This Is Us Season 1, Episode 17 Recap: What Now?
**Warning: This post contains spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the latest episode of This Is Us, stop reading!**
Ugh. We’re still reeling from THAT death on This Is Us…and this week, there’s no shortage of tears. Why would there be? Just because William’s finally passed away, it doesn’t mean we get to stop hurting along with Randall and the rest of the family.
“You don’t have to pack up his stuff yet,” Beth says to Randall when he comes home and tries to figure out how to deal with his dad’s death. They find a letter William left — to Randall’s kids. William apparently wanted the kids to plan his memorial service, to bring some joy back into their lives. Plus, you know, adults always make stuff so SAD.
Randall is having a hard time writing a “toast” for his father, and is interrupted by Jesse calling. They talk about William which is just…really nice, and also emotional. When the mailman comes by to drop off a fruit basket from Randall’s work and shares his own memories of William, Randall realizes how much his father made an impression on the neighborhood.
The kids hold a “fun-eral” with rainbow balloons and celebrate “William’s perfect day” with breakfast and “pills” aka M&Ms with the whole family, including Rebecca and Miguel. Randall notices that Beth is more than a little emotional, and Beth admits that William knew he wasn’t going back when he went to Memphis. Everyone else got to say goodbye, even the kids…but she didn’t. So when Randall gets up to say something, he gives the mic to Beth instead. And Beth gets her goodbye. And we cry. And Kate cries, because she can’t handle this, because it apparently brings up memories of Jack. She runs out of the house and Randall comes out and talks to her, where Kate tearfully apologizes for the fact he had to go through losing his dad twice. But Randall, he’s actually okay. He tells Kate about a dream he had about William and Jack meeting, and convinces Kate to talk to Toby. Did I mention I’m crying?
The next part of the “fun-eral” is putting on William’s “old man hat” (with Randall taking the real one) and walking around the neighborhood. Kate tells Toby she wants to talk to him after Kevin’s show, Kevin leaves for his play, and Rebecca makes her own tearful admission to Randall about how the reason she never told him about William was that she was scared. It seems William really made an impact on Randall, and he decides to honor his legacy. How so? On the way home from Kevin’s play, he goes to the office and quits his job (to be fair, they did send him a crappy gift and card). Go Randall! Meanwhile, Beth comes home alone and finds she did get a goodbye from William after all, in the form of a postcard from Memphis.
We already know that Kate and her dad had a thing, and that Kate was closer to him than the rest of the kids. Tonight, we slip back into the past seamlessly, when the Pearsons are teenagers and Rebecca is about to go on tour. Jack is at a retirement party, is late coming home, and Rebecca leaves on a strained note. Kate is the only one who seems to be able to talk sense into Jack, and later, she flat out asks if her parents are alright. Jack, for his part, does a good job of assuring her that things are fine, even though Kate points out Jack didn’t even bother to go see Rebecca’s gig which was only two hours away.
After dropping his kids at a friends house, a depressed Jack decides to go to the continuation of the retirement party at a local bar, where he immediately gets hit on by his co-worker, Heather. At least he shuts her down. But the next time we see him, he’s calling Kate from a pay phone having clearly had a few, and asking if the kids can stay over. He tells Kate she was right, and he’s going to fix things with Rebecca. This is interspersed with Kate finally opening up to Toby about why she can’t talk about her dad’s death — because it was her fault.
We do see Jack driving away (presumably to go see Rebecca’s band), so maybe our theories about Jack dying in a drunk driving accident are true. But even though next week will probably shed more light on what happened, I don’t expect to have an actual answer about Jack’s death for a long time. Not if this show’s smart storytelling continues.
Anyway, Kevin and Sophie are a THING now and I love it. He’s trying to fix his opening night gaff (you know, the one where he ran off to be loyal to his brother) with not much luck. Kevin tells her she should sit with his family for opening night (part deux) but Sophie is hesitant, considering that they haven’t told his family they’re back together. Kevin realizes this is where he’s meant to be…with the girl he loves. Which, of course is when Ron Howard (yes, THE Ron Howard, played by the actual Ron Howard) calls and tells him that his daughter saw Kevin’s play, and Kevin would be just PERFECT for his movie…which is shooting in L.A.
“How can I be sad when I got kids like you?” — 10 points: No question.
Jack calls Kate and owns up to the fact that things aren’t okay — 10 points: It takes a lot for Jack to admit that, and even though this might be the start of everything that Kate blames herself for, she made him a better person.
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(Photos via NBC)