Have you forgotten the smaller moments of This Is Us? Let’s rewind to Season 1, Episode 9 and recap five things you might have missed.
In the aftermath of the Pearson family’s explosive Thanksgiving spectacular, the Big Three head to the family cabin for a weekend of nostalgia and coming to grips with their present. Vacations are supposed to be a well-earned break from reality, but on This Is Us, vacations come with a side of personal reckoning. Why not?
As Randall grapples with Rebecca’s lifelong lie, he goes through the motions of unpacking all of its implications. In the past, Randall searches for answers about his identity, and in the present, he faces the looming questions about his adoptive parents. And there may or may not be a hallucinogenic mushroom-fueled vision of a certain patriarch. Meanwhile, Kevin faces the facts about his relationship with Olivia, and Kate confronts her demons and upcoming decisions. “The Trip” marks This Is Us’ first foray into bottle episodes, removing the characters from the world of the series and buckling down on one central theme. It might be one of the most impactful episodes of the first season, and it definitely brings the tears.
Do you remember Randall’s life-changing hallucination? How about Kevin and Kate’s separate but similar personal epiphanies? And you surely haven’t forgotten that episode-ending moment in the dojo between father and son? Let’s rewind and revisit five things you might have missed in Season 1, Episode 9.
1. Randall’s still reeling.
Naturally, Randall hasn’t arrived at any semblance of forgiveness or understanding about Rebecca’s secret. His adoptive mother kept his birth father’s identity a mystery for 36 years — that’ll do more than sting. As the Big Three head to the for-sale family cabin to clean out their belongings, Randall’s all but despondent. Until he drinks a smoothie in the fridge…
2. Jack and Randall disagree on looking for Randall’s parents.
Back when Randall was eight, he would run up to strangers in the grocery store and ask them if they could roll their tongues. He was crafting his own private investigative work. Randall’s curiosity sparks an interest (a guilt?) in Jack to want to find his parents. Because it’s instinctual to give Randall the camaraderie he craves, he sees no other option.
But Rebecca, holding onto the truth, won’t budge. She doesn’t want to lose their son. It’s an understandable reaction. Still, she visits William once more to provide an update on Randall. But when William, who has cleaned himself up, expresses a passionate desire to be in Randall’s life, she balks. What a treacherous situation she tangled herself in.
3. Kate clashes with Olivia.
Fresh off of her breakup with Toby, Kate hits the woods to clear her mind and figure out what her next move will be. However, in such close quarters with her brothers, she snaps back into protective sister mode and confronts Kevin’s basically unwelcome houseguest Olivia. Kate defends Kevin’s sincerity, knowing that “spiritual guru, hardcore bitch” (Kate’s words) will eat him alive. But Olivia reads Kate right back and tousles around her already tender fears.
4. Kevin stands up for himself.
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. He’s always a couple steps behind where he ought to be, as he tends to see the best in people before anything else. Even though he wants to be able to hang with Olivia’s mindframe of experiencing authenticity that actually screams fabrication, he’s too earnest (as Kate says) to not see through her act. Finally, Kevin barks back at Olivia’s facade and stands up for himself. And he ends up sleeping with Sloane, the play’s writer. So, that should be fine.
5. Randall hallucinates Jack.
Because Oliva brings along her ex-boyfriend, who rocks a manbun and comes bearing a spiked smoothie, Randall’s reeling takes flight. He accidentally chugs half of the smoothie, which should have been portioned out for the entire weekend due to its potency. While making repairs outside, Randall hallucinates Jack, and their conversation helps Randall find empathy for Rebecca.
Although he doesn’t fully forgive his mother quite yet (that final scene still hurts), he recognizes that she fought every day for their family to feel safe and loved. Rebecca needed she and Jack to be enough for Randall. And that closing sequence in the dojo, featured in the video above, chips away at the strengthening of Randall’s bond with his mother and father.
What were your favorite moments from “The Trip”? Let us know in the comments, and keep the conversation going on Twitter!
This Is Us returns for Season 2 on Tuesday, September 26 at 9/8c on NBC. Season 1 is currently available to stream online.