‘This Is Us’: The Pearsons’ ‘Waiting Room’ Drama & Kate’s Baby Fate (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 15, of This Is Us, “The Waiting Room”]
After last week’s labor cliffhanger for Kate (Chrissy Metz), fans were offered a very unique episode of This Is Us. If you’re not a fan of the time-jumping sequences that have been a staple of the NBC hit from the beginning, then “The Waiting Room” is your episode, as the story plays out in the present within the confines of a hospital waiting room.
Although fans of Pearson patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) don’t get their weekly dose, there’s no shortage of family drama after last week’s setup. Below, we’re breaking down the highlights of the episode from all of the need-to-know developments to downright memorable exchanges.
In the prior week’s episode fans saw Kevin (Justin Hartley) relapse into drinking, and now he’s facing the music as he sits among his family. As he paces in the waiting room throughout the episode it’s hard to discern his concern for Kate from his withdrawals from the booze. Apart from hassling the staff at the hospital to learn more about Kate’s current status, he also addresses the elephant in the room.
“Guys, I know Toby (Chris Sullivan) told you I was drunk,” he says. “That’s why we took an ambulance to the hospital. I had an intense week, okay? I had a few drinks. I didn’t go back to the pain pills if that’s what you’re wondering. It wasn’t a shining moment, but it’s not out of control.”
“No one here is judging you,” Beth responds. And they continue to wait. Despite his willingness to admit his faults, Kevin continues to snap at people throughout the hour — although 26 plus hours in a hospital would do that to anyone. By the episode’s end he seems subdued, but it’s clear he’s not out of the water… or should we say Vodka because that’s what his water bottle was filled with in the waiting room.
Rebecca (Mandy Moore) seemed to be in a fog throughout the episode, not getting up and nearly fainting when she finally does, but after an explosive exchange between Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin, she reveals the reason behind it. Being in a waiting room reminds her of the night Jack died, and considering Kate’s unknown condition, her worry is at an all-time high, because Rebecca equates a waiting room with death.
She reprimands her sons for their bickering, saying that it’s unacceptable to think of anything but Kate at this time. “I’m sorry, but anything that’s bothering you right now, that doesn’t have to do with Kate or my grandson, it doesn’t belong here,” she says. “It doesn’t matter, and I need you to put it away right now.” The outburst explains her random rambling about details in the waiting room, and gives voice to her internal struggle.
Beth and Randall Battle
This much-loved TV couple continues to worry viewers alike with their current career and relationship turmoil. After Randall’s plea to put her dream on hold, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) isn’t letting it go as she shows her husband the cold shoulder and rightfully so. Randall tries to explain to his wife that he didn’t mean he never wants her to be a dance teacher but in order to pay for childcare she’d need a higher paying job, and she tries to explain how that sounds to her.
After Randall and Beth get on the same page, he thinks he has found a solution when he broaches babysitting with Rebecca and Miguel (Jon Huertas), but they reveal plans to relocate to California. The grandparents want to be close to Kate so they can help her. So, while they’re speaking to each other again, Beth and Randall still have some things to work out, but when Randall tells Rebecca it’s good that she’ll be close to Kate, Beth agrees. “We got this, right?” she says. “Most def.” Randall answers.
So perhaps there’s still hope for a satisfying compromise?
Fans have gotten to know Zoe (Melanie Liburd) more as the season has progressed, and we know that she’s had her own demons in the past — a sexually abusive father. Now, she faces Kevin’s demons with his drinking, and when Beth checks in on her it’s sincere and sweet. But Zoe asks Beth if she’d judge her for staying with Kevin, and Beth shares that she supports her cousin no matter what. Later on in the episode, though, Zoe learns that the road with Kevin will be harder than she probably thought, since she discovers his vodka-filled water bottle. What will she do next? Could Kevin’s demons bring out her own? Time will tell, but for now, she’s chosen to support him.
Welcome Baby Jack
Towards the end of the episode, Toby finally comes out to let the family know what happened after Kate was rushed into surgery. He tells them the baby is hooked up to a breathing machine because he’s too small, but that he’s here. Toby also tells them that Kate did great through it all and says they should be able to see her soon. And while the family begins to pack up their waiting room camp, we’re treated to our first glimpse of the newest Pearson family member. “Oh my god, I already love him so much. This is… this is insane,” Kate says while getting emotional. “Like, I would murder someone for him, Toby.”
When Toby questions if the baby’s chest should be moving so rapidly, she answers calmly, “Yeah, I think he’s just figuring it out.” And in a move we all saw coming, Kate says, “Toby, I’ve been hesitant, but I want to name him Jack.” And if the episode didn’t have you crying up until this point, it certainly did by the time Kate pleads with her dad aloud, “I promised myself I would never talk to you like this, never ask for something like this. But I need you to do something for me,” she says. “And I swear… I swear that I will never ask for anything again. This is Jack, this is your grandson, and I need him to be okay.”
And even with doubt in their eyes, Kate tells Toby that they’re going to be okay, and we really hope they are.
While they may not have been primary players in this episode, Miguel and Madison (Caitlin Thompson) proved that they’re loyal under all circumstances. Miguel’s main shtick throughout the episode included a waiting room game in which players name a food they don’t think can be improved by either chocolate or ranch dressing. Then, Madison came in clutch with some doughnuts, only to be shooed away by Kevin. But she didn’t really leave, as she stayed lingering near the snack machines. She even got a maintenance person to let her into Toby and Kate’s apartment so she could get some things Kate had wanted at the birth.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC