Kate was saddened by the Polaroid of her and Marc from Rebecca's dinner party.
Our Round Table team had hoped to be excited for Kate and Marc, but Marc's behavior on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 5 triggered lots of red flags.
Our TV Fanatics Christine Orlando, Mariha Morales, Lauren Busser, and Jack Ori debate what happened between Kate and Marc, whether Beth is right that Randall needs therapy, and what's going on with Tess. Read on!
Is Beth right that Randall needs therapy to avoid another breakdown?
Christine: Yes! He goes down this path over and over again with the same results. He thinks he can handle everything on his own and then he becomes overwhelmed.
Randall needs better coping skills. He can recognize that Tess needs help to live a healthier life but he won’t give that gift to himself.
Mariha: Yes! He needs to be pro-active about his mental health.
Though running every morning is a great way to keep a clear mind, the stress will climb in eventually.
He might figure since he has gone his whole life without therapy that he is fine without it. I wonder if they plan to explore the stigma of therapy amongst men, especially African-American men.
Lauren:Yes! We've seen Randall go through this multiple times and I think that he has a support system but he isn't utilizing it.
He needs someone who can help him realize that it's okay to ask for help and that he doesn't need to reign it in.
I think some of Beth's observations about Randall's history were insightful, but I think it's also a flag that Randall needs better coping skills.
Jack: I agree with all of the above.
I wish Randall would see that Tess isn’t the only one who needs help. He’s in a high-stress job and is already overwhelmed.
It’s better to address this sooner rather than waiting until he has another breakdown.
Kevin and Randall didn't approve of Marc and Kate seemed sad when she found the Polaroid of her and him. What do you think happened between them?
Christine: I have no idea!
Did Marc die? Did he do something to Kate?
The age difference was a bit of a red flag, but I’m lost as to what occurred and that both Kate and Rebecca say they both missed the signs.
Mariha: I have a gut feeling it's abuse.
Marc showed too many red flags.
He hired Kate primarily to have a physical relationship.
Marc invites himself over to Kate's house by finding her address through employee documents.
Then to top it all off, when Kate introduces Marc as a friend, he takes control and corrects her. Marc proclaims himself as Kate's boyfriend.
Have they even discussed being in a relationship? Even if they have, Kate might want to keep that private until she is ready.
It all reads to me as someone who is probably controlling and manipulative. My guess is this relationship threw her off the edge with her gain.
Lauren: I feel like I'm playing my own version of the "Worse Case Scenario" in this instance. There is so much about that moment that screams "CREEPY!" and I hope I am wrong.
Jack: I didn’t pick up on any domestic violence vibe, maybe because they showed Marc and Kate kissing at work and I thought it was above board.
I thought maybe Kate and Marc broke up for some reason having to do with Kate’s issues and Kate regretted it.
Or at least I hope that’s all it is! But whatever it was, was certainly something life-changing.
Nicky and Kevin finally bonded over a brick of ice cream. React!
Christine: First off, I loved Nicky’s reaction to Kevin at the hockey rink:
Kevin: Don’t you have one of those Vietnam baseball caps you could wear?
Nicky: You know it’s not like a concert we all went to, Kevin.
I was relieved that Nicky didn’t drink after he became overwhelmed at the hockey game. I liked that the ice cream story resonated back to Jack and Nicky’s father. Not only did Kevin get to share a story but Nicky did too, and that was a big deal.
Mariha: I love it! It was done so well.
It was a simple yet moving scene.
It's special to know that maybe the reason Jack loved ice cream so much was that it was one of the only times his Dad was nice. He passed those nice memories to his kids, and it was beautiful.
It was also satisfying to see that finally all of Kevin's hard work to bond with Nicky was working.
Lauren: Nicky and Kevin are a great relationship.
I have to admit I was worried about Kevin buying a trailer, but now I think that being around Nicky will be good for him.
The scenes with the brick of ice cream are so sweet and seeing how it resonated and changed from the way Jack's father did it and down to Jack was great.
I was also relieved that Nicky didn't drink, but I was also glad he got himself out of that situation and was able to find some peace. Plus I think the fact that Nicky was able to reward himself for getting through the day with a slice of ice cream was perfect.
Jack: Agreed! This was one of the most beautiful scenes on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 5.
