Tonight’s This Is Us review contains spoilers.
This Is Us Season 2 Episode 6
Tonight’s episode, The 20s, was directed by Regina King who I’ve admired as an actress and also over the last few years as a director. I hope I’m not reading too much into the episode having been directed by an African American woman, however, it felt different during my two viewings. This Is Us usually pulls on our heartstrings, but this chapter made me do the Oprah Winfrey ugly cry during the same scene, and I knew it was coming the second time. It was Beth’s home birth with Randall and Rebecca on hand for moral support.
When we were kids we think we know everything and will tell anyone who’d care to listen. The Pearson kids at ten are exactly the same in their twenties. Kate dealt with body image issues in the shadow of her beautiful slim mother, but Jack when possible countered and softened some of her hard knocks. Kevin was a cocky child who felt overshadowed by his adopted black brother who was easily given to anxiety. Randall was abandoned at a fire station as a newborn, and I think that was imprinted on his soul.
Halloween is supposed to be fun-filled, but Randall needed to control what ought to have been a carefree night of trick-or-treating. There are things in life we can’t and shouldn’t attempt to manipulate because someone will throw a wrench into our plans and spin us along an alternate course. The truth of how he came to be a Pearson was the ghoul Randall wanted to avoid, and possible fear of rejection was the hook-nosed witch waiting in the corner of the haunted house for Kate.
I can recall any number of awkward prepubescent moments in my life when it appeared that my parents and adults, in general, didn’t understand or want to understand who I was growing into as a person. I wasn’t the same vessel in my twenties as I was in my youth and teens. Various people and experiences changed me, and not always for my benefit, in the years between ten and twenty. I felt I’d lived an entire lifetime within the span of ten years.
Families that seem to have it all together on the surface rarely do. Jack and Rebecca as both a couple and as parents weren’t without their issues and challenges. I’ve said before that Jack later confided in teenage Kate when he ought to have turned to his wife.
Most daddies’ girls love the attention showered upon them, but it can create unrealistic expectations as they get older and begin dating. No one will adore and love them as did or would daddy. Rebecca rolled Randall up in bubble wrap to insulate and protect him more than she did her biological children. How could she do otherwise and still call herself a mother? If Randall were white would the scales have been equal between he and Kevin? I believe so, and I’d venture Regina King felt the same when blocking the scene between Rebecca and Randall near The Larsen’s house. Adoptive white parents will never fully understand what it’s like to be their black child.
The Pearson kids in their twenties are mirror images of their former ten-year-old selves. Our twenties are about making mistakes and hopefully learning from them. Who in their twenties hasn’t suffered through dead-end jobs until we find what we think is a dream job? Early to mid-twenties are about proving yourself to family, friends and loved ones. Kate haunted their childhood home, Kevin became more despicable when his high school fame didn’t carry over into adulthood, and Randall remained as emotionally raw in what seemed to be a successful life.
Jack and Rebecca raised their three kids best they could in spite of the parents who raised them. They had the best intentions but might have come up short in a few developmental areas. Life can fall apart in our twenties, but if we’re smart or patient, we can step outside of our comfort zones and get our act together on or by our twenty-ninth birthday.
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