Friday, September 29, 2017

'This Is Us' Event Reaction: "A Father's Advice" (2x01) — This Is the Season Premiere

This Is Us premiered last year with an incredible first season, numerous awards, and rave reviews. (If you haven't watched it yet, here is why you should.) The season two premiere was much anticipated all summer, and last night, it finally aired. Let's discuss!

Warning! This post contains major spoilers.

First off, I'm kind of blown away by how many story lines were packed into one episode. After a whole summer without this show and these characters, it was everything I could have asked for.

Let's break it down.

The one and only thing I didn't like about this episode was how many times they faked us out in the beginning. Randall has a baby? Oh, nope, psych, it's the neighbor's baby. Kevin is proposing? Just kidding, guys, he's shooting a movie. I found it a bit frustrating and cheap that they chose to open the show that way.

However, the one thing I absolutely loved was William's voiceover. That was touching and incredible. I didn't expect to see William back again so soon (if at all), and so it was an amazing surprise to see him again. I only hope that this wasn't just a gimmick for the first episode and that they continue to include him in future episodes. They do it with Jack, so I think they can for William too.

The plot line with Randall and adoption was well-done and exemplified both the incredible acting of both Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson. It showed how Randall's adoption still affects him, both in positive and negative ways. I loved William's cameo (another example of how William can still appear), which added some amazing depth to Beth's character as well. I hope we continue to see her character grow. I loved her suggestion of taking in an older child, and I can't wait to see where that goes.

The conflict between Kevin, Kate, and Toby, though a bit awkward, seemed to be a natural progression of events. Of course Kevin and Kate are close. Of course Toby would find that a bit uncomfortable. And of course Kate has agency over herself and her own choices. I appreciated the avenue the writers took with her audition as well. It was a refreshing angle and a good one to take for her character growth.

However, I know you're all probably thinking about a different plot line. The one with Jack and Rebecca.

This Is Us got a reputation for breaking our hearts last season, and this episode followed the pattern (with no hint of stopping anytime soon). My heart shattered when Jack told Rebecca he was drunk. And then I felt my heart get a little bit better when Rebecca begged him to come home. The moment was so happy. I was happy. They were okay.

(Trigger warning for discussion of fire and death in the following paragraphs.)

But then...


I mean... I knew finding out about Jack's death would suck, but I didn't realize just how much. My stomach sank when I saw the Pearson house smoldering. And trust me, it's been a hot topic of discussion (pun not intended) in my house ever since.

For instance, did Jack die in the fire? If so, how did Rebecca have his belongings in her car? Why does Kate feel responsible for his death? Where was Rebecca going? Did she know the house burnt down or did she just find out about it? How did the house fire start in the first place? What is Jack's actual cause of death? The showrunners say that this isn't a fakeout—the fire is directly responsible for Jack's death. (More info on that and the rest of the episode here.) So, what exactly does that mean?) We know a little bit, but there's still so much more to find out.

(End trigger warning.)

The This Is Us premiere left me with a lot of feels and a lot of questions—but isn't that always the case? Though I wasn't a fan of the bait-and-switch opening, the rest of the episode quickly made up for it with its commitment to its characters and a good story (plus all the feels). This Is Us may not be perfect, but, like Rebecca said about Jack, it's pretty damn close.

What did you think about the season premiere? Any theories about how the season will unfold?


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