Saturday, November 19, 2016

This Is Us 1x07 Recap: “The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World” (Bonding) [Guest Poster: Bibi]

“The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World”
Original Airdate: November 15, 2016

In this week’s episode of This Is Us, we focused a lot on Kevin and Randall’s relationship. We start by seeing them as teenagers and not getting along. They fight over everything and super competitive as teenagers in the past, and in present day too. Beth brings this to Randall’s attention after his “run” with Kevin. She says they don't spend any real time together. With them currently living in the same house, Randall thinks they are bonding, but they still don't know each other. Kevin and Randall have dinner scheduled with their mom that night, so they figure that'll be a great time to catch up. When their mom cancels at the last minute, Randall and Kevin are forced to spend time alone.

Meanwhile, William is getting worse. His cancer and chemotherapy have him in a lull and nauseated. Beth opens up to William about her father’s death to lung cancer and his journey. She suggests that eat “adult” brownies after putting the girls to bed, in an attempt to help him get his appetite back. While eating their brownies, Beth confides in William that Kevin is overstaying his welcome. She also reveals that she grew up in a house with 14 people and really wanted to live alone because of this. She wasn't planning to get married or have kids, and then she met Randall. Her whole life changed. Conversely, William — after giving Randall up at birth — has lived his whole life alone until now. Now, he has a family and is dreading his impending death. It was easier to accept when it was just him, but now he will leave a family behind. He quotes this poem and Beth knows it, saying that she recognizes it from a book Randall has. In his inebriated state, William slips and tells Beth that it is from the book he gave Rebecca back in the day. Beth, who is absolutely incredible, doesn't let him get out of this. She wants an explanation.

Kate continues to struggle with her weight and meanwhile, Toby is thriving. What takes her weeks of workouts and dieting yields minimal results compared to Toby. She is happy for him and trying to be supportive, but visibly discouraged in her own journey. She takes some time for herself before heading to Toby’s place to apologize. She finds him binge-eating and he reveals that dieting is making him feel miserable, so he's decided to stop.

Toby promises to eat clean while with her, but when he's own his own, he’ll indulge in what he desires. They have a date night, and — true to his word — Toby orders the same healthy option as Kate. When it comes time to get dessert, he declines, but Kate stops him and tells him to at least look. She knows if he doesn't eat dessert there, he will go home and binge with his “food mistress.” He gets dessert and Kate just watches. I’m not sure how much longer their relationship can sustain this, though. Kate is really struggling and trying to win this battle with losing weight. But at the end of the episode, she goes to a convenience store and picks up some donuts. She needs a truly supportive partner who will be in the trenches with her throughout her journey, rather than Toby who is on the sidelines. Especially because losing weight is something Kate desires so much.

In the past, Rebecca is about to get back into singing — years after taking a break to raise the children. Although Jack is understandably swamped closing deals in his career, he does seem a bit detached from his home life.  Kevin has a huge scout coming to the football game — the one in which he's playing against Randall — and after moving his big closing meeting around, Jack is able to make it to the game. Earlier in the episode (after still struggling and failing to connect with Kevin), Randall went to Kate for advice. She suggested using humor as an olive branch to help them with their communication. Kevin completely shut Randall down and told him to get a life. Fast forward to the game, and they are fighting on the field.

At dinner in the present-day, Kevin takes Randall to a restaurant where he knows the owner and a lot of other high profile celebrities frequent. He runs into his co-star from The Manny, and it is in that moment that it is revealed that Randall has never seen an episode. Kevin, understandably hurt, walks out on their dinner. Randall chases after Kevin, and brings up a good point that while Kevin is so angry that he didn't watch the show, he doesn't know what Randall does for a living either. Eventually, after seeing a billboard of the new Manny reboot with a black man, Kevin is finally honest with Randall. Kevin, needing approval from his parents, felt like Randall was given special treatment as a child because he was black and adopted — that he was made to feel special and accepted every day.

In turn, Randall is honest with Kevin and told him that he treated him like a dog. While Kevin wanted his parents’ approval, Randall spent all of his time trying to win Kevin’s approval and was shut out over and over again. Kevin felt like Randall always tried to show him up and if Randall hadn't been in the family, then he would've shined a bit brighter. Imagine who they both could be and the relationship they could have if they weren't so competitive — if supported each other in every way. Of course, the men start fighting in the middle of the street. But once Seth Meyers casually interrupts and they both realize a crowd is coming — and Randall is “still black” — they move on. Ha!

As they drive home, Randall admits to Kevin that their mom did favor him more. He wanted Kevin to like and love him so much, that he took everything he could from their mom as a replacement for what he wasn't getting from Kevin. He tells Kevin that in 36 years, Kevin's never really told people that Randall is his brother. And for the first time, Kevin hears him and truly understands.

Meanwhile, inside, Beth is furious that Rebecca lied to Randall all of these years about not knowing William. Beth wants to tell Randall, but William convinces her not to, and to consider what that will do to the relationship he so dearly treasures with Rebecca. She doesn't have a chance to tell Randall, because Randall and Kevin come back during the conversation. Beth moved Kevin to the basement, so when the two men return, they decide to hang out more and watch Kevin’s Manny episodes. Beth does, however, call Rebecca and leaves her a voicemail to call back.

What did you think about the episode? How much tension can a pair of brothers have? Apparently 36 years’ worth, geez. Let’s hope they’ve finally worked through this. I loved William and Rebecca bonding. Do you think Rebecca will be open with Beth? And how will this impact Randall and Beth’s relationship? What's going on with Jack in the flashbacks? Also, what was with the woman at Jack’s office?

Share your thoughts below!


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