This was the first time all three of the Pearson triplets shared the entire hour together. It's been a long time coming.
Yet This Is Us Season 1 Episode 9 didn't exactly deliver any earth shattering relationship reveals between the trio, as their escape to the family cabin wound up being a lot more reflective in nature.
That can happen when the eldest brother invites his bitch of a "girlfriend" to ruin the stay (and insult Kate), who also brought two tagalongs for the "authentic" cabin experience which included a 'schroom shake brother Randall swilled down for a trip of a different kind. Whoops.
So, the photo above is about as much as we got of the three siblings together. That's a shame. It was something to look forward to, especially after the debacle that was Thanksgiving day.
However, each kid managed to learn a little something about themselves, and unless I read it all wrong, became closer as a result of their odd outing, even without the extra personal touch.
To back up a bit, the hour started with Randall still very angry about what he had learned, and behaving exactly as we'd probably behave in the same situation.
What was so great about it was I can't think of another series where a fully grown man, age 36 with a wife and two kids who held a good job and wasn't supposed to be seen as a jackass (a la Kevin Can Wait or something) would be allowed to behave in such a manner. But it's REAL.
Beth: What are you writing, babe?
Randall: A list of reasons why I'm mad at my mother. I've got 22 so far.
That's what a very anxious Randall had to say after Beth and William finally got into the room to see him after he had been pacing for hours, practically wearing a hole in the carpet. He was very, very busy. Come on. You know you've done something similar. Maybe not the exact same thing, but close.
Because we never really lose the urge to strike back in childish ways.
Randall: And don't think I'm ignoring the fact that you lied to me, too. When I showed up at your door two months ago, you pretended like you didn't remember abandoning me.
William: I was honoring your mother's wishes.
Randall: Which is why I'm SECOND maddest at you. [points at Beth] You're in third place.
Beth: But I've been trying to get your mother to tell you the truth since I found out!
Randall: Which is why there isn't a Beth or William list.
Sterling K. Brown delivers those lines with such believability. He's in pain, and yet he is in an ornery, angry mood, just on a verge of a temper tantrum if you poke the bear the wrong way. The scene is perfect and yet another example of why we have all fallen in love with This Is Us.
When everyone got to the cabin, Randall was still rolling with the biting remarks about his family. By that point, he was including the family as a whole, so the twins got him onto the couch to look at themselves in their throwback clothes, jeans with elastic waistbands, and to remember the good times.
Randall saw a picture of his mother looking at him lovingly as yet another time she was lying at him about his birth father.
So it was pretty darn clever how that was turned around because Kevin ridiculously invited Olivia up for the day. In fact, Kevin's mistake turned out to be the catalyst for all three of their inner journeys, but that's probably not the first, nor will it be the last time he can reap that reward.
We thought "The Trip" was going to be to the cabin. Instead, Randall's trip was through the tulips or daisies or whatever else those hippy dippies used to say.
What was so brilliant about the trip was that for all the fears Randall thought he had growing up, deep down, he knew he was loved and never needed to fear being left behind by his white parents at all.
Because everything he saw in his visions, all of the comforting speeches and loving words that came out of Jack's mouth, they all came from Randall. From what Randall knew to be true, not from what Jack was telling him.
Jack: The moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy. You were not a choice, you were a fact. You were never a replacement son, do you understand?
Randall: If I had known the man who abandoned me regretted it and wanted me back, that would have made all the difference in the world.
Jack: I'm sorry she lied to you, but we cannot take that back, so what do you want to do?
Randall: I want her to hurt as much as I do.
I understand where Rebecca was coming from regarding the adoption papers and the firehouse, but her passionate pleas that "We have to be enough!" just felt empty and cowardly. Almost like she was trying to convince herself, knowing the more she pulled tighter, the farther she would one day push him away.
And William getting excited to meet Randall was scary for her. But the ins and outs she was doing in William's life were also very unfair, especially when she didn't include Jack, or give either of them a chance to weigh in on the situation.
My favorite Jack and Randall scene was when Randall was taking Karate lessons, and the induction included Jack being Randall's foundation, that his back was built to carry his son through life. Was he willing to carry him through life no matter what comes? Raise him through life come what may? To push him to be the best he can be?
That was beautiful. But I'm not sure, under the same circumstances, Rebecca could have said the same.
Kate was struggling over her breakup with Toby and what she wanted out of life. She also heard a hard truth out of Olivia, pleasant love that she is.
Kate: Mom never told him that she knew his biological dad?
Kevin: I know.
Kate: That's Cuckoo's Nest level of insane.
Kevin: What about you? Showing up all of a sudden deciding to get your stomach cut open? What was that?
Kate: Uh, I almost died in a plane crash, Kevin. My life flashed before my eyes.
Kevin: You experienced mild turbulence. You spilled your peanuts.
Kate: It was a real, life changing moment...shut up.
That was funny. We all tossed that around, too. Was that really a life defining moment? Not in Kevin's eyes, and by the way Kate said shut up, she realized it wasn't the right reason to make the decision, as well.
But then Olivia started treating Kevin like crap, because she's an ugly person, and Kate stood up for her brother, which just got them into a verbal smackdown with each other.
I have a This Is Us quote spelling out what Olivia said, but the gist of it is Kate's afraid if she loses the weight and nothing happens, then what? What if she's just destined for the life she already has?
Frankly, that's everybody with every major change looming over their life. What if they quit drinking and they're still depressed, or they get married and they're still not in a romantic love, or they have a baby and their marriage still sucks, or get more sleep and still have bags under their eyes...every change comes with issues.
Why bother if it's only going to me at the end of it? Well, it IS only going to be you at the end of it, and if that's what Kate's thinking at the beginning of it, then her problem, as we've already sussed out, is internal and about more than the weight. So she needs to conquer that before thinking conquering her weight will change her world.
But Kate said she couldn't do any of it without the support of her brothers, and Kevin suggested moving closer to them, as he can't really do his life without her, either.
Which brings us to Kevin.
He did make that dumb mistake by inviting Olivia up to the cabin, but it did, as I said, usher everyone through their issues. It also, I think, ushered Olivia out of his life. Seems silly to sleep with Sloane then go back to Olivia, right?
Surely he realized what jackwagons both Olivia and Ash really were by sitting there on his couch snuggling in each other's arms, eating his food, making fun of his sister. A sister who I still say was not nearly overweight enough in her childhood years to be saying, "She was everything," when she came into focus.
She was just a plump kid, for goodness sakes!
Hearing Kevin lay into Olivia and finally tell her she an empty shell of a person and he felt sorry for her was like a soft, warm breeze rushing over my face. If nothing else, Kevin loves his family, and he better not stand for anyone treating them like dirt.
And at the end of the day, Kevin and Kate were there to back up Randall when he went to see his mom. They didn't interfere in anyway, but acted almost as if they were bodyguards. This time, they were saying, "Hey mom, this is us. The Big Three."
What did you think about "The Trip"? Were you satisfied with how things worked out even if the siblings didn't get to spend my actual time together? Drop me a comment or seven and watch This Is Us online if you just joined us. It's worth every minute!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.