You know how some people have an album they can put on whenever they need a good cry? The album just somehow digs deep inside of you and the tears just start flowing? The television equivalent for me is “This Is Us,” and I know I’m not alone. Whenever I talk about this show with other people — and by other people, I mostly mean my mom — we all agree it’s a guaranteed cry by the end of the episode. Well, the Pearsons are back for season two and it looks like nothing has changed. I thought I was going to make it through the episode with just tears welled up, but by the end of it, I was crying into my duvet cover, just like last season.
Season two is diving right into the storylines they laid out for us last season: Randall wants to adopt a child to honor his own childhood, Kate is going to follow in her mom’s footsteps and pursue a singing career and Kevin is in LA shooting a feature film (Oh hey, Ron Howard) and making the long distance relationship work with his ex-wife/new girlfriend. But all three members of the Big Three are realizing that it’s not going to be so easy.
Last week, Sterling K. Brown took home an Emmy for his performance as Randall and his performance this week served to remind us all why he deserved it. He stole every scene last season and, if this premiere is any indication, that’s not going to change this time around either. The chemistry between him and his TV wife, Beth (played by Susan Kelechi Watson), was pushed to another level as she was struggling with the idea of adopting a new baby. In one of the most touching scenes of the episode, she brings Randall to his biological father’s favorite place, and tells him that if they’re going to do it, they should adopt an older child who “no one else in the world is going to help.” I really love how they keep William’s presence alive on the show, and not just through the flashbacks. Sprinkled throughout the premiere, we heard him reciting poems from the book he wrote for Randall, creating the perfect soundtrack to the episode.
The premiere also brought us right back into the conflict between Jack and Rebecca — a bittersweet return to the big fight we saw play out last season. Layers continue to be added onto their “perfect” marriage, making it one of the most genuine and realistic depictions of a relationship. With Jack staying with his friend Miguel, Rebecca shows up one night to make a grand gesture — one similar to Jack’s many gestures last season — asking him to come home. It’s then that he reveals he’s been hiding his drinking from her for years and he needs to get better before he can come home. But just when we thought the scene was over, she’s knocking on the door again and telling him to come home so they can get better together.
The biggest reveal of this episode was a giant clue to the mystery of Jack’s death, something we’ve been dying to know about since last season. In a devastating last scene, we see Rebecca driving down the road with a bag of her husband’s things to pull up in front of their home, which has been burned down. Now, we still don’t know exactly how that’s related to Jack’s death, but actress Mandy Moore told us in a recent interview that it’s “a piece of the puzzle.” I’m sure we’re going to be given more pieces of the puzzle this season and, judging by the premiere, it’s going to be just as beautiful and heartbreaking as the last.