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Spoil Alert! This story contains details from "This Is Us" Season 3, Episode 6, "Kamsahamnida," which aired on October 30, 2018.
Are the Pearsons – dare I say it – progress?
The Tuesday NBC episode "This Is Us" was a banner excursion for today's Big Three siblings, all showing remarkable personal growth at a time when it was badly needed. Kate (Chrissy Metz), now pregnant and learning to help Toby (Chris Sullivan) as he struggles with depression, becomes more confident in her own choices. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) for the City Council in Philadelphia is no longer a vanity exercise and begins to be a source of good. And Kevin (Justin Hartley) realizes why he's so obsessed with his father's past.
Overall, "Kamsahamnida" (which means "thank you" in Korean) was a stronger than usual episode of "Us", but it raises a new problem with the series, which promises to be even more severe.
Like "Lost" and other flashback heavy shows before, "Us" is entering the stage where the present is much more revealing than the past. Although the scenes from the flashback this week in the early 1990s show sweet moments between Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Jack and the young Randall (Lonnie Chavis), we've already seen many, even on this timeline.
As annoying as the great mystery of "Jack's Death" was, there was something to be said for having larger stakes in flashbacks and opportunities to learn more about the characters we already know so well. I do not think the Flashbacks will be as boring and misguided as the episode of "Lost" on Jack's tattoos from now on, but it will be harder for the authors to keep them relevant and vital.
Apart from a brief raid by Jack, who taught Randall boxing, the episode 2018 remained fully intact.
The family is overjoyed with Kate and Toby's "maybe baby," but worried about Toby, who has been on antidepressants but is not improving. Kate struggles with the question of how she can help him, either by trying to move him, or by resting and spending that time alone. She is constantly asking for help from her mother, which shows how much her relationship has improved. But when Kate and Toby's dog Audio eats a rock and Kate has to make a big medical decision, Rebecca says she has to get used to the shooting.
Kate chooses how to help Audio – and how she can help Toby – after he expresses his fear that she'll leave him when she's tired of looking after him. She reaffirms her love for her husband and the commitment she has made to the marriage, and that seems to help Toby more than anything else.
Pearson's other wife, who really hurts this episode, is Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who has still not told Randall how much she was fired. After an unfortunate trip with her daughters selling scout biscuits, Beth ends with a roar. Deja (Lyric Ross) helps her adoptive mother understand that she has to confide in her husband.
This husband is still campaigning despite his catastrophic campaign last week. Randall goes to the city to visit a local church, only to be called by his opponent because of his outsider status. (He lives in neighboring New Jersey.) However, he discovers an opportunity when he takes Kevin to a restaurant in Koreatown. His opponent has never tried to recruit voters there, and thanks to Kevin's status as a movie star, he can enroll several of them. But one calls Randall to the blatant tactics and suggests that he will not represent the interests of the people there when he is elected.
In response, Randall begins to speak, and for a moment, it seems that it will be as choppy as his inspirational attempts were last week. But instead of being great and explaining how he is the savior they need, he simply offers to listen. It's a big step for Randall and his campaign. He wins the crowd and his critic, who happens to be a political actor. Now that he has a campaign manager and a constituency listening to him, maybe this is not such a fool.
Randall is also shocked by the photo of the Vietnamese, but he believes that they should respect Jack's desire to keep his time in Vietnam secret. But Kevin convinces his brother to bless his investigation by comparing it to Randall's own obsessions, including his political campaign. (The brothers are more alike than they want to admit.)
When Randall returns home, Beth waits, more vulnerable than we've seen her before. She opens up to her pain and supports him, although he still tries to solve her problem because he is still Randall. He offers her a job for his campaign she accepts, but it's not a "compassion offer" until Randall has assured her.
I'm not sure if that was not the case, but Randall certainly has a better chance with Beth at his side.
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