Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Is Us 1x05 Recap: “The Game Plan” (#WhereIsJack) [Guest Poster: Bibi]

“The Game Plan”
Original Airdate: October 25, 2016

In this week’s episode of This Is Us, we get a brief glimpse of Rebecca’s life as a child, and see her parents — her mom serving her father and the kids not being allowed to interact with dad as he watched football. It is from these moments that we see and discover why she is so hesitant to have children with Jack in the future. She doesn't want to become her parents. So when Rebecca and Jack get married, he teaches her about football, so she won’t become her mother. She eventually becomes a super fan, and they bond over Steelers football.

Meanwhile in the present-day, Kevin has shown up at Randall and Beth’s home and wants to spend time with his brother and family, in an attempt to likely stop feeding his insecurities about the play. Randall has a full house, so he decides that he and Beth deserve Kevin’s hotel room to take time for themselves just for the night. Kevin has to agree to watch the girls with William, while Randall and Beth spend some time alone.

Kate and Toby are doing well, and she surprises him with breakfast in bed. He asks her out, and she says no. It is Sunday Night Football with the Steelers playing and she likes to watch the game alone. He thinks it's weird, and — in traditional Toby fashion — he inserts his way into joining her for football.

In flashbacks, Rebecca and Jack are at the bar waiting for Miguel and his wife. They are enjoying football, until Rebecca keeps dropping not-so-subtle hints that she doesn’t want children and thinks that they’ll ruin their dynamic. Jack shrugs her comments off at first, but then they really start to bother him. The whole episode, as Miguel and his wife share stories of their two kids at home, Jack wants more and more to start a family with Rebecca. Rebecca is still very hesitant about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, Toby invites another “football enthusiast” to the house to watch the Steelers play. Kate, thinking it would just be the two of them — especially when she was so adamant about being alone — isn’t welcoming. Toby has obviously told his friend about her and is excited about the interaction, but Kate is solely focused on football. It makes her seem standoffish to Toby. And while that isn't her intent, to be fair, she did stress the importance of watching the game alone. Toby pauses the game to have conversation, and Kate asks him to un-pause the game. Toby doesn't seem to get how important this really is to her.

At the hotel, Randall is just so excited to have some kid-free romantic time with Beth. He is like an eager newlywed in this hotel room and Beth clearly doesn’t have the same level of enthusiasm. Beth tells him she’s late and feels terrible and could potentially be pregnant. This definitely puts a damper on the mood and they go to the pharmacy together to get a pregnancy test. It is in the pharmacy that Randall really has a meltdown. He starts talking about how a third kid will ruin his Charleston retirement dreams.  She informs him that this wasn’t planned and her birth control is new, so there was a window of time where they could get pregnant. They aren't happy about this, but they head back to the hotel to take the test. Once they settle in, they start to think about what their lives could be like with a third kid and really start to not hate it. So when they find out that they are not pregnant, they are relieved.

Kevin, watching the girls and William a little bit too, decides to let the family help him run lines for his new play. It is in this moment that they get into a conversation about death. The girls are curious and Kevin does a great job of scaring them into thinking William, their parent, and everyone they care about deeply will die and there is nothing they can do about it. Bless his heart, he was trying to have an open and honest conversation with them about the circle of life, but it ended up just scaring (and probably scarring) them. Once William takes them to bed, he comes down and has pep talk with Kevin.

Kevin is struggling so much with this play because he is insecure about his acting abilities. He doesn't think he’s good enough to step out and do something different with his career. William tells him that not only was The Manny one of his favorite programs, but Kevin needs to stop doubting himself and trust his instincts in his career and with this play.

In the bar, Jack and Rebecca get into a heated debate about children. It is not the ideal place, but Jack says because his father only paid attention to him while he watched football, he always envisioned that he would bring the tradition of football to his kids. When he met Rebecca, he knew immediately he wanted his kids to be with her. She doesn't know what’s wrong with her, but she does know that she doesn't want to become her parents. And maybe that fear is what’s pushing her to be the exact opposite of them. Eventually, they make up and we find out that they conceived Kate and Kevin that very night in the bar.

Kate goes home with Toby in tow, and he wants to know why she's been acting weird. In a moment that I predicted — but yet still wept through — Kate tells Toby about her dad. The tradition of watching football is because of him. She watches the Steelers “alone,” but really she watches with her dad in spirit. He is dead and Toby gets to meet his ashes in that very moment. She opens up to him in a beautiful scene that really shows how deeply she loved and misses her dad.

In an attempt to gain his nieces’ trust and affection again, Kevin does something bold and shares a piece of himself that not even Kate knows. Every time Kevin gets a new project, he paints how it makes him feel. He shows the girls the painting that he did for this play. This play is about life and death, and he talks about Jack, his grandfather, and more. He talks about how even though people leave us physically, we carry them everywhere we go. We carry their memories with us always.

Guys, I wept. It’s been a tough week for me anyway, as a person I loved dearly who is no longer here would've celebrated a birthday this week. And to say that this show became a moment of therapy for me is an understatement. At any rate, Kevin redeems himself from the fear earlier ignited, and his nieces get a better understanding of not only the circle of life, but their uncle as well.

While Kevin is talking, we see a montage of things: Kate and Toby watching another Steelers game with the lucky hat Jack gave her on his urn. Then we also see Randall in the girls’ room, crying after packing up William’s things, presumably after he’s passed. While we don’t know which part of the timeline this is — and we don’t know when we lose Jack — the parallels of seeing Randall and knowing he's lost both his fathers is heartbreaking. This Is Us, please stop making my life so challenging!

What did you think about the episode? Did you know that Jack was dead? For me, Rebecca still wearing the necklace pretty much gave it away. And how cute was it to see the relationship between Kevin and his nieces?!

Share your thoughts below!

1 comment:

  1. I had a strong feeling Jack was dead. It was either that or he ended up with dementia and lives at a nursing home. I prefer him being dead because that other option is too heartbreaking to think about.

    I like the bonding moment between Kevin and his nieces towards the end with the painting and what it represents which is the heart of the show. I was intrigued by the show giving us a glimpse of what lies ahead for Randall. I thought the show was only confined to revealing moments of the past and present.