode. A young Jack must drive his drunk father home after a little league game. Jack’s father, Stanley, berates Jack for losing the game. Fast forward to adult Jack, who travels with 13-year-old Kevin to football camp. Kevin starts to feel the pressure especially after overhearing Jack call him “soft.” After discovering that the coach insults Kevin at practice, Jack takes Kevin to dinner to talk. Then, serendipitously (I pray I’m using that word correctly), Jack runs into Kevin’s coach in the bathroom of the restaurant and orders him to refrain from calling Kevin stupid.

To put a bow around the paragraph above, the idea of becoming a better father than your own father is on full display. However, you’ll always have a piece of your father no matter how hard you try to embrace or avoid it. Jack wanted nothing to do with his father and swore he would never act that way around his kids. When Jack realizes he’s pressuring Kevin as much as his own father, he stops that behavior immediately. Jack emphasizes that Kevin will be a better father than himself one day. Now, Kevin is trying to be like Jack by being “there” for all the big moments. As much as Kevin wants to be like Jack, he will soon realize he needs to carve out his path to become his own man.

At the end of the episode, Kevin makes it to the airport in time for his flight. When he attempts to get passed TSA, it’s to no avail since he dropped his wallet with his ID at the crash site. It’s unknown whether Kevin makes the flight or not.

Randall To The Rescue

I predicted that Kevin would help at the crash site, but I was surprised when Randall called Madison at the end of the episode. Ever since the fight between Randall and Kevin, I said that the birth of Kevin’s twins would bury the hatchet between the brothers. It appears my prediction might come true after all as the promo for the next episode teases Randall and Beth coaching Madison through labor over the phone.

Next week, babies might arrive for both Kevin and Kate!

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: Randall Takes A Swim

This Is Us Season 5

Let the solo episodes begin. Last night on This Is Us, Randall finally learned the story of his birth mother, Laurel.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: “Birth Mother”

This Is Us Season 5
Jennifer C. Holmes as Laurel and Anthony Hill as Marshall Winston in This Is Us / NBC

Laurel DuBoi

Randall, meet your mother, Laurel. Randall and Beth traveled to New Orleans to meet with Hai Lang. The duo met Hai at a lakeside house, which unbeknownst to Randall, belonged to Laurel. Over a day of conversation at the kitchen table, Hai shared Laurel’s story and how they came to know each other.

The Spark Notes Version

  • Lauren grew up in New Orleans. Her father never truly accepted her.
  • Comforted by her brother, Jackson, and Aunt Mae, who was secluded from the rest of the family.
  • Jackson died in Vietnam. Aunt Mae encouraged Laurel to swim in the lake and scream her problems away.
  • Laurel meets Hai, who moved with his parents from Vietnam.
  • Hai and Laurel fall in love, but her father disapproves. When Laurel’s father forces her to accept a proposal, she asks Hai to leave town with her. He rejects her proposition so Laurel heads to Pittsburgh.
  • Skip ahead to Laurel’s overdose. William leaves with baby Randall, never to see Laurel again since she technically died for a few minutes. William didn’t lie to Randall about his birth mother because that’s what he believed to be true.
  • Laurel miraculously survives, but she’s arrested a few days later. She pleads guilty to drug possession and serves five years in a California jail.
  • After jail, Laurel moves back to New Orleans and lives with her aunt. Laurel believes she could never be a good mother, which explains her decision to never seek out Randall.
  • Laurel works at the same market at Hai. Although Hai is married with children, they remain friendly from afar.
  • After Hai’s wife dies decades later, he finally reconnects with Laurel. However, Laurel has breast cancer and stops treatment. Hai happily spends Laurel’s final two years at her side before she dies in 2015.
  • Hai gives the house to Randall.

Everything about the first forty to fifty minutes was so sincere. Although Laurel had tough moments, her life was not a tragedy; it was a story of redemption. For Randall, he finally received definitive answers about Laurel and her life. There were no tricks or curveballs about Laurel’s story. It felt like a completed story that Randall could accept and move on with without any regret.

The Lake

Here’s where things could get controversial. Towards the end of the episode, Randall goes for a swim in the lake. (Sterling K. Brown, drop the workout to stay shredded in the comments.) Randall entered the water because his mother used to do the same thing when she was feeling angry or upset. Not only did Randall feel his mother’s love in the water, but envisioned her physical self. Laurel told Randall that she loved him and needed to let go of his pain and anger. Randall screamed, and all of his pain went away.

The idea behind the scene was heartfelt. Since Randall spent time with William on camera, it makes sense to show an interaction with Laurel. The scene was beautifully written and acted and hit all of the emotional notes between Randall and Laurel.

For lack of a better word, This Is Us just went “supernatural on us.” The show uses flashbacks, but this is the first time where a character envisioned someone out of thin air. It wasn’t silly, but I’m not sure how I feel about this. This Is Us was on the X and Y axises and last night opened the door to the Z axis. Once again, the acting and heart of the scene was great, but envisioning Laurel didn’t make sense to me in the grand scheme of the show. Instead of the lake, what if Randall found a letter written by Laurel that stated her love for her child that she never knew? She could’ve written that entire monologue from the lake on paper and read it as a voiceover, with flashbacks to the day she wrote the letter as well as the happier moments in her life. Wouldn’t that have been just as effective?

Randall Calls Kevin

When Randall was ready to forgive his brother, Kevin was having a crisis of his own. Randall tries to bury the hatchet with Kevin, but the oldest member of the Big Three can’t concentrate because Madison went into labor while he’s in Vancouver. Kevin is speeding back to be with Madison, but in the promo for next week, a car crash will occur. I pray Kevin wore his seatbelt.

Did you like last night’s episode? Leave your comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: Kate Reveals All

This Is Us / Credit: NBC

Between the election and winter hiatus, This Is Us has experienced more breaks than a long-distance relationship between freshmen at college. Thankfully, the show should be rattling off a large chunk of episodes in succession so let’s get cooking.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: “A Long Road Home”

THIS IS US — “A Long Road Home” Episode 505 — Pictured in this screen grab: Sterling K. Brown as Randall — (Photo by: NBC)

Kate’s Pregnancy, Abortion, And Trip To San Diego

In the last episode, teenage Kate held a positive pregnancy test in her hand. This Is Us spent little time beating around the bush as the first scene confirmed Kate’s pregnancy. She also revealed that she had an abortion and Marc, her abusive ex-boyfriend, was the father. After confessing to Toby, Kate drove to San Diego to confront adult Marc, who was still the same asshole from the past. Kate took back control of her life, forgave herself, and gave her pain back to the source, Marc.

Good for Kate. Marc traumatized her for years so it was inspiring to see her win back her confidence and strength. The abortion scene was both harrowing and practical so I respect the care the writers put into that scene.

Having said that, the meeting with adult Marc was a bit of a letdown. I understand why the scene happened, but it felt too good to be true. I’m a firm believer in separating television from real life, but Kate tracking down Marc seemed way too easy and unrealistic. Marc then conveniently lived in the same state as her less than two hours away. I wasn’t offended by the scene whatsoever. However, for a show that has tackled present-day issues such as COVID-19 with accuracy and attention to detail, this chance encounter seemed far-fetched.

Kevin The Father Or Kevin The Actor?

NBC This Is Us
This Is Us / NBC Universal

Currently, my favorite member of the Big Three is Kevin. His evolution from the funny, half-wit brother to a complicated, compassionate adult has been a highlight for the show. In the episode, Kevin receives a notice that his film will be shooting in Vancouver and must leave for a few weeks. Madison allows Kevin to go but reveals her concerns over his commitment to their relationship. Without specifically stating the circumstances, Madison gives Kevin an ultimate, his career or fatherhood?

Since when could actors not become fathers? Kevin needs to prove he can be a good dad, but doesn’t this argument seem a bit premature? Madison has every right to question Kevin’s intentions, but can we give the man a chance before an ultimatum? The twins haven’t even been born yet! I’m going to cut Kevin some slack. Let him go make some money for the family in Vancouver and come back before the birth of the twins.

Towards the end of the episode, Kevin surprisingly called Randall for advice about Madison. Kevin expressed his regret for the horrible insults he directed towards Randall months prior. It wasn’t an official apology, but it was a step in the right direction. Randall ends the call early, leaving Kevin to ponder if Randall still hates him. I originally predicted that Kevin and Randall would bury the hatchet once Kevin’s twins arrive so I’m sticking with that prediction.

Randall Learns About His Mother

Since next week’s episode will be entirely dedicated to Randall and Laurel, I’ll try to keep this brief. Because of Randall’s viral video, Hai, the Vietnamese grandfather showcased in earlier episodes, reached out to Randall and stated he knew his birth mother, Laurel. He also stated Laurel died in 2015 from breast cancer. After deliberating on what to do, Randall called Hai and learned his mother spent time with Hai in New Orleans. More importantly, Hai said William probably did not know she survived the overdose so what William told Randall wasn’t a lie; it’s what he believed.

