When we first met the Pearson triplets on NBC's "This Is Us," they were turning 36 years old. Since that time, we've explored life with them as pre-teens, full-blown teenagers and adults. But there's a whole decade of their lives that was glossed over, until tonight. For its Halloween episode, the writers took a trip back in time to the weird, wild world of 2008.
The episode worked well as a standalone episode, but did very little to progress the story or reveal any of the remaining secrets that we know of. Still, it was fun getting to see the adult versions of the kids finally get the chance to portray themselves at a different age. Each of the triplets has a pair of stand-in actors to portray their story as kids, meaning they missed out on the fun of exploring their own character at a different point in their lives.
This week was all about Randall and Beth bringing their first child into the world on Halloween 2008, while Kate and Kevin ... let's just say things weren't so great in their respective worlds.
As we do every week, we're going to single out the show's most powerful moments, scoring them by how many tissues we tore through just to watch them. Believe us, these are happy tears of anguish.
“You Will Never Work For Me”
Kevin has battled narcissism and a overblown sense of entitlement throughout his life -- and still does -- but this was easily one of his most pathetic moments. Kevin scenes were downright difficult to watch in this episode, as he shamelessly whored himself out to the director of a film his roommate had just gotten cast in. When Kevin went so far as to suggest that he come in and read for the part his friend had already gotten, the director firmly put him in his place. In his eyes, Kevin was worse than just the typical pretty boy who thinks he should have the world handed to him, he was the guy who would steal a part from his friend. Unfortunately, this moment wouldn't even be enough to humble Kevin as he worked toward stardom.
0 tissues (because this Kevin doesn't deserve our tears!)
"The New Guy is Married"
While he's a rather terrible person in his professional life more often than not, and he was awful to Randall for years and years, one of Kevin's most redeeming qualities is the love he has for his sister. The Kevin-Kate dynamic has long been one of the strongest on the show, and this simple moment showed just how deep it runs. Having been apart for awhile, they both started by saying how great everything was. But after a quick look into each other's eyes, they couldn't keep up the lies and revealed their respective truths: Kevin hasn't had an audition in a year, and Kate's great new guy is married.
We'd heard about Randall's blindness episode in earlier episodes, but this flashback to 2008 took us as close to it as we've been yet. Just two months out from this crushing anxiety attack, Rebecca was on hand to help usher Tess into the world. It was a beautiful moment, but one tinged with sadness as Jack was missing out on the birth of their first grandchild. She shared the sadness of her new reality with Randall, who proved he could be there for his wife and his mother, helping her with a spill and helping her process her new truth.
“Congrat on Your First Grandhild”
Rebecca stepped into the wonderful world of Facebook in 2008, hinting to Beth at the loneliness she was feeling in her post-Jack existence. Another piece of the family puzzle came together when she posted the first pic of her new grandbaby, and Miguel shot her a message from Texas. Rebecca's initial response was that she was hanging in there, but she amended it before sending to, "I'm good," turning an important corner in her own life.
“Nobody Looks Like Me”
One of the most challenging moments in any adoptive parent's life is deciding when to tell your child the truth about where they come from. Rebecca and Jack had that choice taken from them during a night of trick-or-treating when a neighbor told Randall that he had replaced Kyle, the third triplet who died at birth. With Jack away with Kate, Rebecca was left by herself to navigate this murky topic on the fly. She handled it with grace and love for her child, with Lonnie Chavis continuing to turn in beautifully nuanced performances as the anxiety-ridden young Randall.
No one expected a powerful and emotional moment to come at the hardware store, but thanks to the presence of a familiar face, that's just what we got. Randall was in full freakout mode on Halloween night, so he headed to the store to replace a ceiling fan. While there, he ran into one D. Singh (Duncan Bravo), who surprisingly offered him some sage wisdom about fatherhood. Could this be the same Dr. Singh that Toby declared he hated last season, perhaps working his way through medical school? "They tell you who you are," he told Randall. "Tomorrow you'll have all the answers you need."
“This Is Now and I See You”
Those words of wisdom were just the medicine Randall needed to get it together and be there for Beth way more than any of them anticipated. She was due to be induced November 1, but Tess decided she wasn't going to wait. And with trick-or-treating in full swing, the ambulance couldn't get there in time. So the guy who was blind from anxiety two months prior had to deliver his own child, and he did it like a champ. Not only was he there physically, he was there emotionally and fully present for his wife when she needed him. This was the first moment in the episode when we saw the adult Randall we've since fallen in love with, the wonderful man he was still on his way to becoming.
“I Forgot to Introduce Myself”
The episode closed on a beautiful parallel monologue by Rebecca, standing over Tess in the hospital in 2008, and over the infant Randall as Jack looked on. In both moments, she was introducing herself to these new additions to her world, and it was heartbreakingly beautiful to watch in both eras. For Randall, she was opening her heart to this unexpected treasure that Jack thrust into her world, and to Tess she was affirming the love she had for her son through this extension of his will and life.