The Pittsburgh Steelers, a pregnancy scare and the unknowable abyss of death — just another Tuesday night on “This Is Us.”
In an episode diving deep into the dynamic of about family ties, “This Is Us” finally name-dropped its own title, and surprisingly enough, it fit pretty well into the theme and dialogue of the episode.
So far Kevin (Justin Hartley) has seemed like a typical self-obsessed actor, finding it hard to focus on anything but himself and his problems for longer than a few seconds. Case in point, he ropes his nieces and William (Ron Cephas Jones) into rehearsing his play with him regardless of their clear disinterest. Sure enough though, the exercise leads to some groundbreaking character development for Kevin.
His “dopey Labrador” personality might, in fact, be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than an actual indication of Kevin’s intelligence. When given the chance to explain death to his two young nieces, Kevin shows remarkable insight into how life, death and family are all interconnected, even before you’re born or after you’re dead.
Kevin was bordering on selfish and often stupid in the series, but now that we’ve gotten to see a deeper side of him, we are hopeful. There seems to be a lot of room for this character to grow, and we hope he gets more opportunities to reflect on his life and his family and how to better appreciate them before they’re gone.
Morbidly enough, we’re very interested to see how the show will handle the death of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), given that it will rock all the characters to their cores.
Kate (Chrissy Metz) has already explain how she keeps her father’s memory alive by watching the Steelers with his ashes every Sunday night, but both Kevin and Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) adult relationships with their father are still pretty much in the dark. As heartbreaking as it will be to watch their past selves go through that ordeal, it’s something we hope we get to see in the first season.
We’ll have the tissues and comfort food on standby while we wait.
Following that unhappy avenue of thought, we got a heartbreaking sneak peek at Randall breaking down, presumably set after William passes away.
The way “This Is Us” plays with time continues to surprise and impress, especially considering it never feels contrived or out of place. Each flash-forward or flashback is subtly integrated into the narrative in a way that both feels natural and meaningful.
Well … except for Mandy Moore’s musical number.
If you’ve got a star like Mandy Moore on your show, it almost seems like a waste to never get her in front of a microphone, but no matter how beautiful the performance, her gig did feel a little shoe-horned in. So long as “This Is Us” keeps her performances to a minimum and only when believably necessary, we won’t complain too much.
“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.