Here's a weird, fun sentence: Sylvester Stallone made me tear up while watching This Is Us. Kate comes to set with Kevin and tells Stallone how much he meant to Jack. As is, I imagine, the typical reaction to shaking hands with a movie icon, Kate is hardcore fangirling out. Kevin has also filled the void Jack's left in Kate's life, as her go-to and sometimes total pre-Toby support system. Kevin is steaming with anger by the time Kate tries to boost his confidence during a filming break, scolding her for telling Stallone about their dad's death.
In light of this episode, though, Kate's remark that Kevin is just like Jack, for the first time, takes on darker undertones. In fact, Kate really got into it as she sang Bill Conti's "Gonna fly now" before leading into her narrated screenplay version of Rocky. "We're different people. I don't need to walk around and be sad and damaged, just because you are". Look at this... It's gotta be tough not having him here. Kevin brushes his co-star off. The episode opens with Jack, at an AA meeting, expressing his difficulty talking about his feelings and his hope that his sons won't grow up to be "cavemen like their dad". He storms off, upset about how things went down. Nothing is "that long ago", he explains. She's got "Rocky" memorized - and she proves it to an endearingly impressed Sly at the craft services table.
The third episode of This Is Us season 2 offered no additional hints as to how Jack died, focusing instead on the more emotionally intricate subject of its impact. From this we get a few more clues about the timeline to Jack's death. He can't remember his lines, as Jack memories flash through his head. "'Cause I don't want to wallow in sadness about it, I have a problem?" Yet the outsize nature of his appearance inevitably detracts from the heavy, emotional, complicated stuff he's walking in on, creating a unusual mixture of stargazing and therapy session that goes down a little, well, Rocky.
Mostly, Kevin's trauma, especially in the context of Kate and Randall's varying degrees of emotional maturity, drives interest, and questions, surrounding Jack's death. Viewers already know how that worked out. She saw this same kind of alpha male, bury-my-feelings charade with Jack. He tells Kevin and Kate reluctantly, and the two accompany him to the meetup.
While Kevin might seem cold on his father, it might just be because he's more like Jack than he wishes, as both spend "Deja Vu" battling with the burdens of their past and shutting down - "taking it like a man" as the outdated cliche goes - rather than being open about their emotions.
It has been three weeks since Beth and Randall were approved to take in a foster child. Deja has just been pulled out of her home and plopped into a house full of strangers; she encourages them to be patient and don't predict how the day will play out. Oh, yeah, she's on her way immediately.
Randall predictably Randalls about it; he's studied the books and instructional sites, so he knows to repeat their names a lot and things like that. He's a planner. To prepare himself and his family for the arrival of a foster child, he reads blogs. "You could help him forget a 102-degree fever or a bad day at work".
Things don't seem to improve when, that night, Deja and Beth fight about the latter finding cigarettes in her room. She called Beth a "bitch", and when Randall tried to step in, Deja flinched. Eris Baker and Faithe Herman have really grown into these characters, and gave us two of our teary moments this week. After waiting, they finally get a phone call that they're sending a girl named Deja over to the house after her mother got arrested. She's sussing the place out, as it were. Here are the top moments you might have missed in Tuesday's episode. There is nothing more real than losing a parent.
The win is short-lived. What little progress the Pearsons make with Deja is shattered like that picture frame she throws when she finds out her mom is going to jail, and won't be coming back for her. He tells her he's been trying to escape "ugly, disgusting years" of his life and admits he had to borrow money from his dad to buy their house. But now, as an adult, he sees he was blessed with this big family and a "big, attractive life", and he thinks she could have that, too. Rebecca resolves to "Jack Pearson him" and plans a romantic re-do of their first date...that falls flat.
In another flashback, directly connected to what's happening in his adult life, Randall puts out an ad in the paper looking for his parents. Praise be that Randall is smart enough to get himself away from the insane lady who shows up at their agreed-upon meeting place claiming to be his birth mother.