Randall finally met Malik, and it went just about as well as predicted.
On This Is Us Season 4 Episode 4, everybody was struggling to start the next chapter in their lives, but Randall and Beth would love to slam the book closed on Malik and Deja's potential new chapter.
It was only the first conversation, and there's sure to be more to come. This should be fun.
There were some not-too-subtle parallels between Randall's reaction to Malik and Carol's reaction the first time she met Randall.
Carol told Beth that Randall was too broken for a girl like her and the last thing she needed, while Randall and Beth were anxious and embarrassed about the possibility of their mothers spending time together.
Similarly, Deja would have preferred that Malik NOT meet Randall and his tendency both to crack jokes and be overprotective of her, and Randall and Beth certainly weren't happy to hear that Malik had a baby of his own.
She is 15. She can't go out with someone who goes around putting babies in people.Beth
Of course, Carol revised her opinion of Randall and even admitted that to him, but it's unlikely that Randall will rethink his impression of Malik any time soon.
That first meeting couldn't have been any more awkward.
Between Deja's embarrassment, Randall's behavior, and Malik assuming everyone knew he had a kid of his own, the conversation was a recipe for disaster -- and the bad smell coming from the dance studio didn't help matters any.
Randall and Beth's shock was understandable. From their perspective, Deja is a vulnerable 14-year-old who has her heart set on some older boy who's already got one girl pregnant. As far as they're concerned, he's a potential predator.
Of course, they're not taking into account that Deja is a tough, street-smart girl who dealt with a LOT of stuff on her own before she came to live with them.
And they also aren't considering that putting their foot down about Malik isn't going to accomplish much of anything. If they needed evidence of that, they just needed to turn around and look at Carol.
Beth and Randall's encounters at college proved one thing: Carol's disapproval wasn't going to change Beth's mind. If anything, it woke her up to how much she liked Randall.
And Randall's defense of Beth's dream was perfect, except he apologized too many times to Carol for standing up to her.
His first apology was fine, but there was no need to apologize a second time -- even if it did lead to Carol admitting she was wrong about how good he was or wasn't for Beth.
Randall: I am sorry for how I talked to you earlier. But you have never liked me from the day you met me.
Carol: That is not true. I always liked you. It is true that I didn't want you to go out with Bethany. I didn't think you were right for her. But I was wrong. When I met you, I didn't see the strong partner, the man and father you'd become.
In any case, Carol's advice was understandable. The smell in the studio could have interfered with the success of Beth's business, so it was logical to assume the opening needed to get postponed.
THAT wouldn't have been great for business either but if there were nothing that could be done, Beth wouldn't have had a choice.
Thank God she had Randall to help her think outside the box so that she could start the new chapter of her life the way she'd hoped.
But enough about Randall and Beth. Kevin and Cassidy ended up spending five hours together without killing each other.
Their relationship is at that point where their defenses are starting to break down. Their irritation with each other is starting to slip into moments of humor...and of vulnerability.
Nicky: How many of these do we have to look at before you give up?
Kevin: Cassidy, you were in military intelligence. I bet you can negotiate a good deal.
Cassidy: Yeah, that's exactly what the military prepares you for. Negotiating with RV dealers.
Cassidy's deadpan response to Kevin asking her to help negotiate a deal on a new trailer cracked me up, but my favorite moment was when Kevin took a selfie with a random Manny fan and made her feel good.
THAT was the moment when Cassidy realized there was more to Kevin than she thought and that maybe he wasn't a self-absorbed ass after all.
Kevin's sweet side is his greatest asset, and Cassidy got to see it firsthand -- plus learn the story of how he became a baby whisperer on The Manny.
She might not be ready to admit it to herself, but how can she NOT be falling for him?
The Manny flashbacks were interesting in light of recent events.
During the Manny pilot, Kevin couldn't decide if he wanted to be an actor or if he was using it as a distraction from Jack's death -- and recently, he turned down an acting job to tend to Nicky.
His desire to settle down with a good woman and have kids was there back in the Manny days, and Zoe's not wanting to have kids led to his most recent breakup.
It was clear that everything that makes Kevin Kevin was there from the beginning, but he's more aware of what he wants nowadays. Maybe the death of The Manny will allow him to finally close the door on acting and embark on a new chapter in his life.
It certainly seemed that way when he decided to move into an RV next to Nicky's.
Nicky's story about knowing that his relationship with his ex-girlfriend wasn't meant to be seemed to hit Kevin hard, and maybe he realized that the life he'd been pursuing wasn't meant to be either.
I'm excited to see where this goes.
Finally, there was some more trouble in Kate and Toby land.
The most heartwrenching thing about this is that they both want the same thing: for baby Jack to live a full, happy life despite his disability, but they can't seem to get on the same page about what that means or how to go about it.
They're taking their stress out on each other, and that's not good either for their relationship or baby Jack.
And while the trip to the beach was a good start, it's going to take a lot more than that to resolve any of this.
Meanwhile, teenage Kate met someone new. I'm curious about Record Store Guy, and from the promo for This Is Us Season 4 Episode 5 it looks like we're going to see more soon.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics.
Who else is super excited about the steps Kevin and Cassidy took towards getting to know each other? Or for Kevin to close the door on acting?
How big a success was Beth's opening?
And will Kate and Toby get on the same page about baby Jack any time soon?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and don't forget you can watch This Is Us online if you missed anything.
This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.
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