A Manny-Splendored Thing

Season 2 Episode 2     Air date October 3, 2017

Here we go. Episode 2 of This Is Us. Ready? Sob.

I feel like this episode did a deep dive into the meat of the series and boy, did they jump right in. This episode felt more emotional and soul wrenching than episode 1, which I liked for story purposes and personal reasons alike.

(Spoilers!) Here are some highlights from this episode:

  • We begin the episode pretty much exactly where we left off. This felt ominous and both Jack and Rebecca looked weary. I don’t know if it is the acting or writing or both, but this show has a knack for making us feel what each character is feeling. There is never any emotional guessing and I like it. I also really like how they are addressing Jack’s drinking. Rebecca is asking all the right questions , and they are relevant to not only their relationship and family story, but for continuity sake a la season 1.
  • I did not expect them to repeat or flashback to scenes that we have already seen in season 1, but they did a great job tying in moments that could help show more of Jack’s drinking timeline. The new perspectives gave those particular scenes from season one more context. I particularly liked the scene where Jack goes jewelry shopping and says to the man at the counter ” Diamonds are for everyone. My wife isn’t everyone.” I root for Jack and Rebecca so much, and it is moments like these that I remember why. There is no denying Jack’s love for his wife. (or my love for Milo Ventimiglia)
  • Kevin & Sophie: Alright, I am coming around to Sophie. As I had hoped, they gave her more substance (and dialog) this episode. I liked the school talent show/Manny taping parallel, and her positive support for him. This makes me understand Kevin’s major transformation a bit better, and his growth as a person is exemplified throughout the episode. Sophie makes him better. She lifts him up without being pushy. She is his center, and now that she is back, he is stable. I hope this lasts because I like this Kevin. By far my favorite Kevin scene is the one he shares with Beth. He seemed shocked that she went to him to talk about Randall, but it turned out to be full of revelations regarding not only Beth and Randall’s courtship, but it also establishes a time stamp of when they met and how Kevin played a huge roll. I predict we will see this on-screen at some point.
  • Randall & Beth: Oh how the tables have turned. I relate to this plot point so much. I will push for something, my husband will be skeptical, he gets on board, I change my mind. Poor Beth can’t wrap her head around all the “Randalling”, but it is clear to the viewer that Randall is just scared of the unknown. Again, these human emotions are so relatable, however I am left wondering; is the Beth/Randall relationship too good to be true? They end the episode on the same page but I predict this will get tricky for the family as a whole.
  • Kate & Rebecca: Wow, a lot to unpack here. So many time shifts this episode, if I had a gripe, that would be it. It was a bit disorienting. Clearly Kate has mommy issues, which Rebecca seems oblivious to. I felt for each of them throughout the episode and found myself torn. While I do see Rebecca as a proud mother who loves her daughter, I also note how she can over compensate and then follow with criticism. There are two ways you could see this particular relationship. 1. Rebecca is selfish and wants to relive her broken dream glory days or;  2. She wants to bond with Kate over their shared talent/interest. I lean more towards the latter.
  • Toby, we finally get to learn a bit more about you. Toby provided the much-needed comic relief with lines that included “nut cheese’ and “y’all have been sleeping on my boy Miguel. Miguel gets no love.” (I see what you did there writers.) While providing support to Kate and company, Toby felt like more of a stand out character this episode, which I liked and apparently silver Rebecca noted as well.
  • By far the stand out moment/moments from this episode were between Kate and Jack. I love the special relationship and bond that they share. Both times Kate put her hands on Jack’s face had me SOBBING. Jack is on a difficult journey and a long one. I was disappointed when Jack walked away from AA the first time around, but was excited to see him in the boxing gym. They are piecing Jack together one flash back at a time and I cannot wait to learn more. One flash back in particular that stands out was army Jack presumably at war. I am excited to see a new location and a pre Rebecca Jack. Up until this point I was preoccupied with figuring out how Jack died and the impacts of that, but now I want to know how Jack lived. Good job This Is Us. You are writing one heck of a story.

Questions for next week:

  1. Can Rebecca and Kate rebuild their relationship now that everything is on the table?
  2. Will Jack stay in AA this time?
  3. What is next for Kevin?
  4. Will we get more Miguel background? (so we can learn to like him? maybe)
  5. What is next for 90s Rebecca?
  6. When will Randall and family grow their family?

What other questions do you have? I am anxious to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, don’t forget the Kleenex, L.

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