Tuesday, October 9, 2018

REVIEW: 'This Is Us' - Kate Remembers Her Father During an Uncertain Medical Procedure in 'Katie Girls'

NBC's This Is Us - Episode 3.03 "Katie Girls"

The Pearsons rally around Kate as she undergoes a medical procedure.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of NBC's This Is Us.

"Katie Girls" was written by Julia Brownell and directed by Rebecca Asher

This hour seems a little all over the place. It's telling a bunch of different little stories that are continuing to build the narrative arcs for many of the characters this season. A collection of small moments though doesn't lead to an hour that feels all that cohesive overall. In fact, there are some big moments here that seem a little shortchanged just because the narrative is trying to tackle a lot. There are three different versions of Jack in this hour. That just seems like one too many. In fact, the show easily could have cut out the Jack-Rebecca origin story in order to allow the other stories more room to breathe. That story is perfectly fine. It shows that it wasn't as easy as the audience was previously led to believe for the two of them to get together. And yet, it was still pretty easy in the end too because they just had the feeling that this would be right. Of course, the audience is also armed with the information of what their life together will actually become. As such, that can feel a little tragic because they are talking about dreams and the desire to fulfill them. The show is telling this story now even though the viewer understands how life will get in the way of many of these goals for the couple. Plus, the story just feels like a waste of solid actors like Jane Kaczmarek and Hunter Parrish. Meanwhile, Kate's story allows Chrissy Metz and Milo Ventimiglia to share some scenes together. And yet, the importance of that fantasy comes from Kate interacting with her younger selves. One is optimistic and the other is cynical about the world. Present-day Kate is older and more realistic but she's just as eager to start her family. It's just odd how brief all of this becomes even though Toby and the audience should fear that she also has to choose to leave this realm and wake up in her hospital bed. That's a tease that never fully comes together. Again, it's because there isn't quite enough time for everything to build in a satisfying and emotional way. Meanwhile, Kevin's latest press stop takes him further onto the journey of Jack's Vietnam past. He already seems to make quick progress in finding answers as well by being able to contact one of the men who served with him. That's meaningful and special. And finally, Randall also seems to be juggling a lot. At first, it seems likely that his drama will prevent Beth from telling him that she has just been fired from her job. Him taking up all of the oxygen in the room is a character flaw of his. It's absolutely delightful that Beth, Toby and Miguel are on a text chain to complain about the various members of the Pearson family. But it's also important to know that this moment is about her as well. This is a pivotal time in her life because it is suddenly unknown what will happen next. This job was her security and she no longer has that. She is able to be there for Randall and give him the push he needs to make things right with Kate. Sure, his reaction is extreme by flying to Los Angeles to be there when she wakes up from surgery. It brings them back together because it's the exact same move that Jack would have made. But Randall's story is leading him into politics because he now sees that as the way to actually get things done in this neighborhood he cares about. However, him declaring his political ambitions absolutely gives me flashbacks to when Kristina ran for mayor on Parenthood which wasn't a good story in the slightest. It's another attempt for this show to remain topical and relevant. It will be fascinating to see how it develops. But it could be annoying if Randall doesn't have to continue dealing with a lot of adversity because he may be too optimistic and privileged to understand the problems of this specific district and the best way to help him. And yet, the show could also position the Pearson way as always being the right way like it has always done in the past. The audience right now just has to go along with it.