THIS IS US
“The Right Thing To Do” – S1/E11
AKA: How Many Shoes Will Drop?
Yay! I’m doing such a happy dance ‘cuz This Is Us is finally back! Woo hooOOOoooOooo!
Remember last episode during the Christmas festivities, Toby collapsed and fell to the ground – along with our collective hearts. I’m tellin’ ya – they’d better not kill off Toby or else there will be a great rebellion… Seriously – I’ll be so danged cranky – there’s just no amount of chocolate that will fix it.
I mean on one hand it’s completely plausible since battling to be healthier is a major storyline for Kate and Toby – but on the other hand it’s ridiculously unfathomable in my brain. But I’ve learned that I can’t trust TV drama writers anymore – not since the deaths in Downton Abby – Season 3 – Those deaths damaged and scarred me forever. Stupid Downton Abby… (I actually DO love Downton Abby – just not certain parts of that season…lol).
Okay, on with the show… Let’s start off with the biggest cliffhanger from the last episode…
Did Kate and Toby’s Shoe Drop?
Whew… Toby is alive and crackin’ jokes. All is well with the world… Well… kind of. He has heart arrhythmia and has been advised by his doctor to undergo surgery to fix the hole in his heart. Is this a clever analogy that relates to the hole we ALL have in our heart that we search all our lives to fill/fix? Hmmm…
At first Toby is resistant to the surgery – Among other things, I think it’s because he’s panicked to make such a drastic decision without having the time to think it through. The doctor wants to perform the surgery the following day. Things happen in a hospital so quickly… Your head gets dizzy and moments dissolve into one ginormous blur. You entrust your life into the hands of strangers and you make life-impacting decisions based on their educated and experienced treatment solutions. It’s unnerving.
Kate encourages Toby to really consider doing the surgery. She knows it could save his life. Ultimately, Toby has a change of heart (sorry for all of the gratuitous heart references…lol). Before surgery, Toby declares his love to Kate and that he’s loved her since the first time they met. You get a sense that the hole in Toby’s heart has already been filled with his love for Kate and that the surgery is just to tie it all up into a neat little bow. I think the ribbon is a nice Christmas plaid.
The writers wouldn’t have let Toby live through his collapse only to have him die during surgery, would they? I’m shaking my fists at you, Downton Abby writers! YOU made me so jittery…
The problem is that Kate did NOT tell Toby that she loved him back. As she and her brothers wait for Toby to come out of surgery – Kate relentlessly punishes herself for not telling Toby that she loves him. Yeah, I think we really do need to be more verbal with each other about our feelings. I’m not sure why we’re so reticent in doing so – ‘cuz life can change in a heartbeat. (I know, I know… I should have used a different word than the “heartbeat” reference – but it fits).
While Toby was still “out” from his successful surgery (Yay!) – Kate stands at his bedside and finally tells him that she loves him. She wants to spend the rest of her life with him. The hilarious part was that Toby was only pretending to still be asleep – so he heard every word.
After Kate gets over the fact that Toby was playin’ possum (or is that “opossum”… anyway, I digress)… They end up becoming engaged. I have mixed feelings about this – Remember they had broken up Thanksgiving Eve but then Toby surprised Kate by showing up at her family’s doorstep for Christmas and won her over… But then he collapsed hours later.
The issues from their breakup are still there… And they will surely have to deal with them… But sudden life threatening experiences can really pinpoint focus your life in a way that nothing else can. You see things with a new clarity and I think it defines and realigns your priorities all within the twinkling of an eye.
Another Shoe That Will Inevitably Drop
William (Randall’s biological dad) is struggling with terminal cancer. He doesn’t feel like the chemo is making anything better at this point. William starts spending more and more time away from his new-found family and instead spends time with his boyfriend, Jesse.
Randall is struggling with his dad’s sexuality. He’s also wrestling with the fact William has a boyfriend and he’s seeing less and less of his dad. I think the fact that William happens to be gay surprised Randall and he’s trying to wrap his mind around it. To me – it doesn’t feel like a judgy homophobic thing – but rather yet another revelation about a man of whom he knows very little and whose time on earth is clearly running out.
It turns out that William (and his partner) was trying to find a nursing home William could live out the remaining days of his life. Clearly, William does NOT want to be a burden to Randall’s family. Randall is having none of that and insists that he stay with him – because they’re family. We love Randall, don’t we?
Randall unwaveringly supports William’s choice to stop the chemo. My mom and her doctors had to make that same decision. There is a point when chemo may be prolonging your life – but it’s also sucking the quality right out of it. You have to answer the question of whether or not living another 6 months is worth the hellaciousness of the path… or if living 3 or 4 months with more of a quality of life is the way to go.
Don’t think the choice is easy… ‘Cuz it’s not… No, not ever. When you’re scared you’re going to die any moment – you beg your Creator for just one more day. When you’re gazing into the face of a loved one who is actively struggling with life’s issues – you beg them to hold on for just one more day. When you lose someone you love – you beg anyone within earshot to rewind time to have just one more day. And, 25 years after losing your mom – you still beg for just one more day.
Just one more day.
I’m sure Randall and his family will build as much quality into William’s life as possible. I really love how Randall celebrates holidays and values traditions. The urgency of adding value to each of William’s remaining days will certainly not be lost on Randall. I hope Randall finds what he’s looking for in his relationship with his biological dad… ‘cuz clearly he’s still searching for something.
