Chrissy Metz teased it true: The secret from Kate’s past that we learn about in this week’s This Is Us is a hard one, and definitely helps us understand why Jack and Rebecca’s daughter might have turned to food as a coping mechanism.
In addition, Kevin has a tough week as he tries to impress a new director (about whom I have THOUGHTS, but we’ll get to that in a minute), and Randall inadvertently becomes a fine, fiiiiine viral sensation thanks to Malik… which winds up bringing us slightly closer to solving this season’s first mystery: Is Laurel still alive?
Read on for the highlights of “Honestly.”
GO THE HECK TO SLEEP | Let’s start with the flashwayback, which chronicles the era in which Rebecca and Jack have to sleep-train little Kevin so he’ll sleep through the night. As it often is, the process is arduous and filled with sobs on all sides. But Jack holds firm that their boy needs to learn how to get through it on his own, even though Rebecca protests that he needs them. Eventually, just as she’s about to enter his room and stop the screaming, Kevin quiets. Sleep-training success!
GRIDIRON GOALS | Now we skip ahead to when The Big Three are in middle school, and Kevin’s coach thinks he can be something great if he just buckles down and commits — including learning the playbook. This time around, Rebecca pulls Jack aside and worries that all of the weightlifting, practice and football prep is exhausting their son, and Jack agrees… but says it’s worth it if the exhaustion is for something Kevin loves. Still, Rebecca is about to allow Kevin to quit — prompting Jack to tell her she’s made him a little “soft” (ugh) — when she notices Kev working with Randall on a system for studying that will help him learn the plays.
ATTA BOY | In the present, Kevin arrives at a soundstage to meet his Glass Eye co-star Ava (played by Lovecraft Country‘s fierce fox female Jamie Chung) and the project’s director Jordan Martin Foster, who instantly becomes my enemy when he instructs Kevin to refer to their venture as a “film,” not a “movie.” As they run through the script, Foster dotes on Eva but is extremely cold to Kevin. Afterward, Kevin pulls the director aside and wonders what he can do to make things go better. “I didn’t realize you were the kind of guy that needs an ‘Atta-boy,’” Jordan tells him, adding a very patronizing coda about how Kevin is a good actor but could be a great one.
And rather than being like “whatever,” Kevin and his history of soft softness takes the comment to heart. So that night, he uses Randall’s color-coded flashcard system to learn the movie’s script. And Foster sends him an “atta-boy” gift basket, so… yay?
KATE’S PAINFUL PAST | Kate accompanies Ellie to her ultrasound and accidentally refers to the baby as Chloe, aka the name she’d like to give the kid if the adoption goes through. When Ellie stiffens, it’s clear this is a sore spot for her. So Kate apologizes outside, and Ellie tells her that a high school classmate who tried to dismay her then-crush/eventual-husband from dating her was named Chloe. Then, she admits that she’s really overwhelmed by the pregnancy and nearly aborted it earlier in the year. “For me, that wasn’t the right choice,” she says, adding that she has been having second thoughts about her entire life — except about Toby and Kate.
Later that night, Ellie’s revelation spurs Kate to tell Toby about something she’d previously kept secret: When she was a teen, after she and Marc broke up, she realized she was pregnant.
ALL HALF | As part of a civics assignment, Malik shadows Randall at work. His big task: Run the livestream for Randall’s regular online bulletin with constituents. It all goes well until Malik’s mother calls toward the end of the broadcast, and the teen is distracted with her questions about Janelle’s teething issues. So Malik neglects to stop he livestream after Randall stops talking — though Randall is unaware of that fact. GULP. The city councilman goes about his next task, aka getting changed to go running, so anyone who’s watching is treated to his shirtless, goofy dancing around as he removes his shirt and folds it.
At home, Déja and Tess are watching, and they start freaking out. Eventually, Déja gets through to Malik, and he immediately stops the stream. He apologizes a whole lot and makes Randall understand how focused he is on Janelle, and how he’s got big plans that will allow her to have a great life of her own. Randall is so impressed that he winds up hiring Malik as an intern at City Hall.
Jaewon calls later: His constituent bulletin is going viral. And when the boat-living grandpa we met in the season premiere clicks on it, he’s less focused on Randall’s pecs and more concerned with Randall’s mention of his birth father. The name William Hill clearly rings a bell for him, which brings us a little closer to figuring out Laurel’s whereabouts.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!
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