This week’s episode of This Is Us (titled: “The Trip”) is another emotional performance from Randall, who is still reeling from the lie his mother kept from him his entire life.
In the beginning of this episode, we find Randall angrily pacing in his bedroom, writing notes down on a sheet of paper. He invites Beth and William in the room because they are waiting outside of the door for him. Randall reveals he’s making a list of all the reason’s he’s angry with Rebecca. The question of the episode spills from Randall’s lips to William, “Did my father know about you?” William doesn’t think Jack ever knew, but that question remains to be answered as we jump into a flashback.
Randall becomes very interested in finding out who his birth parents are, and Jack makes a case for him with Rebecca, especially after Yvette tells them that they should find a black male role model for Randall. With the heavy secret on her shoulders, she refuses to indulge Randall and wants him to be happy with his family as is.
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Back in the present, Kevin and Kate are the kitchen, and Kevin informs her that Rebecca is selling their family’s cabin. With Kate’s new motto to “seize the day,” they invite Randall to spend some time in the place that influenced all of their young lives.
Randall’s objective at the cabin is to pack up all of his things and leave while Kate shows him a photo album of their happy memories. Randall isn’t buying it.
Soon after their arrival, Olivia shows up at the cabin with Sloane and Asher. Sloane is the playwright of the new production Kevin and Olivia are starring in, and Asher is Olivia’s ex. Kevin turns into a jealous boyfriend, while Kate is not a fan of their new company. During a board game, Asher asks the group if someone drank his smoothie, which contained ’shrooms. They then realize that Randall is missing.
Outside, Randall is totally tripping from the drugs, and he imagines he’s seeing Jack cleaning the cabin gutters. Kevin and Kate check on Randall and realize he’s fine but hallucinating. They leave him to experience his trip alone. Randall confronts the hallucination of his father about his issues with Rebecca. “Jack” tries to calm his son by explaining that he was always a part of their family.
The anger Kate feels toward Olivia escalates into a one-on-one confrontation where Olivia tells Kate she’s jealous of Kevin and losing the weight might not be the solution she’s looking for. Kate is stunned while Olivia lets out a little truth that Kate doesn’t know anyone like her. When Kate calls Toby to vent, he informs her that they are still broken up and he can’t be there for her like that anymore. Then hangs up on her!
Inside the cabin, Olivia is snuggling with Asher, and they are feeding each other while watching old movies of the Big Three. Kevin has had enough and goes off on Olivia, spouting that she is an empty human shell…ouch! She and Asher leave the cabin, forgetting that Sloane was the one who rented the car to visit her sister and new niece. We later find Sloane and Kevin in bed together.
In Rebecca flashbacks, we see that she’s considered Jack’s offer to find Randall’s birth parents and goes to visit William, saying that Randall wants to meet him. William is five years sober and is absolutely giddy about this reunion. In his excitement, he is distracted and Rebecca takes the opportunity to leave without saying good-bye. He later receives the letter and photo that Randall discovered on Thanksgiving.
At this point, we start to understand Rebecca’s motivation for not telling anyone about William. She’s afraid that her son will be taken away since William never legally relinquished his rights to his son. Jack comforts her, and they come up with a compromise.
Taking Yvette’s advice, Rebecca and Jack sign Randall up for karate classes run by a black man. During the induction ceremony for Randall, the sensei informs all the fathers to come to the mat to show their support for Randall. The ceremony involves Randall perched on Jack’s back while he does pushups. Randall takes turns on all the men’s backs, showing their support as well.
The next day, the Big Three go to Rebecca’s house, and Randall confronts her. In a way, he understands what she did, but he doesn’t forgive her just yet. He leaves a very upset Rebecca on her stoop while he walks away yet again.
Oh Randall! This was another emotional episode for one-third of our favorite trio. I thought the past timeline was beautifully written and executed. The entire time I thought something else would come up (possibly William not wanting to see Randall, or Jack going out on his own to help Randall), but it really came down to a mother and her love for her son. Yes, she was selfish, but as a mom she had to make a tough decision, and having Randall recognize that packed an emotional punch for sure.
I thought the whole “trip” that Randall took was hilarious and heartwarming, but I did wonder why the heck Kate and Kevin just left him outside alone! Good thing he decided to stick around the cabin with his hallucinations.
Even though Olivia was particularly bratty this episode, the fire behind her eyes told a different story. There’s something she’s hiding, and I can’t wait to know her secret!
Join me next week for the recap/review of the next new episode of This Is Us, which airs Tuesday, Dec. 6, on NBC at 9/8c.