This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4 Recap


Boy, the fun just keeps on coming in this season of This Is Us! Though we take a break from the rough arc of Jack’s alcoholism and imminent death this week, Randall and Beth’s ongoing attempts to bond with Deja prove almost as brutal. Meanwhile, this week’s flashbacks find the Pearsons confronting chicken pox, and Rebecca confronting the fact that her mom is not just an obnoxious nag, but also racist. Here are my Thoughts And Feelings from this week’s episode, “Still Here,” which ended with a trademark This Is Us Twist.

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1. A video store! Patrick Swayze! Jack Pearson! How many beloved, dead icons can we fit into one scene?

2. “Are you people insane?” Bless Randall. I love that he commits to getting chickenpox as fully as he commits to everything else. (Side note on adult Randall: It’s been five episodes since he quit and I still don’t fully understand what his job was, except that it involved weather and money.)

3. Wait, does a Fitbit know when you’re having sex? Does it factor that into your calorie burn? Did Toby just convey some actual useful information in between bouts of being his usual controlling self? Maybe she just doesn’t want to eat your weird poppyseed almond butter muffin, dude!

4. Alright, look, I’m going to get all of my Toby ranting out of the way at once here, but I have to ask this again: WHAT IS THIS GUY’S JOB? Why does he have time to just hang out with Kevin all day? What money are he and Kate living on?

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5. Poor, poor Deja. I was sort of expecting/hoping that this moment where Randall sticks up for her at the bowling alley would be a breakthrough, where she saw that he had her back, but there are no easy resolutions in this storyline. It’s going to be a realistically lengthy and painful process for them to earn her trust.

6. Rebecca’s mom has always been portrayed as the worst, but this episode feels like overkill to me. Every other line is either her being openly critical, hostile, or racist, and though I know it’s building up to their big confrontation, I’m not quite buying this character as a three-dimensional human being.

7. It is interesting, though, that Rebecca reprimands her mom for giving Kate a complex about food, considering that Kate grows up to resent Rebecca for doing exactly that.

8. Kate going to yoga right when Kevin just got out of surgery is weird, but…I mean, Toby did say they should be less codependent!

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9. I mean, HOW can Rebecca’s mom not be charmed by Randall’s enthusiasm for his science project? How?!?! This woman is straight-up demonic, and I’m not sure anything can convince me otherwise.

10. Randall’s song about antibiotics. Randall’s song about antibiotics. Randall’s song about antibiotics. I don’t know what to do with myself or with this sheer perfection.

11. “Will you do my hair?” Deja… 😭

12. “Who would have thought Randall would be the one to get into private school?” Anyone who’s spent any time with these kids at all would have thought that, you actual lunatic. I’m glad this is the thing that finally tipped Rebecca over the edge, and that we’re not lumping the the thinly veiled racism towards Randall in with all her mom’s other controlling behavior.

13. Jack and Rebecca trying to explain racism to Randall is a really stark reminder of the season 1 pool episode, which ended with Rebecca realizing Randall might need some other black people in his life.

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14. Kevin’s crushed football dreams—and the way he clearly relates the loss of that dream to the loss of his dad—explains so much about his compulsive need to be seen and specifically to be seen as successful. I’m wincing at him trying to “power through” his recovery from knee surgery, though, because it’s so clearly going to come back and bite him. We already know that addictive personalities run in the Pearson family, between Jack’s alcoholism and Kate’s food issues, so I can see those painkillers becoming a problem real fast.

15. Randall is trying so hard to connect to Deja by telling her about his own anxiety issues, and it’s so well-intentioned that he doesn’t even consider the thought that she might see Beth sharing her secret as a betrayal. Deja coming down to breakfast after chopping her hair off is so rough, mostly for the look on Beth’s face.

16. Wait, WHAT? Okay, it’s been a while since we had a true patented This Is Us Twist, à la the pilot (I don’t count the fire at the end of the premiere because that was more of a ‘WTF?’ tease). Obviously we were misdirected to think that Kate was taking diet pills, and I completely bought it. But nope, Kate is pregnant, and by the sounds of it she wants to keep the baby. But…she just started pursuing her singing dreams! And it feels kind of early for this show to be introducing a baby! And I still hate Toby! I don’t know how to feel!



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