This Is Us returned to NBC for season 2 with an epic episode that had every member of the Pearson clan going through the stuff of life that either makes or breaks family bonds.
Let’s start at the end of the hour-long opener. Wearing a slightly disheveled Steelers jersey, Rebecca drives the Pittsburgh streets at night, her passenger seat holding what appears to be a baggie of personal possessions belonging to her husband.
She screams and cries and goes crazy as she pulls up to a shocking scene: The Pearson house has been burned to a crisp. And credits.
But back to the beginning as the Big Three celebrate their 37th birthdays with multiple emotional hoops to jump through on the way to resolution:
Kate struggles with singing audition trepidation (she goes, she leaves, she returns) while Toby is jealous of his fiance’s close family ties, particularly with Kevin who appears to have his sister’s attention and admiration more than he does.
Kevin gets a birthday cake on set, trashing most of it after learning Sophie is not going to make her planned visit due to her mother’s MS struggles.
Randall and Beth are at their worst when adoption plans take center stage, but come to a compromise as all good couples must do.
Before harmony strikes, this wife tells her seemingly uncommunicative husband, “We only ever talk about what you want, Randall. This is becoming a weird pattern.”
Flashbacks bring some tough situations to the forefront. Jack moves into Miguel’s house after meeting his family at a diner to explain why this is happening–something that seemed inevitable at the end of This Is Us, season 1.
The rattled teen trio (they are 15 at this point) is commanded by their mother to go and see a new Tom Hanks movie as a family–sans Jack.
The unnamed film causes Rebecca to yearn for her husband so she goes to him to ask Jack to return to the family fold. He meets her earnest request by letting his wife know he is very drunk and has secretly been that way for weeks.
She is shocked but makes him accompany her back home, that home that has been shockingly leveled in the last scene.
The entire first episode of This Is Us season 2 is wrapped around the sage poetry and periodic actions of William, who may be dead but is very much on the scene.
His words about love ring true regarding everything that happens in this expertly woven tale that some may find overly dramatic while others will deem realistic about how coupling works, both in good times and in bad.