'This Is Us': Growing Pains Abound for the Pearsons in 'The Pool: Part 2' (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 2, of This Is Us, "The Pool: Part 2"]
This Is Us continues to pile on the emotional moments heading into Week 2 of its current fourth season.
Returning to the timelines viewers have come to know over the years, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) try to get their kids to participate during an outing at the pool visited in Season 1. Meanwhile, in the present timeline, baby Jack's diagnosis is front and center as the Pearsons try to understand what raising a blind child is like.
And back in Philly, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) own Pearson Family Fun Day doesn't go as planned. Below, we're breaking down all of the major moments from the episode, but beware of spoilers ahead.
The summer is coming to an end for Rebecca, Jack and the Big 3 and in an effort to salvage the passing time, the parents announce plans for a Pearson family fun day. Much to their dismay, the kids don't want anything to do with them citing various reasons to not go, but mom and dad put their foot down on the matter.
Once they arrive and begin to settle in the kids go off in separate directions, altogether ignoring the fact that Jack managed to pull together five chairs. Kevin (Parker Bates) and Randall (Lonnie Chavis) go off with a couple of friends while Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) takes off with two "popular girls." Rebecca's responding look of devastation echos many parents own realization that they're kids are growing up.
The actor returned as Uncle Nicky in the season premiere episode.
Things go from upsetting to downright bad when Kevin allows Randall to be embarrassed when he doesn't know the lyrics to a song he and their friends are listening to. Meanwhile, Rebecca worries about Kate's companions being mean and asks her daughter if the girls ever talked to her before.
Eventually these plots play out with Randall and Kevin getting heated but eventually settled, and Kate is tricked into thinking a boy she likes was going to meet her behind one of the huts around the pool. She rolls with the punches though when a different boy shows up, giving him a quick kiss. Ultimately, the Pearsons end up united in their row of five chairs, although grown, not so much has changed when it comes to the obvious love between them.
Now that Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Kate (Chrissy Metz) know about Jack's blindness, they're in planning mode, to learn as much as they can about raising a child lacking that sense. Toby worries aloud about how Kate is handling the news about Jack's predicament, but she reassures him she's fine.
With the help of Rebecca, Miguel (Jon Huertas), Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), the group welcomes an expert into the home to learn more. Going through different rooms they're instructed to take notes about any obstacles that would influence Jack's movement. Rebecca asks Toby about how Kate is holding up and he reveals that she's been overeating. There are a lot of rules and suggestions made about the home and baby Jack, but when it comes time to reconvene and mention of watching the Steelers on their new TV hits Kate, she loses it and excuses herself for a quick crying session.
Moore talks playing aging Pearson matriarch Rebecca, doing more music on the show, and nabbing her first Emmy nomination.
During her time away from the crowd, she shares a cute scene with Kevin who is trying to hold Jack but is weary because the baby keeps crying. She reassures her brother that the baby just needs to be warned that he's going to pick him up. The exchange gives Kate the strength she needs to go out to the rest of her guests and share that she will do anything in her power to make sure Jack has the best possible life — one without limits, and it's likely to leave anyone watching in tears.
Later on, once everyone has left, Toby excuses himself for to make a grocery run, but Kate says he doesn't need to. When he insists, we learn that it's an excuse to go to the gym, showing that Toby's coping with Jack's diagnosis in a very different way than Kate.
We discover that Kevin's is currently wrapping a film with director M. Night Shyamalan who commends the sober star in a sweet exchange. But cut loose following production, Kevin laments to a support group that he's conflicted about his next move, of whether he should pick up another project or stay nearby Kate to support her adjustment to baby Jack's diagnosis. We also learn he's been caring for a ficus plant as a means of maintaining his sobriety.
After his time spent at Kate's and his family's suggestion that he go back to work, we're surprised to learn that he opted out of the job for a trip back east. There, he arrives at Nicky's (Griffin Dunne) door with his ficus in hand. Perhaps it will be a group effort for their sobriety?
Beth and Randall attempt a Pearson family fun day of their own but the Deja (Lyric Ross) and Tess (Eris Baker) have tasks they want to accomplish before celebrating. Beth notes that the girls have been very difficult lately, mirroring the Big 3 in the episode's past timeline. So the couple agrees to divide and conquer with Randall bringing Deja to check out the public bus — which she wants to use as transportation for when school starts upon his permission. Beth opts for bringing Tess to get her hair done at the salon, despite her daughter's stand-offish behavior.
During their bus ride, Randall allows Deja her space, but when a man sits next to her an proceeds to talk at her, Randall intervenes. The moment leads him to initially deny Deja from riding the bus to school, but when he and Beth join their two groups of kids the parents play a round of worst case scenario, letting the girls in on their secret game.
Gear up for another emotional roller coaster ahead of the September 24 premiere.
In the end, Randall agrees to let Deja ride the bus with the condition that she'll text him when she arrives at school. Salvaging the otherwise stressful day, the family scales the iconic Rocky stairs together. Later on, we see in a flashback the reason Deja was so keen to take the bus, when we see her snap a picture of Malik (Asante Blackk) at the garage where he works from the moving window. It's clear the show is setting up something for these two young characters, hopefully next week's installment offers fans even more to digest.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC