‘This Is Us’ Midseason Premiere: Kevin Looks for Love, Kate & Toby’s Tension Erupts (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 10 of This Is Us, “Light and Shadows.”]
A lot has happened since This Is Us went off the air in 2019, but barely anytime has passed for the Pearsons in Tuesday’s midseason premiere episode “Light and Shadows.”
Still grappling with Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) devolving memory, noting the tension between Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan), and Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) goal to settle down by 40, This Is Us stays the course while sprinkling in a few surprises here and there.
Below, we’re breaking down the episode’s key moments, but beware of major spoilers ahead.
The Truth About Toby
Toby and Kate arrive home after Thanksgiving at Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown), and it’s clear she’s annoyed about something, so he prods, asking his wife what has her shooting daggers in his direction. Kate tells him to ask “Lady Kryptonite” — the person who texted Toby in the fall finale — to tell him why she’s upset. At first Toby’s angry, thinking that Kate went through his phone, but she tells him it was an honest coincidence she saw the message, so he reassures her that he sometimes needs to vent in the group Crossfit group chat, but that it’s a chain that includes males and females.
In an effort to bridge the gap, Kate plans a surprise birthday party for Toby with the help of Kevin and friend Madison (Caitlin Thompson), who bad mouth the woman who messaged Toby. Kate reassures them that “Lady Kryptonite” — who we learn is named Kara — is no threat. At the house before Toby’s arrival, Kate introduces herself to the Crossfit friends —Kara’s not among them — but she learns that her husband stopped going to Crossfit a couple weeks ago, according to one attendee.
Before you start thinking Toby’s cheating, rest assured, he’s not. When Kate confronts him, he admits that Kara revealed she had feelings for him and that’s one of the reasons he stopped going. But Toby tells her the real reason he avoids home so much is because seeing his son makes him sad — knowing he won’t have an easy life or enjoy things the way Toby does. As sad as it makes Kate, things take a promising turn when Kate notices baby Jack reaching for a string of pineapple lights (from the tropically-themed party). She calls Toby into the kitchen and they celebrate over the positive development in Jack’s sight.
Kevin Hires a Matchmaker
Determined to find Mrs. Right, Kevin seeks out professional help to find his soulmate, and of course things don’t go as planned. He meets a few women over coffee, but none of them are the right fit, some are racist, others are on a different level intelligence-wise, but fate steps in on Kevin during a chance meeting with a woman named Lizzie (Sophia Bush). Their connection is immediate and they sit to chat.
During their conversation, Kevin learns she’s not from the area and offers to give her the grand tour of Los Angeles. When she agrees to follow his lead, Kevin pulls out all the stops, bringing her to the Hollywood Bowl for a special performance from her favorite artists — which she told Kevin about in the coffee shop — John Legend.
When the outing results in a kiss, she backs away and claims she can’t do it, confused, Kevin wonders why and Lizzie tells him she’s married. According to her, Kevin’s her “hall pass” which is a freebie fling her spouse would allow. Needless to say, that situation dissolves quickly, and Kevin laments his gullible ways while on set for reshoots on his M. Night Shyamalan movie. Just as he says he should give up on chasing an epic romance, Kevin’s phone buzzes with Sophie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) name — could that be a sign from the universe? We suspect so.
After a concerning fall finale, the quest to uncover what’s going on with the Pearson matriarch is explored as Randall heads out to Los Angeles to assist his mother. With it being the holidays, finding an appointment with a specialist is difficult, but he manages to snag one near Rebecca in California. When Miguel (Jon Huertas) discovers Randall is tagging along, he sounds surprised, but Randall is adamant that he be there.
Coming in and out of time, Rebecca assure the boys she’ll be fine but maintains that she doesn’t want Kate or Kevin to know about the tests she’s having. Randall takes charge at the appointment and asks if they will have same-day results, and the doctor confirms they will if he’s willing to wait. In the downtime while Rebecca’s completing tests with the neurologist, Miguel gets angry at Randall for inserting himself in the situation, assuring Rebecca’s son that they’re just getting older.
While waiting, they have lunch together, and Rebecca recalls at time when she used to rock Randall as a baby, reminiscing on a good time before the call comes in. Later on, when the doctor shares the results, it’s clear that something is wrong and the doctor tells her she has something they call Mild Cognitive Impairment. Essentially she’s going to lose her memory over time, but they have to wait it out until it can officially be diagnosed. Miguel ends up apologizing to Randall for not realizing the signs himself and promises to take care of Rebecca.
Jack Pulls Back
In the past timeline with pre-kids Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca, the storyline following his golf trip with her father (Tim Matheson) devolves quickly as she asks Jack what happened between the two men. He brushes it off and says he may have had too much to drink, but promises everything is fine, before getting out of the car at his apartment, where his landlord accosts him for overdue rent on the lawn.
The tension only continues as Rebecca had reminded Jack about her father’s upcoming birthday that weekend. Later, the pair go on a date where he informs her he thinks they should take a break, and Rebecca feels completely blindsided. He plays it off and says they come from worlds that are too different, claiming he cares when she tries to brush that reason off. Jack proceeds to leave Rebecca at the table, and she’s clearly heartbroken.
Showing up at her parents’ house, Rebecca’s mother (Elizabeth Perkins) was surprised to learn about Jack breaking it off with her. Later as the party winds down, Rebecca and her mom chat about her relationship. Essentially her mom confesses that her father told Jack he wasn’t good enough and comes to the conclusion that if Rebecca is going to pursue Jack and a harder lifestyle, it better be a worthwhile love, and of course it is. The past storyline ends with Rebecca finding Jack at the garage he’s working in and tells him she loves him and it ends with a kiss.
Based on the back-and-forth nature of these scenes, it’s implied that a foggy present-day Rebecca is reliving the moments in her memory.
Finally, in the last few moments as Randall arrives home from Los Angeles, he heads up to see his daughters sleeping in bed before checking in on Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). When she greets him, he says he’s going to do something and then go to bed. Following him downstairs, Randall is suddenly face-to-face with a knife-wielding intruder. And no, we don’t have a good feeling about this. Tune in next week to see how the action unfolds and check back here for another recap on the latest with NBC’s Pearsons.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC