‘This Is Us’: Wedding Plans Past and Present in ‘Both Things Can Be True’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 12 of This Is Us, “Both Things Can Be True.”]
As always, the past reflects the present in NBC’s hit drama This Is Us. And in the April 6 episode, “Both Things Can Be True,” wedding-related plans weave together storylines that take us back and forth.
While Kevin (Justin Hartley) gears up for his nuptials with Madison (Caitlin Thompson) amid a pandemic, Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) past storyline sees him looking to bestie Miguel (Jon Huertas) for help putting his own proposal plan together. Mix in quite a few guest stars, and you’ve got one memorable episode. Below, we break down the Pearson family drama.
Kevin & Madison’s Rush to the Altar
The episode opens with the image of newsstands holding a tabloid magazine with a photo of the large engagement ring on Madison’s finger. But pesky paparazzi aside, the publicity is opening all kinds of doors as one of Kevin’s reps informs the pair that their number one wedding venue is now available following the tabloid coverage. It seems like all decisions are being made at a breakneck pace, from outfits to Best Man.
But while Madison’s decision to choose Kate (Chrissy Metz) as her Maid of Honor is easy, Kevin’s plan to ask Randall (Sterling K. Brown) to be his Best Man is more complicated considering their fragile bonding after a months-long rift.
While Madison heads out for some time at the local park, Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne), who’s settling in for an extended visit, offers a helping hand to Kevin. Now back in L.A. with Rebecca (Mandy Moore), not seen in the episode, the newly vaccinated Miguel joins the men at Kevin’s house to help organize. As Kevin prepares to draft an email to Randall, Miguel and Nicky dive into rehearsal dinner menu planning.
Feeling sour towards Miguel, Nicky steps over the line when they get in a tiff over the rehearsal dinner speech. Nicky doesn’t think Miguel should be allowed to talk, claiming that Miguel stole Jack’s wife and replaced him as a brother figure. This understandably upsets Miguel, who tells Nicky he doesn’t owe him an explanation, but that he never swooped in on Rebecca as the pair got together 13 years after Jack’s death.
Later that night, after Miguel had left, Nicky calls him to apologize. Miguel accepts and as a peace offering asks Nicky to do the toast together at the rehearsal dinner, and shares that he never replaced Nicky as a friend in Jack’s eyes.
As for Madison, she and the still-unemployed Toby (Chris Sullivan) get some things off their chests during a candid chat at the park. While Toby loves his kids, the dad admits that he misses work and having fewer hours with his family. Madison shares that she wants to get married at a smaller venue than what they’re now planning. Promising each other “What’s said at the playground, stays at the playground,” Toby and Madison choose to address their feelings in different ways.
We’ll get to Toby later, but Madison doesn’t waste any time talking to Kevin, telling him that when she and her family took a trip to Japan it was one of the happiest times of her life. Because of that, she wants to wed at a local garden that reminds her of one she visited in Japan. Her honesty pays off as Kevin easily agrees.
What’s not as easy is dealing with Randall. He calls him about being Best Man — he’s good with it! — but when Kevin tries to bring up more intimate topics, Randall says he had a particularly rough time at group therapy (detailed below) and is talked out. The pair plan to get together in Philly so they can talk face to face instead.
In the meantime, some interesting women are spotting that tabloid photo of the engagement news — Kevin’ exes, Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), Zoe (Melanie Liburd), and Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison). They’re smiling at the news, but could their reemergence suggest some reunions and, just maybe, some trouble?
Randall & Beth Face New Hurdles
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) begins the episode stressing about meeting Tess’s (Eris Baker) significant other Alex (Presley Alexander), who goes by the pronouns they/them. Mom Carol (Phylicia Rashad) offers to help Beth, but is brushed off. As for Randall, he attends the aforementioned group therapy for the first time at a nearby park, hearing the stories of fellow people of color who were adopted by white families. It’s a lot to take in and he finds himself preferring to listen rather than share in this particular setting.
Back at the house, Beth meets Alex and does her best to be a good host, but Tess whisks Alex away upstairs. Sitting with Carol, Beth tries to calm down, but when Déjà (Lyric Ross) comes downstairs and mentions Tess’s door is shut, Beth decides to investigate.
When she opens the door, Tess and Alex break away from each other just seconds away from kissing, causing a major scene. Tess freaks out and is rude to her mom, leading Beth to reprimand her as she asks Alex to leave. Tess accuses Beth of being judgemental, saying “I saw how you looked at us.” Beth then hashes it out with Carol, admitting that despite her initial acceptance of Tess’s coming out, she’s having a hard time letting go of the dreams she had for her daughter.
Carol tells Beth that she needs to adjust quickly if she wants to maintain her relationship with her daughter, and so she goes back upstairs for a talk. Beth reassures Tess that she loves her and thinks she’s perfect the way she is.
Kate Returns to Work
Kate begins working at the music school for blind children that baby Jack sometimes attends, as Toby tackles the stay-at-home dad beat. Though she shows up on time, Kate’s new colleague Phillip (guest star Chris Geere) isn’t impressed, mentioning that he shows up an hour early for set-up. Throughout the day, Kate finds herself distracted by her phone, waiting on word from Toby about the state of her babies without her.
Phillip is not pleased, and he tells her that she wasn’t his first choice for the position, implying that if she doesn’t prove herself soon, the arrangement won’t work. Of course, Kate manages to impress when she encourages a young singer to break out of her shell while performing a Broadway tune.
When she gets home and shares her triumph, it discourages Toby from speaking up about the concerns he aired at the park with Madison, which could be problematic considering he struggles with depression. Will his decision to bottle up his feelings backfire?
Miguel Helps With Jack’s Proposal
In a past timeline, Miguel and Jack, readying for Jack’s proposal, are in Rebecca’s apartment while she’s out, recreating their first carnival date. Jack reveals that he still hasn’t heard from Rebecca’s dad about his possible blessing of their union, but that’s not stopping him. The plan hits a bump in the road when Jack practices his proposal with the ring on Miguel, and the jewelry gets stuck on his finger. Making matters worse, Rebecca’s father Dave (Tim Matheson) shows up at the apartment, apologizing for his delayed answer.
He gives a half-assed blessing, saying he’ll tolerate it because Rebecca’s gonna do what Rebecca’s gonna do. Miguel is not cool with this. He sings Jack’s praises, telling Dave that he should be proud to see his daughter marry the hard-working man. The remarks seem to soften Dave, who helps the men remove the stuck ring on Miguel’s finger. The irony is thick, people, given that a similar ring will eventually make its way to Miguel’s finger for real.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC