This week on This Is Us, Randall puts on a tie to run for office. Councilman, to be specific. He promises Beth that if in five days, five weeks, whatever — if she’s not feeling this, he’ll drop out. We’ll see about that.
Zoe and Kevin are driving to Baltimore to meet with the man who knew Jack during the war, and she makes a brief comment about accidentally leaving her silk pillowcase at home. Kevin riffs on her and how she only demands luxury in hotel rooms, but he obviously doesn’t get that it’s for her hair. Come on, Kevin.
Cut to a department store. In it, a portly boy tries on a blazer and does a Rodney Dangerfield impression. That boy? Young Toby! Young Toby helps calm down his mom, who has a newborn by her side as well. That Toby. Always a card. In the present day, Kate is really feeling pregnant. She refuses to take a test, especially since she knows at this stage it’s not always accurate. “We meet back here at 4 to get the results together,” Toby says to her. Kate thanks him for being her rock.
Now, the teen timeline. Miguel stops by to visit and brings over an old piano, which Rebecca instantly falls in love with. “Great, now this place is smaller,” depressed Kate states. I know she recently lost her dad, but even before — nothing makes that girl happy.
Zoe’s Second Awkward Moment
Back to Kevin’s road trip plot. Zoe hits the ladies room while Kevin checks out. They have no Hi-Chew! The ladies room is closed, so Zoe returns. The checkout lady says that she’ll get to her soon, but Kevin quickly states they’re together — not realizing that the woman likely failed to realize that based on Zoe’s race.
Randall starts campaigning and realizes his name isn’t necessarily on his flyers. “Free BBQ,” however, is written loud and proud. This may be harder for Randall than he realized!
Now it’s time for Teen Toby! His parents just got divorced, and his dad is moving out. Supposedly his dad tells him that he’s a good kid, but still — he’s too much like his mother.
Present day, Toby is hassling a pharmacist for antidepressants. She tells him calmly that he’ll need to go back on them properly and ask his doctor. Did Toby really think she’d just fork them over? No pharmacy works that way. Kate is getting ready for a performance, which cuts to Randall and Kevin getting ready for the prom. Randall goes to pick up his date, Allison, but his dad pauses when he realizes Randall is black. “Randall, I’m so sorry,” Allison’s mom says.
Randall feels equally ignored while trying to give a speech for Councilman. “Y’all probably wondering who I am,” he says. The audience laughs. He starts his speech by saying he lives in New Jersey with his family, but his father just lived six miles away. And since the community meant a lot to him, he wants to help out.
The problem is people like Saul Brown. The community considers him to be a lifelong friend, and Randall simply isn’t from there. “40% of your children don’t have a place to go after school,” Randall pleads. Still, nobody wants to listen.
Cut to Kate’s latest gig. She’s Adele? That is intermingled with Kevin drinking in the limo on the way to prom and Randall feeling sad. Miguel fixes Rebecca’s fridge while he’s over with the piano, saying he needs to. I guess for Jack? Whatever. I still don’t trust Miguel. In that montage, Kevin finally makes it to Baltimore and meets the man who knew Jack. The two shake hands.
Kate gets stopped while waiting for the elevator when someone asks her what she’s doing. “You should be on The Voice,” he says. Kate says that she often shuts out singing when things are bad, and the stranger tells her that he hopes things stay happy. She hopes so too. Teen Kate goes to practice the piano and sing and nearly gets discouraged until Rebecca comes by and tries to get her to continue forward.
Meeting Mr. Robinson
Kevin meets with Mr. Robinson, the guy who lost his foot. Supposedly he got a purple heart for it. After being offered a drink, Kevin says he’s sober and his dad suffered as well. In his eyes, he thinks it may have been due to the war and something he saw over there. “Your father was not a mechanic, he was a staff sergeant,” he said. He mentioned how Jack saved his life in 1971.
Zoe talks to his wife in the kitchen about all the hardships she’s had so far today based on racial differences. They bond very quickly. “You need to decide what you can handle,” the wife says.
Randall thinks his event was an absolute disaster. Beth tries to make things better by saying five people stuck by, and Randall states that that’s because they work there. He’s told to go back where he belongs, and Randall tries to make it all about his childhood. “When did complacency become the best option here?” he asks. He nearly gets kicked out of the restaurant. Seems like Saul Brown helped keep that very restaurant afloat years ago, and Randall simply had no idea.
Toby’s mom is supposedly Wendy Malick, and she’s consoling him — when he’s sad and in bed — after his first wife leaves. He’s been on meds for a while. Meds helped him shave his beard, move forward, and meet Kate.
Kevin looks at old pictures with Mr. Robinson, who said he tried to write him letters but had never heard back. One picture included Nicky. “I’m sorry I don’t have the answers you’re looking for,” Mr. Robinson states. He mentions that sometimes the answers themselves are so dark, that you may be better off not having them.
Teen Randall comes home early since he never made it to prom. Miguel, still fixing the fridge, tries to relate to him over the situation since he’s Puerto Rican. He said that even though he tried hard to fit in, the kids still gave him the nickname of Ricky Ricardo, who was Cuban. But, Randall kind of shuts him out, because he’s not Jack. And he’ll never be Jack, damn it!
Zoe Explains It All
At the hotel, a golden silk pillowcase is delivered to the door. Kevin said that it seemed important to her, so he got it. With that, Zoe explains what she went through that day and why the pillowcase was so important. She chose to tell him that since she thinks he’s worth it.
Speaking of pep talks, Rebecca tries to talk to teen Kate by the piano and get her to sing “All Through The Night,” likely Cyndi Lauper’s version, but Kate simply isn’t ready. But someday, Rebecca feels she will be. One day, the piano is where she’ll put that sadness. Since it’s what she was meant to do.
Kate’s Big News
Even though she’s there singing today, it doesn’t mean bad news. She called even though Toby wasn’t there, and it turns out she’s pregnant. Toby starts bawling over his happiness. That means he can go back on his meds! But, uh. He has a bit of a breakdown before that happens. Seriously. Poor Toby.
Randall may have had a rough go, but supposedly Beth had a great interview. Or… did she? They asked her about leaving after 12 years and if it was hard. She said she was pretty much a kid when she helped start that company, and then gets a little emotional. “Sorry, it’s still a little raw,” she says. She ends up walking out to try and compose herself.
Back at Kate’s house, she talks to Toby’s doctor about adjusting his meds. Toby is in bed, very upset. Cut to young Kevin, who gets taken home drunk. And by home, I mean Miguel’s home. He calls Rebecca and tells her not to worry. “You’re too good to us,” Rebecca tells him. “We don’t deserve you.” Then we see a scene where Jack asks Miguel to look after his family in the slim chance he gets hit by a bus. He’s doing this for his buddy.
And hey, speaking of that buddy. Mr. Robinson gives Kevin some old letter and pictures, in case they help. In one of them, a girl is wearing his very necklace. So, looks like there’s more to that story than we may have thought.