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Spoiler alert! This story contains details of "This Is Us", season 3, episode 6, "Kamsahamnida", which aired on October 30, 2018.
Are the Pearsons? I dare say it? Making progress?
Tuesday's episode of NBC's "This Is Us" was a commercial for today's three brothers, all of whom showed remarkable personal growth at a time when it was very necessary. Kate (Chrissy Metz), now pregnant and learning to help Toby (Chris Sullivan) while fighting depression, becomes more confident in her own decisions. Randall's career (Sterling K. Brown) for the Philadelphia City Council ceases to be an exercise in vanity and begins to be a source for good. And Kevin (Justin Hartley) realizes why he is so obsessed with his father's past.
In general, "Kamsahamnida" (which means "thank you" in Korean) was a harder-than-usual episode of "Us," but it illuminates a new problem with the series that promises to get worse in the future.
Like "Lost" and other programs with lots of flashback, "Us" is beginning to enter the phase where the present is much brighter than the past. Although flashback scenes from the early 1990s show sweet moments between Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Jack and young Randall (Lonnie Chavis), we've already seen many things, even in this timeline.
As annoying as the great mystery of "Jack's death" was, there was something to be said for creating bigger bets in flashbacks and avenues to learn more about the characters we already know so well. From now on, I do not think flashbacks are as boring and wrong as, say, the "Lost" episode about Jack's tattoos, but it will be harder for writers to keep them relevant and vital.
Aside from a brief foray into Jack teaching Randall a box, the episode was fully maintained in 2018.
The family is excited about the "maybe baby" of Kate and Toby, but is worried about Toby, who went back to taking antidepressants but did not get better. Kate has difficulty helping him, either trying to keep him active or letting him rest and overcoming this period on his own. She continues to turn to her mother for help, which shows how much her relationship has improved. But when Kate and Toby's dog, Audio, eat a stone and Kate has to make a big medical decision, Rebecca tells her that she needs to get used to getting attention.
Kate decides how to help Audio, and how to help Toby, after he expresses his fear that she will leave him once he gets tired of taking care of him. She affirms her love for her husband and the commitment she made to marry him, and that, more than anything else, seems to help Toby.
The other wife of Pearson who is really suffering this episode is Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who has not told Randall how much it affected her to be fired. After a poorly made excursion with her daughters to sell Girl Scout cookies ends with Beth shouting at them, Deja (Lyric Ross) helps her adoptive mother understand that she has to trust her husband.
That husband is still, despite the catastrophic campaign attempt last week, directing his campaign. Randall goes to the city to attend a local church, only to be called by his opponent for his strange status once again. (Lives in neighboring New Jersey) But he discovers an opportunity when he takes Kevin to a restaurant in Koreatown. His opponent has never tried to attract voters there and, thanks to Kevin's movie star status, he can register several of them. But one calls Randall to shameless tactics and suggests that he will not represent the interests of the people there if elected.
In response, Randall begins to speak, and for a moment it seems he will be as outrageous as his attempts at inspiration last week were. But instead of being great and explaining how he is the savior they need, he simply offers to listen. It's a big step for Randall, and for his campaign. He wins over the crowd and his critic, who turns out to be a political agent. Now that you have a campaign manager and a constituency that is listening to you, maybe this is not such a silly task.
Before crouching down and taking selfies for Randall, Kevin tells his brother about his search in Jack's past. Randall is also surprised by the photo of the Vietnamese woman, but he believes that they should respect Jack's wishes to keep his time in Vietnam a secret. But Kevin finally convinces his brother to bless his research by comparing it to Randall's own obsessions, including his political campaign. (The brothers are more similar than they admit).
When Randall arrives home, Beth is waiting, more vulnerable than we have seen her before. She talks about his pain and he supports it, although he still tries to solve his problem because he is still Randall. He offers her a job in his campaign, which she accepts, but only after Randall assures her that it is not a "pity offer."
I'm not entirely sure it was not like that, but Randall certainly has a better chance with Beth by his side.
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