Spoilers ahead for the October 10 episode of This Is Us!
On the last episode of This Is Us, we saw Jack taking responsibility for his actions and attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. This episode, it’s been three weeks since Jack has had alcohol, which is great — but his relationship with Rebecca isn’t so great, even though he pledged to be more open with her while he got help. Rebecca knows they’re distant and seeks advice from a friend, who says they should have sex, since it’s been awhile. Girlfriends are really great, guys. So, Rebecca “Jack Pearsons” him by showing up randomly and sweeping him off his feet. I’m officially using “Jack Pearson’ing someone” and crediting This Is Us for the rest of my life.
Rebecca takes Jack to one of their favorite date places from back in the day, and starts making out with him in the car. It doesn’t exactly end the way it’s supposed to, but at least it gets Jack to open up about how hard it’s been to talk… about anything. He admits other things too, like the fact that he borrowed money from his dad to buy their house because he was ashamed of not being able to support his family. This scene shows how much Jack and Rebecca are each other’s constants — not because they have a perfect marriage, but because they’re supportive and loving and willing to work through the crap that could divide them.
In the present, it’s been three weeks since Randall and Beth were approved for adoption. Randall is appropriately freaking out (in a good, excited way) about getting some news, and lo and behold — a call comes alerting them of a girl who has been moved out of her home following her mom’s arrest. Her name is Deja (yes, as in Deja Vu) and she’s 12 years old. Randall is thrilled, but I think we all know this won’t go smoothly and a lot of Randall’s fears from the last episode will be realized. Randall has the perfect welcome planned — a tour, a lot of introductions — but Deja isn’t really feeling it. And it’s understandable, considering she was pretty much ripped from her life and shoved into a nice house with a bunch of strangers.
Randall’s kids aren’t thrilled about the situation either. As he tries to talk to them, he’s interrupted by a commotion. Beth found some cigarettes in Deja’s room, and Deja found Beth snooping. Randall breaks them up, but Deja is considerably shaken — and Randall realizes how hard this is going to be. Problem is, with Randall’s life, everything everyone ever told him was hard wasn’t… really that hard. At least, not for him.
Deja ends up sneaking into Tess and Annie’s room in the middle of the night, and as they slowly bond, we get a William flashback! Because this show wants to make me cry. William was trying to sneak out after his first night at their house, and Annie, who heard him trying to leave, convinced him to stay. It’s a really beautiful moment, because it parallels two completely different people in need of a home coming into one and being intimidated by everything from the tight-knit family to the high-tech house and privileges.
Further back in the past, we find out that Randall secretly placed ads in the classified section of the newspaper, looking for his birth parents. And he actually gets a letter back, asking for a meeting. I guess since this is the ’80s, and the world is not quite as much of a tire fire as it is today, people were a little more trusting? Randall tells his siblings about the letter he got, so they accompany him to the park, like good siblings do — except the woman who shows up is not Randall’s birth mom. He bolts when he realizes it’s not her, but really, this all could’ve gone down so much worse.
Kate and Kevin talk to their brother, offering support, and as he explains his feelings, the scene is intercut with adult Randall talking to Deja while he tells her his own adoption story. It’s all good until Randall drops the bomb that Deja’s mom probably won’t be back for awhile.
Meanwhile, Kate’s visiting Kevin on his swanky Ron Howard movie set, where he’s starring with Sylvester Stallone. And yes, it’s actual guest star Sylvester Stallone (or rather, “Sly”) who meets a starstruck Kate. But Kate’s not just wigging out because she’s on a movie set. It turns out that good old Sly was Jack’s favorite actor, so that’s an emotional burden all on its own. And things get even more emotional when he mentions she should bring her father to the set sometime so they can meet. Later, as Kevin and Sly prepare for their scene, Sly brings up the Pearson kids’ father again. Sly’s words about Jack are meant to be supportive, but all they do is throw Kevin into an anxiety spiral, and he can barely get his lines out because he’s thinking of his family.
After filming, Kevin unloads on Kate about the fact that she told Sly about their father, because it shook him up. Kate calls out Kevin for never talking about Jack’s death and then admits she couldn’t talk about it for a while — until therapy at fat camp. Kevin, in turn, calls Kate “damaged and sad.”
Ultimately, he returns to filming and tries to shoot a harrowing scene where he’s supposed to run into battle. As he does, he flashes through moments in his life that he’s probably tried to block out, including the mysterious injury that caused him to apparently miss his father’s death. He ends up busting his knee in the present too — old injuries flaring, perhaps?
As he recovers, he calls Kate to apologize. When they hang up, Kate looks at Jack’s urn and says, “He’s just like you,” as Kevin is shown taking a pill from a prescription bottle. Do we want to know the meaning behind that?
It’s This Is Us. Of course we do.
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(Photos via Ron Batzdorff/NBC)