I love Kevin and Nicky's bonding, and Nicky sharing the ice cream was a definite turning point both for him and for the relationship.
Rebecca asked Miguel if she was trying too hard to keep her family together. Was she?
Christine: No. She’s their mother and that’s her job.
However, I did find it interesting that Kate was already feeling resentful about Miguel hanging around so much and trying to help. She obviously thought he was trying to take her father’s place right from the start.
Mariha: No, she was doing her best to stay afloat.
Lord, did I appreciate Miguel in this episode.
That wine speech was pure Jack, and it was amazing. I can see why she falls for him eventually. He steps up in so many ways.
Lauren: I don't think Rebecca was trying too hard at all.
It's a change and it happened at a point where the family would splinter anyway, and maybe she wanted them to keep their close bonds instead of running from this tragic moment, but it came from a place of love I think.
There was also a lot going on with her boys having girlfriends and Kevin's marriage, and honestly it's a lot to take in and probably a lot that both Kate and Rebecca resented in this episode.
Jack: I don’t think Rebecca was trying too hard either.
I think she was concerned about the kids, especially Kevin and his spontaneous decision to get married, and maybe she bit her tongue a bit rather than express her concerns.
But she was trying to do the best she could to keep the family moving forward in a positive direction.
Was Tess angry that she had inherited Randall's anxiety or was there a deeper meaning to her statement that she didn't want to be anything like him?
Christine:I think Tess was lashing out for a lot of reasons.
Her whole life has gotten uprooted with the move, and it's not going as well as she'd hoped.
Much like her father, she takes things very seriously and I’m sure she does feel resentment towards him for the panic attacks.
But mostly, she’s a teenager going through a difficult time and getting angry at her father seems like a pretty normal reaction.
Mariha: I think it was just regarding her anxiety.
Teenagers already have so much to deal with, and in addition, she is a minority queer person. She doesn't need anything else that separates her from the majority.
She may just want to be her own person and fight against comparisons with either of her parents.
Lauren:Tess is growing up and changing and I don't think a comment like that should be taken to heart.
I think she's a teenager trying to adjust into a new school and setting and she has a drive to her, but I think she's also recognizing that her dad is not okay.
I want to think that maybe if you strip down the teen angst, she's probably asking for help, it just came out more biting than expected.
Jack: Lauren’s point that Tess was trying in some way to ask for help is a good one. Having panic attacks on top of everything else she’s dealing with has to be frustrating and that’s probably why she's lashing out.
What was your favorite scene from this week's This Is Us?
Christine:I loved it when Rebecca went off at her kids in the kitchen. They needed someone to shake them up so they could stop being so self-centered for at least this one dinner.
STOP! I have been planning this for weeks so that it would be perfect. Because this is where we live now, and this is where we move forward, where we talk over napkins and placemats and eat Cornish hens. And it doesn't matter that I couldn't find my pot and I burned the Cornish hens or that all I got of your wedding was Polaroids, because I am doing my best and this is what we have to work towards. So pull yourselves together, pretend you like burnt, raw food and get your whiny little asses back in those seats and enjoy my damn dinner!Rebecca
Mariha:I cannot choose this week.
It would be either the ice scene with Kevin and Nicky because he is fighting so hard for that relationship or the talk Beth had with Randall and Tess.
Beth is just supermom, and her entire speech was the perfect way to handle the situation.
I was so thankful for this storyline because I am sure a lot of us have dealt with the overwhelming. Best believe when it comes again, I am going to pour myself a glass of seltzer water and watch the bubbles.
Lauren: I really loved it when Beth took out the seltzer and talked to Randall and Tess.
I think maybe it's because I tend to overcommit, but that scene really resonated with me.
I think her bit about how she wasn't going to let them be down on her three favorite people in the world was just the best way to handle the situation.
A close second is Rebecca telling the story about the day the bird flew threw the window, and they knocked over the lasagna. I think that was the moment of levity this episode really needed.
Jack: The bubble scene was my favorite too. I also liked Tess confiding in her parents during that scene that she was anxious because of not knowing how to share that she isn’t attracted to boys.
A close second was Nicky sharing the ice cream with Kevin. As I mentioned earlier, that felt like a real turning point.
This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.