Kevin’s Shoe Dropped – And He’s Chomping On It
Kevin… Kevin… Kevin… You have so much potential but you really make me crazy. So remember a couple of episodes ago that Olivia (kinda girlfriend and co-star in the play) stomped off and out of the production and Kevin’s life. Fortunately, Sloane was waiting in the wings to step into both roles.
So they’ve been rehearsing really hard – and much to everyone’s surprise it looks like the play is going to work well with Kevin and Sloane in the leading roles. Everyone is happy. And you just know the shoe is gonna drop, right?
Oh goodie… Olivia comes back just in time to really screw things up!
Olivia and Kevin have a big heart-to-heart when he breaks the news to her that she is not welcome back to the production after all. While this saddens Olivia – she also wants to know if her relationship with Kevin has a spark of life.
Sometimes Kevin’s words are surprisingly brilliant. Other times… not so much. This is one of those times.
He tells Olivia that he chooses to be with Sloane because “sometimes you gotta do the right thing even if it’s not what you want.” Rut roh. Every red flag in healthy relationship world is waving violently… It’s horrible enough that this is how he feels about his new girlfriend – but what’s REALLY bad for him is that Sloane overheard his conversation.
I’m glad Sloane heard him say it – but ouchie! But then again, who wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? I think it’s much better that she found out now rather than later. I’m not sure what this means for the play production itself… and Kevin was torn between two lovers and now he really IS a fool.
Or is he? Perhaps neither of these women are good for him in the long run… but what do I know?
Jack and Rebecca
Upon hearing news they’re having triplets – the 2 soon-to-be parents try to solve their inadequate living space issues in dramatically different ways.
Rebecca has lunch with her mother who constantly criticizes her and Jack. You just hate her mom because you can see the severe damage that she’s doing to her daughter. Her mom knows that Jack is not making enough money to support a family of 5 and so offers them the opportunity to come and live with her for a couple of years. Oh joy.
Rebecca knows this living arrangement will be torturous for her but presents it to Jack as a viable opportunity to have some much needed help when the triplets arrive. She puts on a happy face and shoves her own personal pain away in sacrifice for her family.
And then she does what so many of us would do – She asks Jack to go to the store to get her a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream. She’s eating for 4 now, right? Truth be told – I would have asked for the exact same thing – except that I’m not pregnant – but I am still eating for 4…lol.
The moment Jack leaves, Rebecca’s emotions push through and she dissolves into uncontrollable tears as she imagines what her life will be like for the next couple of years living with her parents. She sees no other solution to their situation but she’s willing to make this sacrifice for her family.
Jack forgot something and unexpectedly comes back into the house in time to hear his wife’s sobs. He calls to her from downstairs and she attempts to mask her crying when she answers him. He recognizes that his gut instincts were indeed correct that living with his in-laws would be agonizing for his wife. He gives her the space she needs and leaves.
Jack’s mind is reeling. While on his way to the store, Jack makes an unplanned stop at his abusive dad’s house. In flashbacks, we see how his dad has always told him that he’s good for nothing and will never amount to anything. We hate his dad.
Jack takes off his wedding ring before knocking on his dad’s door. This confuses me until it dawns on me that Jack’s dad has NO idea that Jack is married or that they’re pregnant.
Jack is there to ask his dad for some money. Jack blames his sudden need for money on a non-existent gambling habit. Jack purposefully feeds right into his dad’s prewritten script that Jack’s still good for nothing and that he’s turned into a big, fat failure. Wow… he’s playing right into his dad’s overinflated ego that he’s been right about his son all along and that he’s done nothing but to royally screw up his life.
I think most kids would have jumped at the opportunity to prove their dad’s horrible predictions were completely wrong about them – Jack could have easily told his dad about being a successful construction crew foreman and allowed his dad to meet his lovely wife – but he obviously didn’t. I likely would have wanted to rub my successes in his grotesquely sneering face.
However, I will say that when Mr. Stars came into my life and was here for a visit from the east coast, we attended a retirement party for a coworker of mine. There were a couple of people at the party who were continually horrible to me at work and I flat-out refused to introduce Mr. Stars to either one of them (although I did point them out to Mr. Stars for future reference purposes…lol). At one point, one of them came over to a group of us and was clearly angling for an introduction but I purposefully ignored him and abruptly changed the subject.
I can be very, very petty. It’s not pretty – but my instinct was to not allow someone who had been so yucky to me the opportunity to contaminate something that was so beautiful in my life. I still cringe when I think about it because I am generally not that way at all. They had just done so much to me by that point of time – that I honestly didn’t think they deserved to meet Mr. Stars.
As Jack leaves his dad’s house, he has a check in hand. That Jack is a smart guy, no? He gambled to take a path that was the most likely to secure the money he needed. His sacrifice of his own ego worked.
He quickly puts his wedding ring back on before he even reaches his car.
Jack uses that money and some additional money he got from selling his car to buy the money-pit of a house his construction crew had been working on for the last several weeks. But that house, though completely unfinished at this point will quickly turn into a home. But it came at the cost of great and nuanced sacrifice.
Thanks so much for reading… What did you think of the episode? What direction do you think they’re gonna take? Until next time…
Video of the Week
I gotta admit that ever since I first watched Snoopy and Charlie Brown that I just love Beagles and this video cracks me up. YouTube video posted by Erin Ison entitled, “Asalei Beagles Afternoon Exercise.”