Rebecca and Jack prepared for the Big Three becoming teenagers while in the present, Randall and Beth had to deal with Tess' adolescent misbehavior.
Our TV Fanatics Christine Orlando, Carissa Pavlica, Sarah Little, and Jack Ori debate Randall's parenting success, whether we want Madison and Kevin to make it as a couple, and everything else that happened on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3.
Read on for our thoughts and then share yours.
Grade how Randall handled the incident with Tess from A+ (perfect) to F (what kind of parenting fail was THAT?)
Christine: An A. Tess has every right to stand up for herself and her friends, but cursing her teachers out in a video and posting it online was not the right way to go about it. That Tess never talked about the incident or showed her parents the video shows that she knew it was wrong.
I thought the grounding and lack of phone was appropriate. I also liked how Randall told Tess that if she finished that sentence, she'd get an additional three weeks tacked on!
Carissa: I agree with everything Christine said.
Kids tend to think they can get away with a lot, and parents need to guide them in the right direction, even if it hurts.
Tess needs to learn when it's appropriate to speak out and what avenues work best, even if they're not the shortest route to her preferred destination.
Sarah: I would definitely give Randall an A.
He might agree with everything Tess had to say, but he is a parent first and he needs to hold her accountable for her actions. And Tess is still so young and will undoubtedly make many more mistakes.
Thankfully, she has Randall to teach and guide her!
Jack: I give Randall an A too. I'm especially impressed that he listened to Beth's opinion about how to handle this and put aside his admiration for Tess' standing up for herself to let her know she went about it the wrong way and that there would be consequences.
After Madison's upset and the conversation she and Kevin had about their serious problems, do you think they will make it as a couple? Do you want them to?
Christine: Yes, and yes! They are virtual strangers navigating a new relationship while preparing for their twins. That's huge.
I thought both Kevin and Madison did a great job of opening up to one another and explaining how they felt. If they can continue to do that, I think they could turn out to be a great, long-term couple.
Plus, I find them really adorable together, so I'm rooting for them.
Carissa: I do.
Kevin is going to be a great family man. He's communicating very well with Madison. He's not pushing her, and choosing to share his own insecurities to earn her trust was commendable.
They're both addictive personalities, and they could cheer each other on while ensuring their child doesn't fall into their bad habits.
I really want them to make it as a couple. They're doing everything right under strenuous circumstances. How can you not root for that?
Sarah: I'm not ready to jump onboard the Kevin/Madison train just yet.
Yes, they've shown a lot of growth, and they are now forming a strong foundation with friendship, but they lack a certain amount of chemistry for me.
That's not to say that I dislike them as a couple. I just think they have a bit of ways to go before I can double down on their relationship.
But I did absolutely love watching them talk openly about their insecurities near the end of the episode.
Jack: I'm not sure yet. I liked the way they communicated, and they're definitely making the best out of an entirely unplanned situation.
Their honest conversation was an improvement over Madison's silent sulking earlier in the hour.
But there are so many unknowns, so I'm not quite sure they're going to end up being compatible in the end.
What was your reaction to the Vietnamese family and their apparent connection to Randall's family?
Christine: Perplexed, but this is what This Is Us does.
They give us parts of a story and let us try and figure out the connections to the main characters before they finally lay it all out for us.
It's both intriguing and frustrating, but it certainly has me curious.
Also, I really enjoyed that little girl, so I'm hoping she'll be back.
Carissa: I'm not sure so much of the story was required to get the point across.
When introducing a new cast member, they often spend valuable time in an already large cast with people we'll never see again, or very rarely, anyway.
Think of Malik's introduction. His whole family was explored, and they've never really appeared again in any capacity.
If they're valuable to the conversation, great. Otherwise, use sparingly.
I assume we'll find out Randall has another sibling. Someday.
Sarah: I was like, oh man, here we go again. More strangers that somehow have a connection to the Pearson family!
I agree with Christine: it definitely makes for an intriguing story that makes you keep on watching, but it is oh, so frustrating.
And I can't believe I never thought of the possibility of Randall having another sibling, Carissa! I really hope that's the case because I do love me some drama.
Jack: By now, when This Is Us introduces random people, I know the connection is coming, so I spent the hour waiting to find out what these people had to do with anything.
Obviously, the Laurel/Randall connection is there, but I had to wonder if we will meet that little girl as an adult or if we already have and don't know it.
I was surprised that Laurel turned out to be involved with these people. Since they were Vietnamese, I assumed they had something to do with Jack or Nicky.
Do you think Ellie will go through with allowing Toby and Kate to adopt her baby?
Christine: I don't know, but I hope so. It all seems too perfect, which is always a bad sign.
I'm still feeling the sting of an adoption falling through on A Million Little Things, so I really don't want to relive a similar storyline on This Is Us.
It would be nice if things could just go smoothly for Kate and Toby for once, but then again, that's not generally what happens on TV.
Carissa: I think she will and that they'll expand their family with a unique adoption experience.
It's This Is Us. They're all about making strangers family.
She almost seemed a little too good to be true, though, so who knows?
Sarah: It all does seem to be a bit too perfect, especially when Ellie seemed to be fine with Toby and Kate's little spat.
I truly hope that Ellie goes through with the adoption, but we've all been burned by these storylines before and This Is Us is known to make us cry at every single twist and turn.
So, I'm going to be pessimistic with this one and say that I think she will end up keeping her baby.
Jack: I'm rooting for her to go through with the adoption. I hate the trope of the indecisive birth mother that TV dramas use so often.
She seemed like she fit right in with Toby and Kate, so I'm wondering if she will end up being part of the family along with her child.
How well do you think Rebecca and Jack will handle the Big Three becoming teenagers, based on what we've seen so far?
Christine: I can't even imagine raising three teenagers at once. They are going to have their hands full.
As Kevin pointed out to Madison, Rebecca and Jack were great parents, and still, they missed things.
I think we're going to see more of that moving forward, and it's very realistic. Frustrating and a little sad but real.
Carissa: Since we know them best as adults, it's pretty clear that each of The Big Three escaped successfully but carrying a lot of baggage, whether insecurities, anxiety, or identity issues of another kind.
Still, they all look back on their childhood fondly, and that's about as much as you can ask as parents.
Sarah: Rebecca and Jack were never the perfect parents, but they were pretty darn good ones.
All three of their kids turned out decent, which is probably more than you can hope for, but we know they all have trauma.
Like Christine mentioned, Rebecca and Jack missed things, like Kevin's growing addiction to exercise and the need to be perfect.
It's definitely going to be interesting to see more of the Big Three during the start of their puberty years.
Jack: Christine, my sister has FOUR who are all going to be entering adolescence at once in a few years, so three didn't phase me as much as it would most people, I think!
That said, I imagine it is going to be overwhelming and difficult for Jack and Rebecca to give each of the Big Three the attention they need as they become teenagers.
Given adult Randall's feelings that he could never talk about his race-related feelings with his adoptive family, I'm sure we're in for more of his struggles in that area during his teenage years, too.
And I'm sure we'll also see how Jack and Kate's problems developed. Along with, hopefully, some happier memories for all three kids.
Add anything else you'd like to discuss.
Christine: Kate's mask was scary, but thankfully, it seemed to work in her favor.
Also, I appreciated seeing the connection Kevin's workout routine has to his father and where that came from.
It's also a positive that Kevin seems to be aware of that connection and that it has become a bit of a crutch for him as he remains sober.
Carissa: Seeing the kids growing so rapidly was a real kick. They're almost unrecognizable.
They're at that age where they're going to change rapidly, and it will be interesting to see if the storylines are changed with the actors or if the actors will be changed with the storylines.
Given the premiere, it seems more likely to be the former.
Sarah: I always love when the present storylines tie into the past ones, even in miniscule ways like Kevin and Jack working out.
And especially when they show the bond between Jack and the kids. It reminds us why their father was so important to each and every one of them and how he still has an effect on them even today.
Jack: All of the above!
Also, I loved how Toby and Kate were able to laugh about their spat instead of it turning into a big thing. This was a marked improvement from last season, and I hope they continue down this healthier path.
What was your favorite scene, story, or quote from this week's This Is Us?
Christine: This episode reminded me of why I love Beth and Randall as a couple.
As with the pancakes, they just get one another. They also both realize that raising teenagers isn't meant to be easy, but they can do it as long as they're in it together.
Every scene with the two of them together during this installment made me smile.
Carissa: I was pretty impressed with how well Toby and Kate were getting along, including their little tiff about diapers.
They need to be on the same page with what they're facing, and it seems like they're finally on the right path again.
Sarah: Shockingly, my favorite scene was the last one between Kevin and Madison.
I know we are just now finally getting to know Madison, but I'm coming to appreciate her character and her surprising likability.
As for Kevin, I'm really proud of how far he has come from the man we met on This Is Us Season 1. He's more open with his emotions than ever and is trying so hard to be the man he knows he can be.
Jack: There are no words for how much I loved Randall's talking to and disciplining Tess. He was at his best during that scene, taking no nonsense but also being empathetic. And I loved Beth's reaction after he came out of the room, too.
Your turn, This is Us fanatics! Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts!
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This is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.