‘This Is Us’: The Pearsons Go Through Some Tense Thanksgivings in ‘Taboo’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 7 of This Is Us, “Taboo.”]
This Is Us is celebrating Thanksgiving in March as the Pearsons gear up for their coveted holiday in the latest installment, “Taboo.”
Whether it’s Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) first time hosting the big day or the most current family celebration, tension abounds. Below, we’re breaking down all of the pivotal moments, reveals, and traditions so beware of spoilers.
A Mother-Daughter Secret
The episode opens up with a look into Rebecca’s childhood Thanksgiving experience in which her mother baked a family recipe known as sugar pie. She promises to one day tell her daughter the secret ingredient, but despite the celebratory nature of the dessert, we later see at the table her mother only gives a small slice, warning Rebecca that they have to be mindful of what they’re eating. This theme echoes across all Thanksgivings featured in the episode.
First Time Hosting
Set before the arrival of the Big 3, Rebecca works on preparing the main dishes for her and Jack’s first time as hosts to her mother Janet (Elizabeth Perkins) and father Dave (Tim Matheson). While prepping the sugar pie, she worries that it won’t be right since she still doesn’t have the secret ingredient. Just as she’s panicking about cleaning, there’s a knock on the door and Jack welcomes Janet and Dave in.
While Janet nitpicks Rebecca’s cooking and prep in the kitchen, Dave and Jack sit on the sidelines out of the way. Jack worries if they should be more involved but Dave assures him it’s best to steer clear of the chaos. When they finally sit down to eat, Rebecca holds her ground that Jack is going to carve the turkey, and the wedding talk commences. Rebecca would prefer not to discuss plans and when her mother makes a comment about avoiding overeating, she doubles down by scooping more food onto her plate and letting all of her emotions out.
Rebecca criticizes her mother’s critiquing and says she’ll eat what she wants because Jack loves her no matter what before storming out of the room. Jack tries talking to Janet who reveals that she and Dave are moving for a job opportunity and that she’s scared Rebecca won’t want to visit her. Jack takes this information and goes into his and Rebecca’s room to check in on his fiancee. He tries telling her that maybe stress was part of the reason for her mother’s behavior, letting it slip that she’s moving. The revelation turns the entire mood around as Rebecca runs out to hug her mom and tell Janet she’ll miss her. As they make up, Rebecca and Janet chide Jack for spilling the beans about the move, but ultimately end their holiday on a positive note as Janet shares the secret ingredient for sugar pie with her daughter.
Romantic Tensions Flare Over Dinner
In the more recent past, Rebecca and her kids gear up for Thanksgiving with her new boyfriend Matt (Matt Corboy), Miguel (Jon Huertas), and his new girlfriend. Needless to say it’s awkward. The first bit of tension comes when Randall (Niles Fitch) and Beth (Rachel Hilson) arrive and notice Kate’s (Hannah Zeile) changed appearance. She gets confrontational when Randall eyes her, asking if he’d like to say anything. Meanwhile, Kevin (Logan Shroyer) is in the dumps about his apparent breakup with Sophie (Amanda Leighton).
When Matt arrives, there’s an awkward intro to her kids, before Miguel arrives and things grow even more awkward. Throughout the gathering, Rebecca and Miguel make little digs towards each others’ boyfriends and girlfriends, and Kate’s weight is discussed by her brothers and between her and Beth. When Randall suggests that she come visit him and Beth at their school, Kate responds by shoveling extra sweet potatoes onto her dish.
As the night carries on, Rebecca and Miguel are a dynamic duo during a game of Taboo, unveiling some very obvious romantic tension between them. Outside, Kevin and Miguel chat, and Kevin makes a remark about how he was watching the wrong guy all day, hinting that he sees how Miguel feels about Rebecca. Kevin says he hears Jack’s voice in his head when he does bad things, and how Miguel would have Jack turning in his grave if he saw how he felt about Rebecca.
Things don’t get much better because after cleaning up and most of the guests have dissipated, Miguel and Rebecca chat outside. He admits that his digs towards Matt weren’t innocent and she concedes that hers towards his girlfriend weren’t either. With this revelation in the air, Miguel admits that he’s moving to Houston, Texas to be closer to his own kids and start a new job. They both are devastated, and Rebecca winds up crying in bed. Kate ends up being the one to comfort her mother, climbing in next to her.
The Pearsons on Edge
In the present-day Thanksgiving celebration, the family gathers at the cabin where Rebecca and Kate (Chrissy Metz) are prepping the food. They talk about the sugar pie recipe and Rebecca promises to share the secret ingredient someday, but not yet. As a peace offering, she gives Kate the spoon to let baby Jack taste it.
Toby (Chris Sullivan) makes a comment about sugar and worries they’re giving Jack too much, but Kate shuts it down, albeit briefly. Meanwhile, Kevin (Justin Hartley) strums his guitar from the corner of the room whining about not being with his twins. As for Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), they’re on the road to the cabin where he’s excited to capture every moment on camera.
When he makes a comment about a drama-free Thanksgiving, Beth notes that there never is one when it comes to the Pearsons. As the day’s festivities proceed, Rebecca asks her kids if they can have a meeting later that night and they agree, but then begin wondering what it will be about. The whole crew then explores the grounds where construction is taking place on the Pearson compound and Toby is irritated by the fact that Jack is acting up, blaming it on the sugar from earlier.
Meanwhile, Miguel asks about adding a guest house, and Kevin makes a sarcastic comment about not catering to his fishing buddies. Back at the cabin, Rebecca airs her annoyances with Randall’s video recording and Kevin’s singing to Kate before they sit down to eat. At the table, Kate scoops sweet potatoes onto Jack’s plate and Toby scrapes off the marshmallow, the gesture leads to a giant argument at the table about Toby fearing Jack will be overweight like him and Kate.
Toby is told to take the Pilgrim Rick hat off of his head by Kevin and the mood in the room grows awkward. As everyone disperses, Beth confiscates Randall’s camera as he admits he’s sad he’s missing out on time with Rebecca. Toby and Kate talk about having the same fight and they go through their concerns revealing their own fears about eating habits, she admits that she struggled a lot herself growing up and doesn’t want her kids to fear eating the same way she did because it got her into binging.
Once these side conversations come to a close, Rebecca’s meeting commences and she says that she is considering the road ahead with her Alzheimers and that Miguel is the captain of making decisions, but in case he can’t that will be designated to Kate. They all agree to these terms, and then she makes sure they know she doesn’t want them to make their lives smaller because of her. She also says that Miguel’s reason for asking about a guest house is because she’ll probably need permanent care down the line and there will need to be space for those caretakers.
After the moving conversation, Kevin and Miguel go over the construction plans to discuss the guest house and Kate asks Rebecca why she chose her. Rebecca says because Kate is her daughter and best friend is why she chose her to make decisions about her health. “It’s always been you,” Rebecca says before whispering the secret ingredient for sugar pie into Kate’s ear.
The episode concludes with a little flash into the future where Kate jots down the recipe for sugar pie and tells baby Hailey she’ll tell her the secret one day. And yes, we need tissues. Stay tuned for more from the Pearsons as the final stretch of episodes air on NBC.
This Is Us, Season 6, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC