This Is Us returns this week with an unexpected episode in Storybook Love. This Is Us is always full of surprises, but it’s rarely surprising in the manner that presents in Storybook Love. This week, the writers continue down the lane of intermingling the old characters and the new characters. Mostly, we try to avoid fully summarizing the episode, but there is too much detail to avoid that this week. So, let’s dive right in!
Towards the end of Flip a Coin, we learn that Kevin and Sophie are now married. Storybook Love almost picks up not long after that. First, we see Jack and a pregnant Rebecca preparing dinner in their new house. Jack is doing his best to accommodate Beck in their new surroundings. Fast forward a couple of years, Kate and Rebecca in their new home prepare dinner. The occasion is to celebrate the new marriage of Kevin. Also, Randall is bringing his new girlfriend (Beth), and Rebecca invites Miguel to thank him for helping out.
Kate does not seem to think highly of Miguel spending a lot of time there, but that’s not her biggest concern. Kate’s biggest concern is Kevin getting married so soon. In her defense, from what we know of young Kevin, it does seem a bit rushed. Anyways, Kate heads off to work at the record shop, which she says is boring. Boring must have a new meaning because, in the next scene, Kate is making out with a co-worker.
Back in the present, Tess is at the breakfast table, studying hard for school. She seems to be a bit overwhelmed. So does Randall. He comes in from a ten-mile run, and you can tell Beth is considered by the look on her face. Kate calls Randall to figure out what his gift is, but he’s not telling. Kate also reveals that she is worried about Kevin. As it turns out, Kevin was serious when he bought the trailer because he is now living next to Nicky.
Maybe trying to build a storybook love of his own, Kevin continues to press Nicky for stories about his father, Jack. He asks Nicky what it was like growing up with Jack. Being a smartass, Nicky tells Kevin that Jack liked ice cream. Then, Kevin tells a story of his own. According to Kevin, Jack would cut the ice cream like it was a cake, which is something he loved. Nicky has nothing else to say. The plan for Kevin and Nicky that day is to go to a hockey game where they will honor Cassidy. Kevin still plans on getting her back with her husband. Nicky tells Kevin that he has strange relationships with people.
At work, Randall sits down for a meeting with another city councilman. The councilman explains that Randall missing drinks with other council members is not a good thing. Randall apologizes but gets a call from Tess’ school that she’s had a panic attack. He leaves the frustrated councilman behind, and you can see that Randall’s anxiety is rising as well.
Back in the past, Randall’s anxiety is on display again as he hopes to impress his family with Beth. Also, Randall takes notes of things he needs to fix around the house because Rebecca is alone. Kate, a little peeved, reminds Randall that she is there too. To ease the tension, Beth presents a gift, which is a bottle of hot sauce. It turns out that this is an uncomfortable moment for the Pearsons because Jack loved hot sauce.
Beth explains that her dad also loved hot sauce. He would take it as a gift to make sure he had hot sauce. After her father died, Beth started to bring it as a gift too. Tension still in the air, Kevin finally arrives. Kate still believes it’s weird, but Randall implores her to try and be supportive. When carries Sophie over the doorstep. Now, Kate and Randall agree that it’s weird.
Back in Philadelphia, Randall returns home with Tess. Being that he suffers from panic attacks as well, he tries to sympathize with Tess, but she does not want to talk about it. When Beth gets home, Randall explains to her what the nurse told him. Again, he attempts to relate to Tess. Specifically, Randall says to Tess that he believes she gets her anxiety from him. Tess tells Randall to stop saying that she’s like him. She does not want to be anything like him.
Kevin and Nicky meet Cassidy at the hockey game. Kevin meets Matty’s dad for the first time. Cassidy’s husband also thinks that it’s weird, if not inappropriate, that Kevin and Matty share such a strong bond. No doubt, the relationship with Matty’s dad and Kevin is icy at best. Nicky again reminds Kevin that he has the strangest relationship with people.
Back to the Kevin and Sophie marriage celebration, Beth asks why they decided to get married. Kevin explains why, and he and Beth show everyone the wedding photos. The doorbell rings, and Kate’s makeout buddy from work is there. Mark (Kate’s friend) says he didn’t want her to have to go through the night alone. Kate thinks it’s romantic and creepy. I agree. Mark introduces himself as Kate’s boyfriend, which is a surprise to everyone.
Kevin tries to get along with Matty’s dad at the hockey game, but that is not going well. Meanwhile, Nicky is struggling. People are drinking around him, and he has flashbacks of his Vietnam days. Nicky decides that he needs to leave. Naturally, Kevin is worried about his uncle’s sobriety. Nicky says he does not feel right there, and he declines Kevin’s offer to tag along. He just wants to be alone.
At the married celebration, the family is getting to know Mark. The Big Three get a moment alone in the kitchen, and Kate asks her brothers what they think of Mark. Randall tries to be polite, but Kevin says Mark is too old for Kate. Kate wonders why they don’t like Mark. Kevin says Mark is escargot, which means he doesn’t have to try him to like him. Now, an argument is breaking out.
Kate is still upset that Kevin got married without telling them. On this point, Randall agrees with Kate. Rebecca enters the kitchen, and the argument continues. Beth, Miguel, Sophie, and Mark have no choice but to sit at the table and listen. Kate does not believe that Kevin’s marriage is weird. Kate calls Kevin selfish, but Rebecca has had enough. She explains that it is their first night together as a family in the new house, and she spent weeks getting it ready. “This is where we move forward,” Rebecca says. She tells them to pull themselves together and get their whiny asses back to the table to pretend they like her dinner.
