‘This Is Us’: The Pearson Men Try to Be Super


    [Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 2 of This Is Us, “Four Fathers.”]

    This Is Us puts the spotlight on Pearson family fathers in its latest episode, “Four Fathers,” directed by star Jon Huertas.

    While the installment may be set in various points in time, the struggles Jack (Milo Ventimilgia), Kevin (Justin Hartley), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Toby (Chris Sullivan) face are relatable to any dad across the decades. Below, we’re breaking down all of the key plots from the episode, so beware of major spoilers.

    Jack’s Failed Day Out

    In the past, Jack finds himself disappointed when he walks in the door to meet Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and discovers that the young Big 3 — played by Isabella Rose Landau (Kate), Kaz Womack (Kevin), and Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman (Randall) — are tucked into bed for the night. Determined to spend time with them, he plans out a day for them tomorrow which involves visiting the local mall for a movie day where a new cinema has just been built. Rebecca opts out of joining to avoid any crazy sugar highs and tantrums, leaving Jack alone in the venture.

    This Is Us Season 6 Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    The next day, when Jack steps up to the concession counter, Kate asks if he’s going to live at work, but he quickly corrects that he lives with her. The man serving them from behind the counter pipes in that his dad worked a lot too, but points out he’s doing well today. The comment doesn’t do much to comfort Jack. After finally settling into their seats, Jack is overcome by his fatigue and closes his eyes for a few minutes, just long enough to miss Kevin exiting the theater.

    When he does wake, he gathers Kate and Randall and asks if anyone has seen his son. Once he finally catches up with Kevin, Rebecca is already there at the mall’s security office. When he wonders how she was clued in, she folds over the tongue of Kevin’s shoe where their phone number is written.

    Upon returning home together, Jack feels so guilty, but Rebecca reassures him that the kids will be okay and that despite potentially traumatizing memories, it’s usually the good things they’ll remember. Taking this hint to heart, Jack turns the bad day around by renting some movies and setting up an ice cream sundae bar for a movie night in. While all seems right in the world, a phone call turns the good mood around when Jack learns his mother has died. Where that will lead us next week remains to be seen, but there’s no denying it will be a big one for the Pearson patriarch.

    This Is Us Season 6 Chrissy Metz Chris Sullivan

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    Toby Torn Between Home and Work

    The beginning of Toby and Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) story spends time setting up their shifted dynamic of Toby coming and going as Kate plays full-time parent. On one day when he returns home for a three-day stretch, he gives everyone in his kitchen a kiss, including kids Jack and Hailey, wife Kate, and brother-in-law Kevin. Talking about their plans for the evening, Toby and Kate bring up a concert at her school and their plan to enjoy frozen yogurt afterward.

    As the day carries on, Toby announces it is gift time, but his loud voice sparks hushes from Kate who complains that she just put baby Hailey down for a nap. He reveals that he got Jack a beeping football for them to play with and she advises that he waits until Jack takes a nap so he’s not too riled. Although Toby hears Kate, he distracts her by revealing her gifts, which are a new purse and salon gift card.

    While Kate goes out to pamper herself, Toby doesn’t adhere to the nap schedule, causing chaos once the babysitter arrives. As Jack begins throwing a tantrum, Kate complains that Toby should have kept the schedule and he tells her to go to the concert without him. Following the performance, Kate runs into Phillip (Chris Geere), who she vents to about her fight with Toby. He recalls having fights with his former wife and reassures her that the bad thing is when you stop venting to others.

    This Is Us Chris Geere Phillip

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    Upon returning home, Kate is honest with Toby, admitting that it has been really hard at home without him. He apologies for not following her lead with nap time and promises to do better as they figure things out. Looking ahead to the future, Toby shows Kate a smoker online that he’d like to get for the family, which plays a pivotal role in a flash-forward featuring a grown-up baby Jack (Blake Stadnik).

    Kevin’s Juggling Act

    Kevin’s balancing act between living separately and parenting together with Madison (Caitlin Thompson) is something that weighs heavily over the new dad. While Kate is grateful for the extra help at home with her kids, he’s missing his own. Without much time to fret, Kevin heads into rehearsals for The Manny reboot where he has to do a table read speaking to fake babies.

    The scene bums him out because it makes him miss Franny and Nicky, who are at home with Madison. In hopes of distracting himself, Kevin accepts an invitation to a nearby bar where he joins his costars, but remains sober while there. His younger colleague chats him up and makes a move by putting her number in his phone, but before thinking about it too much, Kevin receives a video of Franny walking her first steps, and he exits the gathering to rush to Madison’s.

    This Is Us Season 6 Justin Hartley

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    Kevin is disappointed when he arrives and Franny is asleep, and this leads to a candid conversation between him and Madison. She tells him that they’ll miss out on milestones because they aren’t together, and it’s something he has to cope with. Madison also shares that being the main parent isn’t as fun as Kevin imagines, because despite witnessing Franny’s first steps, she also had to deal with a throw-up situation involving Nicky. Before leaving, Kevin asks Madison to let Franny know he’s proud of her and that he stopped by.

    When he returns back to Kate’s, he finds Toby sitting alone and learns about the failed night out between the couple. The men commiserate over their struggles and Toby advises that Kevin start picturing his family as himself, Franny, and Nicky and considering what’s best for them because having parents who are together isn’t always better. Looking for some solace, Kevin rings up Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison) for a late-night chat. She helps shift his perspective, and we can’t help but wonder if she’ll play a bigger role as Season 6 continues.

    Randall’s Reckoning for Déjà

    This Is Us Season 6 Randall and Deja

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    In Randall’s world, Déjà (Lyric Ross) is still a kid, making their morning driving lesson all the more surreal as Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) sends them off. While driving, she connects her phone to the Bluetooth speaker for music control but doesn’t consider that her texts will be read aloud over the speaker. When a text from Malik (Asante Blackk) comes in, she tries removing her phone from the speaker, but Randall stops her, and discovers the truth about her weekend up to Boston.

    Needless to say, he’s seething when he returns home and discusses the next steps with Beth, who tries to keep cool. While he goes on a run, Beth goes to Déjà and chats with her. When Randall returns, Beth has him take a sip of her wine before saying that they can’t ground the love Déjà has for Malik out of her and that she plans to get their eldest daughter put on birth control.

    Collecting his emotions, he goes to Déjà’s room to chat and admits that he still sees her as the girl who arrived on his doorstep with a small backpack of belongings and nothing else. He asks for her patience as he adjusts to this new phase of her life and tells her there’s no chance she’ll be seeing Malik in Boston again. But she tells him that’s not going to work. How that remark lands with Randall remains to be seen as the moment left viewers hanging.

    Young Jack’s Family Heirloom

    This Is Us Season 6 Jack Lucy

    (Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

    In the far future, Jack cooks a meal on the smoker that Toby mentions in the present timeline. He promises his wife Lucy (Auden Thornton) that he knows what he’s doing despite his impaired vision. The smell of the smoker triggers a memory for him that we later learn was traumatizing. He calls it one hell of a first memory and Lucy wonders why he keeps the smoker since it stands as a symbol for the day his parents’ marriage imploded. Jack tells her it’s because of the delicious food as she mentions the event almost left Jack badly scarred, pointing out a burn mark on his head.

    What could have happened? Viewers will have to wait and see as the final season of This Is Us continues on NBC.

    This Is Us, Season 6, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC

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