[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from "Clooney," Episode 12 of This Is Us Season 2.]
Last week, viewers of This Is Us experienced a therapy session that was surely worthy of Dr. Phil, when Kevin invited his family to rehab. This week after the dust has settled, the Pearsons are making an effort to grow in ways that they see fit. Arguably a less dramatic episode of the hit show's second season, "Clooney" which is named for William's (Ron Cephas Jones) stray cat, who is seen roaming around the streets between scenes, focuses on the healing of a family that has had it rough as of late.
Picking up with the past, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is seen working on some carpentry before joining Rebecca (Mandy Moore) in the house where they decide as a family to go to the mall. With different motivations, the Pearsons set out on their quest. Kate needs a dress, Kevin and Jack a suit, and Randall to ask a girl to be his date to the upcoming dance.
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Meanwhile in present day, Kevin (Justin Hartley) has decided that spending time with his mother would be best for his recovery. The downside though (for Kevin) is having to spend more time with Miguel (Jon Huertas) as well. Touched upon in last week's episode, Miguel is the outsider of the Pearson clan. He was Jack's best friend who married his widow. So, it's understandable why Kevin would be a little cold towards him.
The two are cohabiting under the same roof so it's difficult not to face the facts of the situation, and that is exactly what Kevin does. After an icy exchange during a grocery story outing, Kevin finally asks Miguel a question that's been plaguing him for years. Was Miguel always in love his mother? Miguel promptly answers no.
Miguel hadn't always loved Rebecca because in his eyes, Rebecca wasn't just Rebecca, she was Rebecca and Jack—they weren't just individuals as so much as a collective being. This clarification was both surprising and reassuring to Kevin, it finally put things into perspective allowing him to make amends with Miguel that he's been unable to do for the last 20+ years.
Coinciding with this understanding in the plot from the past, Kevin and Jack bump into Miguel during their mall outing. As Kevin sulks over his injury and Miguel over the recent engagement of his ex-wife, Jack can't understand their gloomy demeanor, but this is proof that the polarized pair of the future can once again find common ground.
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Randall (Sterling K. Brown) on the other hand is searching for his purpose, and during an outing to collect some of William's old belongings, he thinks he is one step closer. When he begins to go through the box, Randall finds scraps of paper and an old notebook. The scraps have drawings of a woman's face, while the notebook holds a romance poem written by the man himself.
Shaken by this revelation, Randall sets his sights on finding the woman that the poem is clearly about, but first Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) wants Randall to entertain the idea of getting a job for both their sanity. When Randall receives a call with a lead about the woman's identity, he ditches the interview and heads out in search. Finally the super of the building reveals the identity of the woman who no one could have guessed.
The woman was in fact a mural of Billie Holiday outside William's window, and suddenly Randall could envision it: William sitting there while he put his pen to paper. Taking this information, Randall has an epiphany about what to do for work and has Beth join him in the lot outside the rundown building. In Randall's bold fashion, he tells his wife that he wants to buy the building with her and work on making it better for those who cannot do it themselves. This solution answers many of the questions that Randall was asking about his life, this step is part of his purpose.
Meanwhile, Kate (Chrissy Metz) is on her own road to recovery, after falling off the diet wagon in last week's episode, she returns to support group. It wouldn't be support group though, if there wasn't an appearance by Madison (Caitlin Thompson), who has been Kate's frenemy for most of the sessions. The pair have had their moments, but when Kate shares about her impending marriage, miscarriage, and relapse, Madison jumps in and invites Kate to go wedding dress shopping.
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Just as the mall coincided with Kevin's current plot, so does this wedding dress scenario. For Kate, she has always struggled with her body image, and when she and Rebecca go dress shopping she gets upset with her dress size. So going to look for wedding dresses isn't something that Kate was looking forward to but Madison made it a great experience. It was pleasant at least until Kate picked up on the fact that Madison was binging on macaroons, then excusing herself to the restroom.
When Kate tried to broach the topic with Madison, she's left at the curb, much to Kate's shock. Hours later though, she gets a call from Madison, who has fallen in the bathroom after purging. The new friends discuss the predicament. Kate sees that she was quick to judge Madison because in many ways they are the same. Overall this experience seems to help Kate cope with her relapse, and look forward to a future where she focuses on her health in a positive way.
All of these positive progressions mirror the resolve of their father, Jack, who reveals to Rebecca his desire to branch out of his current job to make his own company, "Big 3 Homes." This decision, although risky, seems to make the couple happy, as Rebecca wonders aloud if they forgot anything at the mall. The seemingly insignificant statement carries more weight than it would seem when the camera pans out to show a fire detector without batteries. This simple lapse in memory clearly determines their fate, as it has been hinted throughout the season that Jack will die in a house fire. Viewers will just have to wait and see if that's sooner rather than later.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC