[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from "Vegas, Baby," Episode 16 of This Is Us Season 2.]
After weeks off the air, This Is Us returned on a (somewhat) lighter note with "Vegas, Baby."
The episode kicks off with a number of past anniversary celebrations between a younger Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). As we move to the present, we get caught up on the Déjà situation, and the Pearson siblings make the venture to Vegas for Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Kate's (Chrissy Metz) bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Of course, it wouldn't be This Is Us without a little drama—like Kate stressing out about celebrating with sister-in-law Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), with whom she's spent little solo time in the past. Meanwhile, Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) make it to Toby's party, but his own brother couldn't join in. All of this and more in the first episode since February 6. Read on for all the news and notes on this third-to-last episode.
- In true Jack fashion, every wedding anniversary is a big to-do, with the family man showering his wife with surprises, from bowling alley dances to pianos. Eventually, Rebecca admits that she just wants a normal surprise-free anniversary to which he agrees. But the "Big 3" have other plans, deciding to throw their parents a special celebration of their own.
- The evening is particularly important to Kevin, because he worries his parents' lack of enthusiasm for the day is a sign of trouble for their marriage. When they assure him that everything between them is fine—unlike Sophie's divorcing parents—he relaxes. The kids do manage to pull off one surprise: lights in their parents' room and a thoughtful card telling them to take in the meteor shower on the roof.
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- In Vegas, things don't go quite as planned. Toby and Kate each have their own apprehensions—and it seems their concerns were warranted. Their wishes for a smooth celebration is squashed when Kevin and Randall become distracted, and Kate defends Randall against Beth.
- For Toby, the party was supposed to be all about his brothers-in-law, but they aren't emotionally present. Randall is thinking about Déjà, who recently came to him and Beth for money for her mother's heat bill. Kevin is too busy battling his drinking problem, ignoring the hotel minibar. Things get even worse when Randall and Beth face off over his Déjà anxiety, and Kevin bumps into his co-star who leads him to believe he's been cut from Ron Howard's movie. Those issues are eventually resolved, and the Pearson men come together to support new brother Toby, proving they're worth powering through the drama.
- On Kate's end, bestie Madison (Caitlin Thompson) forces the ladies to "endure" the live Magic Mike show. When Randall shows up and fights with Beth, Kate gets in the middle, blurting out that Randall has chosen his wife over her. Randall reassures Kate that his love for her as his sister will never change—with a great Sex and the City anecdote—leading Kate to apologize to Beth, and allowing her to grow closer to her sister-in-law.
- Kevin finally takes control of his career angst, calling up Ron Howard himself to express his frustration with being cut from the movie. But when Ron picks up the phone, the director reveals that Kevin isn't actually going to be cut. In fact, it's just the romantic storyline with his female co-star that's been cut, and the plot has been refocused on his father-son relationship with Sylvester Stallone's character. The news makes Kevin smile for the first time in a while—about time!
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- On the Déjà front, things get complicated when Randall and Beth go to check in on her and her mom in the end of the episode. When they arrive at the apartment, however, they learn that all is not well. In fact, Déjà and her mom are living in a car, leaving viewers with an emotional cliff hanger until next week.
It's just like This Is Us to give fans that perfect mix of tears, laughter, and overall satisfaction. After suffering through Jack's death, any episode feels like a walk in the park. And with more of the Randall-Déjà situation to look forward to, it's safe to say Season 2 will close out strong.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC