Welp, I took back everything you said about him this is us Pulling punches when it comes to portraying Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s symptoms. “That’s not our mother, how,” is the only way Randall could describe it as Rebecca floats in a confused stupor the week after Miguel’s death. It’s quietly devastating to watch the vibrant woman we’ve come to know and love in the past six seasons exist in a different space than they used to be. And “Meet the Family” is committed to portraying Rebecca’s decline with honesty and compassion.
Ostensibly, this week’s honorary family reunion is a battle for control as Kevin, Kate and Randall in particular have thrown up thoughts on how to handle Rebecca’s care now that Miguel is no longer around. But really, this is an episode about fear. Randall and Kevin’s power struggle over logistics is a way to convince themselves that they are doing something meaningful even when they separate themselves emotionally. Only Kate can overcome this fear and see that what Rebecca needs more than anything is daily care and love.
After all, that’s what Rebecca has given her kids for so many years, as this episode is detailed by stepping back in time between the three late adult high school years, their childhood, and their kids’ days. Rebecca wasn’t a perfect parent – and neither is anyone. (And not just because she accidentally let baby Kate roll off the bed.) But what she prioritized above all else is treating her children as individuals. As a rare parent of three children exactly the same age, Rebecca nonetheless realized that each of them needed different things from her: Empowerment for the sake of self-doubt. Kate. Trust the responsible and worry Randall. and immature, self-centered boundaries Kevin.
In fact, the central tension of the Big Three relationship is how very different they are, even if they are related to each other as a highly dependent unit in some way that they have few adult siblings. “Family Meet” is a spiritual sequel to the second season episode, “fifth wheel” Rebecca and the Big Three have a big therapy session at Kevin’s rehab while Beth, Miguel and Toby go to a bar to discuss being the “others” of the Pearson family. This time around, Sophie and Philip join Beth in her cabin lair to break up the burdens and blessings of being part of an unusual family dynamic. As in “The Fifth Wheel” These scenes offer some welcome endurance to balance out the heavy elements in the episode. (The impression of Susan Kelechi Watson Sterling K. Brown is Frighteningly Great.)
However, a lot has changed since the second season of the show as well. It requires outsiders from within like Beth and Toby to help the Big Three counter their tendency to return to their former coping mechanisms in times of stress; To underestimate their siblings’ ability to achieve in these later years of their lives. Even the Big Three’s instinct to clamp down on just the three is an unhealthy defense mechanism. And Kate finally realizes They should open their family meeting for them entire Family – spouses, uncles and parents alike. (about time!)
If there’s a weakness in “Family Rendezvous”, it’s that we kind of know the ultimate solution to taking care of Rebecca – because they both suggest that Kevin lives in the house alongside Rebecca And because there’s no other reason Madison and Elijah are in this episode if they don’t miraculously support a big move. (I guess they traveled across the country for Miguel’s funeral and then stopped at the family compound for a week?) However, the relatively low stakes allow for a “family get-together” to emphasize the little watchful touches that this is us It works well, especially when it comes to parents and children.
As much as this episode is rooted in the details of Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s experience, it also captures the reflection of a broader role that many people go through as their parents age. The people who took care of us as children often become the ones we care about as they age in a state of helplessness. And this is us Uniquely suited to explore this idea in a visually poetic way as it leaps from Rebecca tying little Kevin’s shoe to Kevin tying Rebecca or adult Kate reading her mother to sleep just as Rebecca used to do to her children with Goodnight Moon.
There is a fun diverse feel to the way this episode emphasizes the cyclical continuity of Pearson’s family life. very much like last week’s episode Detailing the sweet, romantic care that defined the second half of Miguel’s life, this episode highlights the maternal instincts that defined many of Rebecca’s instincts. While Jack was always there with great speech or a grand gesture, it was Rebecca who quietly did the early morning feeding and nighttime routine; nail polish and toys to the tooth fairy; She tries to instill good values in her complicated teens.
It’s the kind of quiet care that Randall and Kevin eventually realize is just as important as the big decisions they spend so much in this episode arguing about. Easily the most exciting scene in ‘Family Rendezvous’ is the one in which Kate encourages her anxious siblings to see their mother and truly love her for who she is; to comb her hair and put lotion on her hands; Treat her like a human being to love, not a burden to manage. Although Kate may not be the most natural leader of the group, she does share with Rebecca the power of calm, integrity, and empathy. And that’s a big part of why Rebecca made her care for her in the first place.
Surrounded by the love and affection of the three children she wasn’t sure she was really ready for, Rebecca finds a little of her old warmth again. She may not be exactly the same as Rebecca who raised Randall, Kate, and Kevin, but she is still their mom. It is only once the Big Three let go of the past and embrace this new phase of life that they discover what there is like hope and peace in Rebecca’s waning years of life. The tag “To Build a Home” montage that ends this episode feels like a precursor to an epilogue, so much so that anyone would guess what. this is us In stock for the last two episodes. But hopefully, they honor the show’s characters as being as influential as this one.
- Well, Beth says she has been part of the Pearson family “for over 30 years.” If you met Randall around 1998, it would be 2028 or later – at least a few years after Kate and Philip’s wedding. Which explains why Madison and Elijah’s baby is now a full grown baby, even though I’m still very confused by Kevin’s vaguely underaged twins.
- Just in case we haven’t heard Rebecca’s Thanksgiving soliloquy enough this season, Kevin literally repeats it here too. Thanks how.
- I know the show has pre-filed some shots of the finale over the years, but I’m so upset this season I decided not to show the Big Three (Lonnie Chaves, Mackenzie Hanksack, and Parker Bates). The creators may have thought they had outgrown their roles, but I think it was great to see them play the big three high school years.
- It’s really nice to see Kate and Toby’s supportive post-divorce friendship in action.
- I still can’t believe Randall is a US senator…
- Rebecca’s calling of Dr. K is a nice response to my formative this is us assistant player. Also Baby Kate is very cute!!!