TV Review: This Is Us Episode 102 “The Big Three” 

I was worried about this episode. I loved the pilot so much. I didn’t think the rest of the show could live up to it. But while this episode doesn’t pack the same punch as the premiere, it is a good follow up. 

A second episode shouldn’t pack the same punch as a premiere. Episode 1 is supposed to suck viewers in and episode 2 sets up the rest of the season. This episode did a good job with that. 

So, what did we learn about the framework of the show from this episode? Well, we learned they are likely going to have a twist at the end of every episode. Something we didn’t know yet will be revealed in the last scene. At least I’m assuming that will be an ongoing theme since it happened in both of the first two episodes. 

We also learned that Kevin, Kate and Randall all still have a bond and that while Kevin is the “big brother” he doesn’t act like it. He clearly as an adult seeks advice and comfort from his siblings. It also seems likely that the relationship between Kevin and Randall will be a big part of the show. 

Kate’s storyline also got it’s set up. While many reviewers seem to focus on her weight. Some even worrying that the show will portray weight in a negative manner since her storyline has started out about her trying to lose the weight, I don’t see it that way, though. To me her story seems to be about her finding out who she is. She has leaned on her brother and relied on him a lot and it seems to me that they are setting up her story to about her finding herself and her identity. I’m hoping they handle the weight thing well.

Personally I would like for her to see a doctor and find out she isn’t as overweight as she thinks she is. Have the doctor tell her she only needs to lose a certain amount (say ten pounds) to be healthy or even that she is healthy without losing weight. People seem unaware that you can be heavy and healthy and I would love to see that shown on television. 

Another thing we saw on this episode that sets up the show is how the kids childhood effects them as adults. Kate is given a different breakfast from her brothers because her mother thinks she is overweight and wants her to be “healthy and happy” thus setting up her issues with her own body image. Randall is told to always be good thus setting up his need to be the perfect father and perfect husband. This connection of past and present is assuredly going to continue as it makes the timeline jumping have the most effect. It’s interesting and I’m eager to see how they use it. 

The reveal at the end that some people found heartbreaking wasn’t for me. <<<<<<<<<<<<<spoilers>>>>>>>>>>>

To me it already seemed clear that Jack had died. Kate and Kevin spoke of him in past tense. Randall’s desire to seek out his biological father makes even more sense if the father that raised him is gone. His relationship with Manny seemed pretty strained. The tension in their hello was clear. So, it’s still pretty clear that Jack was the one he considered his father. I’m guessing Manny and Sarah didn’t get married until later in life and as Sarah was still wearing the necklace Jack gave her I’m fairly sure Jack died. You don’t generally wear jewelry your ex gave you if you divorce and marry their best friend. But I imagine we will find out more details about that in future episodes. Most likely what happened to Jack will be revealed in another end of episode twist. 

I was worried the show would be sad but it wasn’t. The tension between Jack and Sarah that worried me at the being of the episode was resolved in a sweet way by the end of the episode. I’m really hoping the show continues to be uplifting. To few shows are uplifting. There is enough depressing drama on television (usually on the news). We need a show that is uplifting. So far this is that show. 

You can watch This Is Us on Tuesday nights on NBC. 

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