This week’s episode of This Is Us (titled: “Last Christmas”) is another emotionally packed episodes that begs the question, “Can something bad happen on Christmas Eve?”
Throughout this episode, mortality comes into play. In the past timeline, Kate needs an appendectomy, and while at the hospital, the Pearson family runs into Dr. K, who was in a car accident. Kate is terrified of going into surgery, and Rebecca rips a piece of Christmas decoration from a garland, saying it’s a magical Christmas branch, and tells her daughter that nothing bad happens on Christmas Eve. While Kate is in surgery, Rebecca and Jack visit with Dr. K. The doctor informs them that he isn’t going to make it due to internal bleeding. At this point, Randall comes into the room after spending his own money to purchase a snowglobe for Dr. K. Dr. K accepts the gift and tells Randall that if he ever has a chance to do good for someone else, he should.
In the present, Kevin and Sloane are arguing, and we realize that Oliva hasn’t shown up for work and the play is cancelled. Sloane forces Kevin to come to Hanukkah dinner with her to make it up to her (and the fact that she told her mother she was dating the Manny). At dinner, Sloane is the starving artist according to her family yet gives a fantastic retelling of the Hanukkah story to her nieces. Kevin tells her that she should play the lead in the show and he will pay for the production with his own money.
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Kate and Rebecca attend a consultation for Kate’s gastric-bypass surgery. She’s given a list of dos and don’ts and multiple risks of the surgery. Rebecca is appalled (as is everyone watching), and Kate snaps at her mother. On the ride home, Rebecca blames herself for the state of her daughter’s weight. And Kate doesn’t agree or disagree with her. Rebecca wants Kate to come to Christmas Eve dinner at Randall’s, but she’s not feeling up to it.
William gives a moving speech at his group meeting. But the next person who speaks, Jessie, has another agenda. He talks about someone who abandoned him, and it’s obvious who he’s talking about. After the meeting, William and Jessie speak, and it appears they were more than friends before William went off to live with Randall. Jessie wants to stay in William’s life, or as much of it that’s left.
Randall and Beth are at the company Christmas party, which is always held on Christmas Eve since Randall’s boss apparently has no family to spend the holidays with. Beth finds out that Randall bought a boat. Apparently Randall goes on shopping binges when he’s upset. Beth wants him to give back the boat, and when Randall searches for his coworker, Andy, to cancel the transaction, he finds Andy is about to jump off the balcony. Andy is getting divorced, and he made several bad financial choices at work, which is why he needed to sell the boat. He doesn’t think he deserves to live. Randall tries to talk him down, telling Andy that his daughter needs him and she will forgive him. And when Beth appears on the balcony and distracts Randall, when he turns back around, Andy is gone. Randall rushes to the edge of the balcony but doesn’t see Andy. Instead he finds his coworker leaving the party safe and sound.
Randall, Beth, and the girls come home to a quiet house, but not for long. The rest of the gang arrives, even after cancelling, bearing presents and unexpected guests. First, Sloane with Kevin, then Jessie with William, and the biggest surprise being Toby (who the kids mistake for Santa Claus). He gives Kate a heart-warming speech, and they kiss and makeup. Well, they do a little more than kiss…
Then, in true This Is Us fashion, as it appears all is well with the family while they sing and dance the night away, Toby collapses.
We flash to the past, where Dr. K wakes up from his surgery and the Pearsons are there to greet him.
Then we move to the present, where this time, it’s Toby on the operating table and the doctors are working quickly to try to revive him.
This episode had me on pins and needles the whole time! The looming question was a serious foreshadowing, and during every scene I was trying to guess whose “Last Christmas” it would be. I was not expecting Toby at all! And with a cliffhanger like that, I’m desperate to know if bad things can happen on Christmas Eve to the Pearsons.
I loved the new relationships blooming between the characters. Kevin’s awestruck expression while watching Sloane retell the Hanukkah story was absolutely adorable. And I’m very interested to learn more about the William/Jessie dynamic. One hilarious moment was when Tess had to inform his parents that William was gay, “or at least bi.” The look on Randall’s and Beth’s faces were priceless!
As this is the midseason finale, there won’t be another episode for a couple of weeks. So join me in January for the recap/review of the next new episode of This Is Us, which airs Tuesday, Jan. 10, on NBC at 9/8c.