Can Randall catch an emotional break? Every episode, he gets metaphorically punched in the stomach multiple times. Credit to the terrific Sterling K. Brown for his ability to cry on demand. He cries every episode! Randall reminds me of Elisabeth Moss, who stars in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Invisible Man. These difficult and emotional roles take a toll on a person’s well-being so I pray Elisabeth Moss mixes in a rom-com every so often. Likewise, can Randall just have an episode where he has a great day? Maybe he goes for a run, spends time with the family, and makes a few dad jokes. I’m hoping it all turns out ok for Randall.

Next week, we’re off to New Orleans to learn about Laurel. Bring your tissues!

Did you enjoy last night’s episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: Let’s Get Honest

NBC This Is Us

Kevin dominated last night’s episode, but Kate and Randall stole the show with two big reveals at the end of This Is Us.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: “Honestly”

THIS IS US — “Honestly” Episode 504 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Lonnie Chavis as Randall, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Parker Bates as Kevin — (Photo by: NBC)

Kate’s Secret Pregnancy

The promo for episode four used the classic bait and switch technique. The short video clip teased a conversation between Kate and Ellie about adoption and if Ellie was having second thoughts. That idea was quickly squashed after Ellie said she was conflicted about her own life but still wants to give her baby to Kate and Toby. It turns out that the name Kate picked for the child, Chloe, prompted a negative reaction from her past life.

However, the conversation with Ellie triggered a past memory from Kate after Ellie mentioned thoughts about abortion. When Kate was a teen, she was in an abusive relationship with Marc, who had the slimiest of mustaches known to man. After their breakup, Kate realized that she was pregnant.

What did Kate do with her unborn child? I’m guessing she had an abortion, which is why her conversation with Ellie triggered this memory. What I want to know is who knew about the pregnancy besides Kate. Did she tell Marc? Did Kate confide in a friend we don’t know about? As a dedicated viewer, I’ve learned that no character faces problems alone. There’s always someone else involved.

Randall The Stripper

Let’s just call a spade a spade. Sterling K. Brown is shredded. The man is ripped from head to toe. Was his striptease a mistake or an audition for Chippendales?

Back to the topic at hand. Randall’s striptease may have shown off his hard work in the gym, but it also served as a connection to his birth mother, Laurel. At the end of the episode, the Vietnamese grandfather watches Randall’s viral video. Unlike most people, he’s less focused on the dance and zeroes in on the name, William Hill. If you bet that Randall would find out about his birth mother because he stripped in his office at 1000 to 1 odds, then cash your tickets immediately and move to a tropical island.

Is Laurel alive? I’m back and forth on this issue. It would be too fitting for Laurel to be alive. My prediction is Randall meets Laurel’s daughter or son with the Vietnamese man, which would make them half-siblings.

Atta Boy, Kevin

Ever since the middle of the third season, Kevin’s storyline interests me the most. He’s having twins with Madison, fighting with Randall, and attempting to win an Oscar for his mom. That’s a hell of a platter. Last night focused on his work ethic in both the past and present. As a kid, Kevin’s potential in football began to grow, but he struggled to memorize the plays and put in the work. Thanks to Randall’s color-coded flashcards, Kevin started to bond with his brother and memorize the plays.

In the present, Kevin failed to impress his new director. Instead of quitting, Kevin made more color-coded flashcards, and it appeared to work since his director sent Kevin a gift basket. The episode began to lay the groundwork for Kevin and Randall’s future conversation. Kevin is starting to sympathize with Randall and the issues he experienced as a black kid in a predominately white community.

There has to be an “a-ha” moment for Kevin. What is the moment that will unite the brothers? My money is on the birth of Kevin’s children.

Other News And Notes

– I immediately recognized Jack’s Cool Hand Luke reference. What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

This Is Us tried to plant conspiracy theories in our heads with the baby name, Chloe. Kate and Toby’s daughter will be named Hailey so after Kate used the name Chloe, the idea of Ellie keeping her baby ran through our minds for precisely 5 minutes. Nice try, writing room, but I didn’t fall for it.

– Malik should forget about his idea to open a restaurant. Instead, he should run for mayor of Philadelphia.

– I’m in the Jamie Chung Hive. Big year for Ms. Chung with Lovecraft Country and a guest appearance on This Is Us. If you have time, watch Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong on Hulu. She costars with her husband, Bryan Greenberg. It’s a charming rom-com that will make you miss traveling.

See you in January when This Is Us returns from its hiatus.

Did you enjoy last night’s episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.