At Jack and Rebecca’s dinner a little further in the past, the lasagna is ruined. At the other dinner, Miguel asks if they can get sick from raw chicken, but everyone continues to eat. Cassidy receives her honor at the hockey game. While Kevin shows his support, Cassidy’s husband is on his phone and not paying attention. He then leaves and tells Kevin to let Cassidy know she can bring Matty home whenever. Next, we go back to the present with Randall, Beth, and Tess.
Tess has been in her room for an hour, and Randall wants to reach out. At the same time, Randall gets a text from work that a councilman is pissed. Beth can see the stress building in Randall and asks if he’s okay. Randall reveals that when he had kids, he couldn’t wait to see what traits he shared with his kids. Having anxiety is the thing Randall likes the least, and he hates that he passed it onto Tess.
Then, William, Randall’s biological father, makes a surprise visit. Through William’s conversation with Beth, we can tell the period of the flashback is right after Randall has his big panic attack in Season One. As Beth explains why Randall has panic attacks, William admits that he had anxiety as well. His mother would help him through it by pouring William a glass of seltzer water. William’s mother told him the inside of his mind was like the bubbles in the seltzer water bouncing around, trying to get out. They’d watch until both the bubbles and William settled. William hates that anxiety is the one thing he passed down to Randall.
Back at the marriage celebration, Rebecca asks Miguel if she’s trying too hard. Also, Beck wonders if the family is unfixable, and the loss of Jack is too significant. Miguel then gives Rebecca a lesson in wine. In short, Miguel tells Rebecca that, like wine, they have to be patient. The Pearsons have to believe that a better year is coming. It always does.
As Kevin drives Cassidy home, Cassidy doesn’t believe there is much to save with her marriage. She doesn’t even think that her husband likes her. The scene is short as the show jumps quickly back top Beth, Tess, and Randall. Beth tells Randall and Tess separately that she needs to see them. When they all meet up in the kitchen, Beth tells Tess and Randall that she knows they do not like that they have anxiety common. Beth says she knows it’s scary, but it makes her three favorite people in the world who they are.
Here, Beth reveals to Tess and Randall that William had anxiety as well. Beth says there is a fine line between caring and worrying, which can sometimes get blurred. She tells Tess that Randall passed down other great traits along with the anxiety, and Tess will have to learn to navigate through them. Whatever the issue is, Beth says they will get it under control. She then pours some seltzer water and tells them to wait for the water to settle. Tess reveals that she believes she missed an opportunity to come out. Now, she thinks that it will be a thing. Randall lets her know that it’s a lot, but they can figure it out.
At the marriage celebration, Rebecca tells the story of her and Jack’s first dinner in their new house. Jack, terrified of birds, tries to protect Beck from the bird and knocks over the lasagna. She realizes it became a perfect night after accepting things for what they were. Rebecca tells the family that they need to be able to remember Jack and not be sad. Also, it’s all she wants from her children. Rebecca admits the meal was awful and orders pizza.
When Kevin drops off Cassidy, he confronts her husband about his lack of interest at the hockey game. Cassidy’s husband tells Kevin why he fell in love with Cassie and how the ceremony honors what broke his wife. Then, the husband tells Kevin to say the hell away from his wife. Kevin then tells Cassidy that her husband still likes her. He then goes to check on Nicky.
Nicky, in his trailer, tells Kevin a story of his own. The ice cream treat that Kevin loves from Jack starts with Jack’s father. Nicky and Jack’s father would give them a slice of ice cream sized on how good they were that day. He then asks Kevin how good he was that day? Because he annoyed his uncle, Kevin says he was pretty good and gets a pretty good slice. Nicky, who avoided having a drink, gets a really good slice.
As the episode ends, Rebecca plays a song for Kevin and Sophie from Princess Bride as their wedding gift. That song then permeates throughout the rest of the episode. Beth finds a therapist for both Tess and Randall. Randall thinks it’s good for Tess, but he says he’s okay. Beth tries to change his mind, but he is adamant.
Kate, whose gift from Randall was the piano that Rebecca plays on, finds photos from the marriage celebration night. One of the pictures is of her and Mark. Kate and Rebecca look unsettled by this. As the episode ends, Rebecca says to Kate, “I was trying so hard to hold it together that year after your father died, and I wanted to believe so badly that you kids were happy, I didn’t see what was happening.” “I didn’t see it either,” Kate says. End scene.
Okay, you still here with me? My apologies for the long-winded explanation. To understand Storybook Love, though, you have to understand every detail. Storybook Love is one of the most involved episodes I’ve seen from This Is Us. At times, it can move a little too fast, but it’s still a great episode. There is so much we could discuss about this episode, but we will limit it to the top three things.
Firstly, we’ll start with the biggest, which is the end of the episode. Just what are Kate and Rebecca discussing? As far as I can tell, Kate and Mark have a mutual attraction. However, there is still something about the relationship that causes Rebecca and Kate to reflect on it in sadness. It does not seem to fit the title of Storybook Love. I’m sure we will find out what happened, but can we wait that long?
Secondly, things with Kevin and Cassidy seem to be heating up. Now, I know Cassidy’s husband is marking his territory but is that a fruitless effort? Initially, I thought that Kevin’s kid from the Season Three finale was Matty, but it’s not. Still, we do know Kevin has a kid in the future. Do Kevin and Cassidy end up together? I hope so!
Lastly, there is Randall. Beth just wants to help Randall, but he is stubborn. Randall is crashing. We know Beth and Randall are together in the end but are things about to get tough for them again? I guess we will find out in next week’s episode, The Trails We Face. I cannot wait!