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This is Us 1×17 “What Now?”

Big Three Moments of the Week

This is Us is a great at number of things, but thus far, its means of dealing with real, human emotions has been done so organically, it’s an incredible treat on Tuesday nights. And “What Now?” was no exception. Not only did the episode pay homage to the late William, but it did so remarkably.

Scene I: William’s Celebration of Life

I couldn’t have loved William’s service more if I tried. We should essentially petition to let kids host everything, especially in the wake of death. Adults really do make things so much more tragic. This is Us has often given kids the platform to explore life, and it’s refreshing to have a series that writes them this organically. There are very few kids on television that are so wrongfully represented, I’ve yet to actually see that kind of behavior in person. That said, Tess and Annie threw the perfect celebration of life party.

For someone who’d made such a monumental impact in the small amount of time he was given, this felt right for William. And it felt right that everyone would experience everyday life as he did with childlike wonder. From his morning walks, to his dances in the living room, the service not only celebrated the life of a wonderful man, but also put things in perspective for those who didn’t appreciate life as much as William had. But perhaps the greatest part of the celebration was the gorgeous display of teamwork between Randall and Beth. The moment she expressed her sadness, Randall knew she needed her closure, and his choice to have her make the speech was beautiful and truly portrayed the strength of their marriage. I know the primary couple we’re supposed to root for are Jack and Rebecca, but for me, Randall and Beth are number one. The way they listen to each other and take each other’s feelings into consideration is a perfect spectacle of love at its finest. The way they look after each other in the subtlest of ways is truly magical. Susan Kelechi Watson was at her best in the raw, heartwarming display of a woman grieving the loss of her friend. But it’s the ending in which the episode came full circle where she broke me. The ever-present tinge of grief in Watson’s expression as she went through the mail was perfect for what was in store. So when she saw the postcard from Memphis in which William referred to her as the daughter he never had, you felt that closure and innate happiness find her. You knew she’d be okay. You knew that in the same way Randall felt his presence through the ducks, Beth felt it through the postcard. And somehow, you knew that everything would be okay.

Scene II: Randall comforts Kate as Kate comforts Randall

We don’t see enough of Randall and Kate’s relationship so this scene was a beautiful showcase of  just how special the relationships within the big three are. We also haven’t been able to see Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz as scene partners in the same way we’ve seen other actors serving as a real treat.

I loved the honesty in this moment with Kate genuinely feeling bad that Randall would have to comfort her on his father’s funeral. She didn’t want to take it so hard because unlike her brother, she didn’t have to go through it again. But Randall is the last person on the planet who’d ever make someone feel guilty for what they feel so I appreciated his choice to tell her about the dream where William and Jack met and laughed about the first time Randall drove a car. In that honest moment of vulnerability, the siblings had never been closer. It’s a story they both cherished, and a story that their fathers now cherish. And since we learned that Kate blames herself, the idea of her father smiling somewhere in the world could fill her with a sense of peace.

Scene III: Family walk + Rebecca’s apology

I’d been waiting for this scene for a while now, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. It’s easy to be upset with Rebecca, but we must also try to understand where she came from. And from the very beginning, we all knew that it was a tremendous fear of hers to lose her adopted son, which forced her to keep William a secret. Mandy Moore’s display of sincerity cobbled with a mother’s unwavering adoration was beautiful. Rebecca had never been more vulnerable or more in pain than she has been after the loss of Randall’s love and you could feel that in this moment. But once again, Randall’s choice to forgive her mother after just losing the father he knew for a few short months, is what floors me. He really is as perfect as his family describes, but really, anyone with a heart would forgive a heartfelt apology like this one. The time Randall had with William was enough for him to know that he loved his father profoundly, and that’s okay.

The past is now in the past, and he could wear his father’s hat proudly as he walks side by side with the family that’ll always come home to each other.

“What Now?” was a gorgeous display of the aftermath of grief. And while it wasn’t as tragic as most post death episodes tend to be, it was perfect in the stories it told. I expected to be sadder, but my tears were a result of serenity — strangely, because we knew that William’s legacy was honored, and everything fell into place beautifully. Randall’s choice to quit was the unexpected blessing within the episode that revolutionized the idea that death teaches us the most important lessons. After years of overworking and being away from his family, he will now take his walks every morning and stop by to say hello to the mailman, as William once did. Sometimes, we have to choose ourselves and that’s exactly what Randall Pearson did.

Further Thoughts

  • I don’t want to emphasize on Jack’s death too much before next week’s episode but I will say that I’m praying to God that he doesn’t die as a result of drunk driving. There are a lot of things I can codone and understand, but this isn’t one of them. And the series would be doing a complete 180 on the character if they went in this direction.
  • Kevin and Sophie are so sweet together, and I’m really excited to see where this relationship goes. I’m also all for the adorable means it which she showed her support for him.
  • I’m also thrilled with the fact that it’s becoming easier for Kate to open up.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? Apologies for the shortness of this review, but remember if there’s anything you’d like me to discuss, let us know in the comments below.

By: Gissane Sophia and Marian Sarkisian
Check us out on Twitter: @MGcircles

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