Let’s speak about how we’re going to get to that game-changing front-yard brawl. Rebecca and Miguel’s anniversary celebration attracts a large crowd. Kate’s ill-fated trip to San Francisco, when Toby issued her an ultimatum — their family must relocate to San Fran, or it won’t work — has passed, and Kate has applied for a vacant teaching post at her L.A. school. Except for Kate and Toby, it’s evident that their marriage can’t be saved after that massive blow-up during the vacation. Both are happy than they’ve ever been in their own lives, which do not involve each other. What is there to salvage if none of them move even a smidgeon? Kate and Toby, on the other hand, don’t appear to want to deal with it just yet; instead, they quarrel. Quite a bit.
Several scenes in this episode are viewed through the eyes of Baby Jack. He has no idea what’s going on, but he does know that the only time mother and daddy don’t argue is when they go to the park on Saturdays. They perform Kate’s song, which is adapted to Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park,” and then they go to the park, where Jack rides the swings, and they all laugh. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
However, due to the celebration, there will be no park trip on Saturday. So much squabbling! When Kate and Toby are in the same room, no matter who else is around, they pick at each other. Tensions have never been higher at a tenth-anniversary celebration with coconut glasses for mixed drinks! When Randall and Beth arrive, Kate embraces her brother and begins sobbing onto his shoulder. She’s ready to have a nervous breakdown, and she’s worried that Toby is planning to kill Kevin – Kevin is due to move out, but Toby appears irritated by everything Kevin does, big and little — so she begs Randall to take Kevin out on a lengthy errand. The Pearson Brothers have left.
I’m not sure whether their timing is good or bad since the next item to come tumbling down is the ceiling, very literally. Remember last season when Toby summoned his father to repair a ceiling leak, and he gave his son the metaphorical lecture about not allowing the pressure to build up because it would only become worse in the end? That metaphor has come to fruition. Kate and Toby’s marriage is disintegrating, their ceiling is bursting, and everything is falling apart. The kitchen ceiling has collapsed, and they soon hear the ceiling of their bedroom collapse due to a water leak. In the midst of it all, Toby, who had been outside with Jack and that filthy Big Green Egg, is summoned for assistance. He forgets to make sure the gate at the door clicks shut when he puts Jack in his room (Beth is taking care of Hailey, in case you were concerned). Kate has been harping on him about it for days now. That isn’t a good indication. Then Kate forgets to lock the front door after letting the plumber in. You can see where this is going.
Baby Jack doesn’t take long to put on his adorable red rain boots and go out the front door when no one is looking. It’s the worst nightmare you’ve ever had. We see him sing his park song as he approaches the corner and listens for passing vehicles before running over them. Sure, he makes it, but it’s terrifying, and I’m sick to my stomach just thinking about it, so I’d like to return it. Also, not a single one of those vehicles saw a youngster alone on the street corner?! Be better, Los Angeles residents!! By singing that song, Baby Jack arrives in the park, but as he starts running toward the swings, he goes in the opposite way and runs straight into some stairs, where he stumbles and receives that cut on his skull, which we will see in scar form on Adult Baby Jack in the future. The scar is no longer visible!
Everyone is losing their shite at home, which is understandable. This is terrifying! There’s also Rebecca to consider. Rebecca has been depressed the whole day because she only wants to assist, but she continues being told she isn’t required. She insists on assisting Jack in putting his shoes on at one point, which is a nice thing. In his room, Jack demonstrates to his grandmother how his mother arranged all of his shoes so that he would remember where they were and what they were for, including his red rain boots, which he uses to jump in puddles in the park.
He also senses Rebecca’s sadness, presumably because this youngster is a genius and a gentleman. Anyway, Rebecca recalls this essential fact and, upon seeing that Jack’s boots have vanished, concludes that he must be at the park! She dashes out of the home and all the way to the destination! She comes upon him being assisted by others and snatches him up! She’s a goddamned heroine!! It’s also fairly fantastic that the program juxtaposes Rebecca’s major success with her having to ask Kevin to fill out the intake form since she can’t remember any of the details a few minutes later at the hospital. These two sequences, which are so close together, truly emphasise how aggravating Rebecca’s sickness must be and how difficult her feelings must be right now.
