‘This Is Us’: The Big 3 Face Relationship Tests in ‘Don’t Take My Sunshine Away’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 16, of This Is Us, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away”]
Things pick up where they left off in last week’s episode of NBC’s fan-favorite drama This Is Us as Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) continue their hospital stay. Parting ways with East Coasters Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), who are about to dive into their own schedule drama, the Big 3 officially enter their own separate lives once again.
Below, we’re breaking down all of their stories from the emotional episode that [Spoiler] ended on a not-so-comforting note. So beware of a bumpy road ahead; the writers are taking us on a wild ride.
Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe (Melanie Liburd)’s storyline begins with couples therapy as they attempt to tackle his sobriety. She shares her concerns with the therapist, but as he pleads for her trust he mentions that he can picture a life with her, including kids. That’s when Zoe goes silent – it’s clear that she’s not on the same page with him.
When they get home, she sits down with him and tells him kids aren’t part of her plan, that she enjoys her life the way it is, not being tied down. And at first he agrees that no kids is fine with him, but she asks him to think about it because she’d rather not waste each other’s time.
As Kevin continues to attend AA meetings, he finds himself walking home in the rain when he notices the street he’s on – it’s his ex-wife Sophie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge). Instead of carrying on, he takes a pause, and it’s not long before she bumps into him on the sidewalk. Despite her anger over their last exchange, she does admit she worries about if he’s okay.
He invites her to grab a coffee, and she admits she’s engaged, but he’s open about his own situation. After telling Sophie his predicament of kids and no Zoe, or Zoe and no kids, she tells him he’s never had to make decisions, so this task is up to him, not anyone else. Ultimately, he decides Zoe’s worth the fight, and he tells her kids aren’t a condition for him, and that he wants to be with her.
Of course, people can always change their minds, but for now, it seems like this pair are on track.
Randall & Beth’s Tension Comes to a Head
After thinking they’ve found their new normal, Beth and Randall’s tension over their jobs and marriage comes to a head by the episode’s end, but how does it happen? Well, the episode begins with Randall’s daily routine of commuting to Philadelphia, and he’s running late on his way home to relieve Beth to go teach her dance class. They have a quick conversation as she tells him about food on the stove and the girls needing help with homework. Then she reminds him of a dance recital the next night. “7:30 sharp,” she tells him before running out the door.
Cut to the next night, and Randall is nowhere to be seen as the curtain is about to go up, but just as the lights dim, he sneaks in. Beth is thankful, but wishes he heard the kind words that her boss said about her prior to the performance. Meanwhile, Randall tells her about a dinner the City Council President is having the next night in Philadelphia, and how he wants her to attend despite the late hour. He makes a case that the dinner is really important, and at first she says she can’t because of class, but ultimately she agrees. But that day of the dinner Beth calls and says she has an opportunity at her work to get to know her colleagues better, but Randall guilts her by saying he already told them she’s coming.
While sitting out front of the house where the City Council President lives, Randall anxiously dials Beth repeatedly without answer, and it leads him to leave a nasty voicemail. He goes into dinner thinking Beth will be a no show, but when she arrives at the door a while later, she explains that her phone died and she was caught in a ton of traffic. Randall thinks he’s in the clear when Beth’s phone is dead, but when they exit the house she lets him have it, saying that she did all of this for him, and gave up her opportunity only to receive a guilt-ridden message.
She tells him to sleep at the office, but he shows up at home and says he wants to air things out… “Fine, you wanna do this right now? Let’s do this,” Beth says. And we’re not looking forward to what’s sure to be an explosive fight, which won’t make it to air before next week…
Kate & Toby’s Different Approaches
Back at the hospital, Kate and Toby continue to sit by little Jack’s side as he remains on breathing tubes and attached to other wires. But when one of the doctors comes to perform routine procedures to extract blood and urine, it’s a little too much for Toby, who worries about his tiny son.
Taking a breather in the waiting room, Toby meets Gavin, played by guest star Eddie Kaye Thomas (Scorpion, American Pie). There, the fathers commiserate over the stress and concern of parenthood, and Gavin imparts some wisdom on Toby when he says that there’s always someone worse off. Toby confesses that Kate’s doing better with it than him, and Gavin says mothers always are, but Toby doesn’t feel much better.
After gaining some perspective, Toby returns to the room and apologizes to Kate, and at first she says there’s nothing to apologize for, but he assures her that there is. And despite the worries he has about Jack’s delicate condition as a premature baby, Kate assures him that he’s their boy, and she has faith that he’ll be okay before she leaves him alone with the baby to take a shower.
Jack’s First Dance
In the past, during the Big 3’s first school dance, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) serve as chaperones, and while the kids deal with their own situations – Kevin (Parker Bates) vandalizes a school office and Randall (Lonnie Chavez) worries about studying for a big test – we learn Jack never went to one of his own school dances. Throughout the characters’ evening at the school, viewers are treated to sweet moments between Jack and Rebecca as they talk about what could have been in their youth. In an effort to make up for his loss, Rebecca requests an old song and dance from Jack for a truly sweet storyline.
What will happen next? Viewers will have to tune in as Season 3 goes full steam ahead towards the April 2 finale.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC