Randall had another breakdown after an intruder broke into his house, while Kevin went to a funeral for Sophie's mother and in the past timeline, something went down between Kate and Marc.
This Is Us Season 4 Episode 11 was the first installment of a three-part saga featuring each of the Big Three, and Randall was the main focus.
Our TV Fanatics Mariha Morales, Christine Orlando, and Jack Ori debate what happened between Kate and Marc, who Randall should have called for help, and what we thought of the reveal at the end about Kevin.
How do you think the way Jack handled Randall's nighttime fears when he was little related to the way Randall was dealing (or not dealing) with his anxiety after the intruder broke into his house?
Mariha: Now it all makes sense.
It's funny the things that stick when you are a child. I remember my mother saying one sentence to me, that after years of therapy, I now realize created a complex.
Children need to please their parents and make them proud. Jack asking Randall to be his low-maintenance child was unfair.
One moment can affect a person for years.
Not that I am blaming Jack for Randall's overall anxiety, but that moment was a stepping stone into " keeping up appearances Randall."
Christine: Yeah, Jack’s tactic to get Randall back in bed obviously had a long-term effect that he never expected.
Randall is supposed to be the good son, the caretaker, and the one his parents never have to worry about. What Randall never learned was that it’s okay not always to be okay, that it’s okay to ask for and accept help.
That’s probably at least part of the reason why his anxiety builds until he can’t control it any longer and breaks down.
Jack: I agree with all of the above.
Jack meant to encourage Randall to go back to bed, but he accidentally gave him the message that he wasn't supposed to cause any trouble or make his parents worry, ever.
It's especially sad because Jack also told Randall it was okay to ask for help, but that message didn't impact him as much as the message about keeping it together no matter what.
Randall reached out to Kevin when he finally broke down. Was Kevin the right choice?
Mariha: The right choice would have been a licensed therapist, but Kevin will do for now.
In terms of siblings, Kevin is definitely the better choice. He understands Randall's anxiety better than Kate.
Their relationship has grown tremendously since season one and Kevin has proven time and time again that he can be a person to lean on.
Now that I am thinking about it, Kevin might be the only member of the Pearson family that has gone to therapy. He is great with people and should consider a career as a counselor.
Christine: Kevin seems to be the one family member that Randall feels comfortable getting help from, but he only does it when he’s breaking down.
It’s good that he at least has that and Kevin is supportive and never judges Randall, so that’s a positive. But Randall needs to sit down with a therapist so he can figure out how to handle his anxiety in a healthier way so that it doesn’t lead to a complete meltdown.
The fact that this happens to Randall over and over again and he never seeks professional help shows how stubborn Randall can be.
Jack: I had mixed feelings about this. Kevin was great with Randall, but we know a major fallout is coming, so Randall is going to have to find some other way to cope.
That said, it made total sense that Randall would lean on Kevin when he really needed to.
Kevin has always known how to help Randall through his panic attacks, and even though things are sometimes tense between them, he really knows Randall better than anyone else.
Should Randall have been more assertive about needing to go to the grief group, or was he right to put it aside for whatever was going on with Kate?
Mariha: His family needs him. I get it.
He is basically mini-Jack in so many ways. He would never put his own interest in front of his family when they need help.
There is obviously something very wrong if they are picking Randall up from school. I would drop everything too.
I just hope he does tell someone about the dreams or Beth tries again.
Christine: Randall was told there was some sort of emergency with his sister, so I respect that he dropped everything to be there.
Personally, I don’t think Rebecca needed to pull Randall out of school before going to Kate herself and assessing the situation.
Randall is Kate’s brother, not her father. I know the ‘big three’ are close but sometimes it does feel as though Rebecca leans too much on Randall.
Jack: I understand why Randall dropped everything, but it bothered me.
Randall needed help too, and I wish he would have told someone that he had been about to go to a grief group and was not doing well.
I also agree with Christine that Rebecca often treats Randall as a stand-in for Jack, and that's not fair to him.
What do you think happened between Kate and Marc?
Mariha: I have been seeing the signs of domestic abuse between Kate and Marc.
I have a feeling that something severe happened, but not quite physical. I don't think Kevin would have been so calm on the phone if Marc hit Kate.
They haven't shown too many interactions between the couple, but on the phone, things did not sound good. I hope Kate is okay and everything gets revealed soon.
Christine: It sounds as though Marc has become abusive. Whether that’s emotionally or physically I don’t know.
When Kevin called Randall, it didn’t seem as though he knew exactly what happened, simply that Rebecca wanted them all there to support Kate.
Jack: I agree that there is some sort of abuse going on.
There have been red flags for a while, and Kate and Marc's phone conversation sounded like things were beginning to unravel.
Kevin slept with Sophie again. React!
They have done this dance so many times, yet here we are again. Though I have a feeling, we are being misled.
My guess is that Kevin met someone else at the funeral. Otherwise, why would they cover her face?
He does have a history of dating extended relatives.
My second guess is that Kevin and Sophie do sleep together, and she gets pregnant, but she doesn't stay with Kevin. I might be cynical, but I don't see these two married again.
Christine: Since we never saw the blonde woman's face, we don't know for certain that it is her, but let's assume it is for now.
Sophie is Kevin’s first love and, thus far, the love of his life. Given an emotional event like her mother’s funeral, it doesn’t surprise me if they end up together in bed.
I’d like to see these two end up together long term as I think Sophie has always made Kevin happy but if they’re going to continue the on-again/off-again scenario then I wish he’d steer clear.
Jack: Given This Is Us' penchant for misdirection, you're probably all correct that the blonde wasn't Sophie.
I can't believe I didn't think of that.
Anyway, if it is Sophie, my reaction is still UGH. I feel these two have already had more than enough chances to make it work and have not succeeded, and I'd like Kevin to move on from Sophie for once and for all.
What was your favorite scene, quote, or story from this week's This Is Us?
There was a great honest conversation I am not sure many men have with each other. It can truly make waves when someone not only empathizes with your struggles but connects that they too have dealt with hard situations.
Admitting that you need help is hard, and that was a good way to push Randall in the right direction to call Kevin.
Furthermore, it opened a great discussion on the stigma of mental health in the black community, especially with men. It might be 2020, but some people still find it hard to admit that they need more than daily exercise to deal with their issues.
Christine: Since Mariha took my favorite scene, I have to mention little Kevin wandering down as Jack watched The Shining and Jack quipping, “Jesus, Kevin. Please don’t say red rum.”
That made me laugh out loud.
Jack: It's unanimous. Darnell's talk with Randall was hands-down the best scene. I especially enjoyed this quote.
Look, man, I get it. Us men of a certain shade, we're not used to talking. But that's therapy, right? Talking.Darnell
As Mariha said, the conversation Darnell and Randall had about the difficulty many black men have with seeking help for mental health issues was an important point to bring up. I love how This Is Us always weaves in issues like these without being preachy.
I also liked the scene at the town hall.
Randall's triumph over his issues was short-lived, but I cheered when he found his footing and was able to respond to the voters' concerns despite his high anxiety level.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics.
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This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.