[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from “Number Two,” Episode 9 of This Is Us Season 2.]
Just when viewers thought that This Is Us had cornered the market on eliciting tears with last week’s Kevin (Justin Hartley) centric episode, they decide to share Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) story. In an arguably heart wrenching installment to the second season, “Number Two” shares the events leading up to last week’s shocking cliff hanger that Kate had miscarried.
Continuing this trilogy style that was first implemented with Kevin last week, Kate is “Number Two” because she was the second to walk. Much like learning to walk, life throws obstacles in Kate’s path, and this time it was almost too much, but before the storm, Kate and Toby (Chris Sullivan) were in complete baby bliss. Along with her prenatal care, Kate began speaking to her baby out loud, remarking on her desire to keep the baby strong and healthy all the while the imminent event was looming on the horizon.
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When Kate does miscarry, she is all too ready to forget the prior twelve hours, while Toby is still understandably struggling. After Kate emerges from their bedroom all dolled up in a red dress, Toby questions the reasoning, to which her response is a work engagement. Although Toby vocalizes his concern, Kate departs after agreeing to let him pick her up after the gig. Of course, things do not go as planned, first when Toby receives a package tracking email for a baby item, and then when Kate observes a mother and daughter in the audience of her gig.
For Toby, the baby item (a bathtub) that is supposed to arrive will only make things worse and in true Toby fashion, he seeks the package at the source itself – the package distribution center. Just when it seemed like the task wouldn’t go as planned, an employee at the center comes to his rescue and agrees to give the item to a family member instead of delivering it to Kate’s house. Kate on the other hand is crushed by the sight of a happy mother and daughter, the relationship being unknowingly flaunted in front of her.
Overcome by emotion, Kate leaves the gig abruptly and begins walking, and her path leads to a buffet. In a mark of true progress though, Kate leaves the full plate she makes at the restaurant, and after avoiding her mom’s (Mandy Moore) calls, finally picks up to share her devastating news. Later when Toby goes to pick up Kate at the gig he thought she was still at, he becomes worried when one of her fellow performers tells him that Kate had gotten sick and left.
Once Toby realizes Kate is fine, they begin the inevitable discussion about their recent ordeal. Kate gets mad though and tells Toby that she’s the one that went through the miscarriage, to which his response is that he will support her no matter what but he won’t allow her to exclude him from feeling the same type of heartbreak.
In the usual style of This Is Us these current events were intermingled with scenes from the past, including a teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile) who is unsure of what her college plans will be. Rebecca is eager for her teen daughter to make a list of potential options, which Randall and Kevin have already done at this point. The relationship between Kate and her mother is one of the more central plot points of the episode though and is vital in moving their character development forward. It is no secret that there has been tension between Kate and her mother, as she is obviously a daddy’s girl.
The actress also teases what we'll see in next week's 'Number 3' episode featuring Randall's journey.
When Rebecca attempts to broach the topic of college again, Kate interprets the concern as judgement and storms off. After Kate leaves the room, Rebecca finds an application for Berklee School of Music on her desk and listens to the audition tape that her daughter created of the song “Summertime.” Later on, at the big football game viewers saw last week in Kevin’s episode, Rebecca remarks on Kate’s talent and offers her money for the application, the exchange is tense as usual, but the tone shifts when they are in the hospital later on.
While waiting for Kevin to be done with a test, Rebecca opens up to Kate and tells her that she is always there if she needs to fall into her arms, and if she doesn’t she will love her still. That promise is fulfilled when Rebecca arrives at Kate’s door in the present timeline. Allowing two characters that had always shared a strained relationship to suddenly find common ground through a painful shared experience.
Rebecca advises that Kate talk to Toby about her grief and allow him to share his, because Rebecca had withheld her grief from Jack when they lost their baby. This exchange between mother and daughter allows both to heal in different ways, for Kate it helps her move forward after tragedy, and for Rebecca it strengthens the bond with her daughter. Unlike in the past, Kate gladly takes her mother’s advice and talks things out with Toby, saying that they won’t let this destroy them and that they will try for a baby again in the future.
Overall this episode fueled tears and inspired hope, with Kate’s loss she was able to improve the relationship with her mother, and it will be interesting to see how that shift will change their interactions in future episodes. In the next episode, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) will round out the trilogy theme for the Season 2 fall finale, only time will tell if This Is Us saved it’s most tear inducing material for the last episode of 2017.
This Is Us, Tuesdays 9/8c, NBC