Kevin helped Randall out after Randall got in trouble in school, while an adult Kevin crossed paths with Cassidy while trying to help Nicky and Randall butted heads with a staff member.
Our TV Fanatics Lauren Busser, Christine Orlando, Mariha Morales, and Jack Ori share our reactions to Kevin and Cassidy's first meeting, Randall firing Bernice, and what our favorite scenes are from This Is Us Season 4 Episode 3.
Who was right about how Randall is approaching being on the City Council? Bernice or Randall?
Lauren: They're both right.
Randall wants to make politics about the people, and he should listen to their concerns and get their trust too. I assume Randall is going to want another term and he can't ignore the voters!
At the same time, think if Randall wants to affect change then there is a nugget of truth in what Bernice is saying and I think we might circle back to this moment.
He does need the people he works with on his side as well and knowing how to work that system is going to help him help the people he represents.
Christine: There was some truth in what Bernice was saying in that Randall needs to form relationships with the other council members to get things accomplished, but he was right to fire Bernice.
Bernice didn’t respect Randall and her attitude would have poisoned his chances of making real change. It’s a shame because she could have chosen to help him with her expertise instead of mocking him and blocking him at every turn.
Mariha: Randall was following through on his promises, and though that might be shocking in politics, it is the right thing to do. He is not planning a political career, so his focus is making influential change now.
Jack: I agree with all of the above.
As a voter, I would much rather have a representative like Randall than one who spends all his time networking with other council members. But at the same time, Randall will need the cooperation of other council members to get anything accomplished, so he will have to find time for networking somewhere.
How did you think the flashback story of Randall's panic attack over getting written up for wearing the wrong shoes related to what was going on in the present-time storylines?
Lauren: I think for Randall it all had to do with panic and starting something new and not knowing all the rules.
But I don't honestly think that the scene was just about Randall. I think it was more about showing the empathetic nurturing side of Kevin. That same scene tied in nicely with his interaction with Nicky and all of that.
Christine: Randall has always been sensitive to criticism and has a serious fear of doing the wrong thing, probably because he’s always felt like an outsider. Now, Randall is embracing being the outsider which was shown when he didn’t allow Bernice to put him back in his place.
I also agree with Lauren that this scene shows how compassionate Kevin can be and that he frequently hides his caretaker side beneath sarcasm and glib one-liners.
Mariha: That flashback really showed Randall’s growth as a person.
As a child, he was so fearful of doing the wrong thing or appearing like he didn’t know what he was doing. He was also seeking the approval of those who looked like him. He learned and has more confidence in himself.
Jack: Mariha brings up a good point about Randall’s reaction being related to the teacher also being black.
I also agree with everyone else that these flashbacks showed both that Randall has learned how to deal with criticism and that Kevin is more compassionate than he is usually given credit for.
Kevin and Cassidy finally met. React!
Lauren: I can understand Cassidy's reaction to seeing a 40-year-old man playing with her son, and I like that Kevin's going to have to work for her trust.
Christine: Finding your kid playing with some adult you’ve never met would have any mother looking upon him with suspicion.
But I loved how Cassidy and Nicky broke out laughing at Kevin in the AA meeting. I don’t mean to diminish Kevin’s struggle but in the scheme of things, his problems and circumstances highlight his privileged life.
Mariha: I was so pleased with their encounter.
As I stated in the This Is Us Season 4 Episode 2 Round Table, I was worried they’d pair Kevin up as a way for him to avoid his own issues.
I was happy she wasn’t swooned by him but called him out for his creepiness. Then their laugh at the AA meeting was gold. A great moment!
Jack: I agree with everyone else that Cassidy was right to be suspicious of Kevin’s interest in her son.
This was such a classic future couple meeting, going quickly from absolute suspicion and hatred to hysterical laughter together. I have almost no doubt that Cassidy is the woman from the flash-forward now.
Do you think Deja will give Malik a chance now that she knows he has a baby? Should she?
Lauren: I don't think they'd have introduced Malik unless Deja was going to give him a chance, however, it is a lot to process so I don't think the steps are going to be as clean and straightforward as they appear.
Christine: I can’t imagine having to process that at age 14! I think Deja likes Malik and will give him a chance, and she should, but she’ll be leery of getting too close to him, especially at first.
Mariha: I think Deja will get involved with Malik but I wonder what her perspective will be about him refusing adoption.
Though Deja loves her mother, her being adopted gave her the best life possible. Though I want better for her, I have a feeling this relationship will be pivotal.
Jack: I thought Deja might be able to relate to Malik’s decisions about his baby because of her history as a foster child. Being adopted has been great for her but her life was so unstable before her adoption.
I think she will eventually get involved with Malik, but she may be very cautious for a while.
Kate met her new neighbor and learned he was a stroke survivor. How do you think this new relationship will impact her story?
Lauren: I think that relationship will be good for Kate.
The way the episode ended with the two of them walking along the curb together was the best.
Toby's secret hit Kate hard. His speech about how he had a heart attack and didn't want to drop dead on Jack was sweet, but it also punched Kate where it hurts.
I think her neighbor was the impetus she needed to know it was okay to start slow. She doesn't need to be doing CrossFit right out of the gate. She can join her neighbor on a slow mile walk.
Christine: Kate needed to know she can take things one step at a time, literally.
When you aren’t healthy or are severely overweight you’ll never be able to jump into something like CrossFit. Just going out walking with her neighbor is a great start and I hope we see more of him because he’ll get Kate out of her own head.
Mariha: Am I the only person who kind of freaked out about this neighbor?
He will be around for a while. I had this crazy thought that he will affect Toby and Kate’s relationship. I know it seems left field, but for some reason, I feel like something is going to happen there.
Jack: I’m not creeped out, but I do think something will happen between Gregory (the new neighbor) and Kate!
The set-up here reminds me of Parenthood Season 5 when Julia’s friendship with another parent made the problems between her and Joel worse and led to an almost-fling.
I have a feeling something like that could happen with Kate and Gregory given the cracks in Kate and Toby’s relationship. Plus, Gregory’s stroke-related difficulties may lead Kate to feel he understands baby Jack’s challenges better than Toby can.
What was your favorite scene from this week's This Is Us?
Lauren: I always love when characters laugh inappropriately so I think Cassidy laughing at Kevin has to take the cake.
Christine: I loved it when Bernice tried to have the door put back on Randall’s office and he not only stopped it from happening but asked everyone to leave so he could speak to Bernice privately.
That was a big moment for Randall and it showed the people around him that he wasn’t going to let Bernice steamroll him no matter how much experience she had or how much authority she spoke with.
If Randall hadn’t stood up to her then, the people around him would have been seen it as Bernice’s office and not his no matter whose name was over the door.
Mariha: Any sweet moments between Randall and Kevin tend to be on my top. When Kevin fled out of the house and biked to Randall’s school to help him, I couldn’t help but smile. He really came through for Randall and I was proud of him. It was season 1 all over again and I loved it!
Jack: I also loved Randall confronting Bernice privately about her attempt to undermine his authority, and all the Kevin/Randall and Kevin/Cassidy stuff was great!
But my favorite moments were pre-teen Kate exercising with Rebecca and hoping to lose weight and adult Kate quietly admitting she couldn’t fit into a booth.
I’m hoping these moments, coupled with Kate deciding to go for a walk with Gregory, will spark her interest in getting healthier for the baby’s sake (and her own).
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics! Let us know what you think about any of the questions above -- or any of your other thoughts on This Is Us!
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Jack Ori is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.