Scene Breakdown: Beth’s Dance in This Is Us “One Little Island Girl”

This Is Us “One Little Island Girl” Spoilers Ahead

Beth in This Is Us "One Little Island Girl"

It has been a week, darling readers, and considering today is Monday, I’m trying really hard not to talk about last night’s Oscars because we’re saving that for next week. (Thankfully, Katie’s got us covered with the one moment that we all can’t stop buzzing about, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s performance of their Academy Award winning song, “Shallow.”Madam Secretary kicked off the week with a great return, Black-ish was delightful as per usual, The Magicians crushed our souls in an indescribably fantastic way. (It was so hard to choose between this episode and the one I went with. So hard. I can’t even explain.) Brooklyn Nine-Nine reminded us of what a fantastic team the 99th precinct is, and I’ve finally started Netflix’s One Day at a Time. But for now, Beth’s journey on This is Us hit me the hardest.

This is the most I’ve enjoyed watching This is Us all season — Beth’s story took too long to tell, but my goodness every minute of it was worth the wait, especially because Susan Kelechi Watson didn’t miss a single beat in conveying a plethora of emotions the entire time she was on screen. Passion is a strange thing, it can burn through us like beautifully evocative light or it can burn us to the ground in sheer defeat if we forget about the power it has. And sometimes, when you lose someone who believes in you, it becomes even harder to neglect our passions. It becomes hard not to feel defeated, crushed and lost.

And that final moment in the ballroom in “One Little Island Girl” was a kind of magic that left me floored. Beth saying she wants to teach was the kind of beautiful revelation I never realized was so powerful — even when I had it a few months back. There’s great power and beauty in realizing that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. For a while now I thought that I had to have it all together considering I’m reaching my late 20s, but it’s episodes like this that serve as a profound reminder of the fact that, really, there is no set time for when you’re supposed to have it together.

Sometimes you confront darkness immediately, other times it takes years. Sometimes you let go of pain easily, other times, it takes years. Sometimes you bury the pain so deep, you forget it’s even there until it’s hindering the kind of growth you’re absolutely meant for. And that was the case for Beth, she needed to get back on her feet, quite literally in the world of dance, confront her father’s ghost, stand up to her mother’s fierce upbringing, and revisit the passions she let go of because she couldn’t see herself rising to the top. And it’s that very confrontation, that pain that she held on to, which will make her such an extraordinary teacher because she’ll know how to help those who are stumbling like she did. She’ll know how to uplift the little dancers who can’t seem to believe in themselves because they don’t know how to. And I cannot wait to see this journey unfold for her.

But before we conclude this, can we take a moment to give a round of applause to Watson who danced her heart out in that final scene of “One Little Island Girl!?” All of those moves were hers and my was she glowing, breaking down each of Beth’s emotions with movements so poignantly raw and beautiful.

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