Kate wants to chat to Toby outdoors when she gets home. It’s time, you guys – the Lawn of Misery is about to have its big moment. Both begin to point out what the other did wrong, but Kate’s rage at Toby for only seeing Jack’s flaws and trying to cure him since he was born hurts the most. Since then, she claims, he’s been drifting away from their family. Toby responds by stating that Kate refuses to accept any restrictions and that this is unreasonable. They’re yelling about how Toby is always scrutinized, how he doesn’t feel like Kate wants him back, and how Kate feels like the only parent here.
All around, you’ve done some incredibly awful things that you can’t undo. To make matters worse, Kevin and Randall have driven up outside to watch the entire event unfold, and they are refusing to allow Toby to talk to their sister in this manner. It’s hot in here!! Kevin is the first to enter, which irritates Toby, who begins unloading on Kevin, prompting Randall to intervene. On the other side, the sight of the Big Three going up against Toby alone? It gives me goosebumps because it’s so wonderful. “There it is,” Toby says, looking around at what’s going on, “the way it’s always been.” Toby’s uneasiness over not having a place in the Big Three and Kate prioritizing her connection with her brothers has always been a source of insecurity for him, and now it’s coming to a head right in front of him.
Because we’ve been following Rebecca and Jack’s tenth-anniversary narrative throughout this episode, this moment is especially poignant. Rebecca gets smashed drunk at dinner, but that’s not what wrecks Jack’s hopes and dreams of getting laid; it’s the call they receive from their babysitter informing them that the kids have locked her in the toilet that ruins their hopes and dreams.
At home, Jack interrogates the Big Three until they admit that the babysitter was cruel to Kate, so Kevin defends her, and when Randall sees this, he rushes in to support Kevin, and Kate sits there defending both her brothers while they recount the event (sound familiar?). When Jack informs them they can’t lock people in restrooms because “they hurt Kate’s emotions,” which is understandable, the lads wonder, “Why not?” “She’s our sister,” says the narrator. It’s extremely nice, and Rebecca considers it to be the finest present she could have received: even without them, the kids came together and looked after one another.
Rebecca receives an unexpected but familiar gift at the Worst Anniversary Party in History of the current day. Kate is sitting between her brothers, each of them holding her hand as she sobs, telling them that she and Toby don’t think they’ll make it, and they try to be there for her in any way they can. If Rebecca was concerned about what would happen to her children after she died, this scene, which she observes from afar, serves as a reminder that they will be fine because they have each other. They’re still looking out for one other. It’s all right. It’s not like I began bawling as soon as Randall said, “Katie girl,” and never stopped. In any case, what is the customary present on a tenth wedding anniversary? Tears?? It certainly seems to be so.
• Kevin’s subplot about finally ending any romantic engagement with Madison wasn’t as engaging as the rest of the episode, but you can see how the This Is Us machine is gearing up for whatever Kevin has in store for him in this last run of episodes. Madison is ecstatic to learn that Elijah is proposing to her. Kevin feels strange about it since he needs to make everything a thing, but he sees Madison happy and in love and has completely moved ahead, and he realizes he still doesn’t love her in that sense, so he chooses to move forward as well. It seems to be in good health.
• Toby ends up sitting over Baby Jack as he sleeps after the major fight and simply starts silently crying. In this episode, Chris Sullivan is, oh, fantastic.
• Do you believe Rebecca promised Jack anything special on their next anniversary? Was it a sham or a fantastic sandwich? I believe it could have gone either way.
• Randall wonders whether he should take Beth with him when Kate asks him to get Kevin out of the home. “No, she’s the least stressful person in the family,” she said. When Kate is right, she is correct.
• Rebecca’s guttural laugh at the restaurant is a terrific drunk person detail, and Mandy Moore is working her tail off once again in this episode.
• Kevin’s Rebecca impersonation!! I’m hungry for more!! It was just right to add that “bug” to it.
• “It’s that ESP thing; we’re twins.” Plus, I overheard her say something to you.” Tonight, Justin Hartley’s comic timing was on show.
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