The secret to good TV is good story-telling, which is why NBC’s new show, This Is Us, is such a hit.
Forget the the big twist at the end of episode 1, and tonight.
Yes, they are both incredible twists, but they add to, rather than take over the story.
No, the real beauty of this show lies in the intricate, yet simplistic story-telling that weaves in, out and around characters you WANT to get to know better.
Oh, and the humor. Almost every scene, no matter how sad, tense or emotional, has a funny moment that works perfectly.
Tonight’s episode, aptly titled “The Big Three” takes us deeper into the lives of the triplets: Kate, Randall and Kevin, and their parents, revealing the ups and downs of life.
The show opens with Jack and Rebecca in the kitchen with, as they come to call them, the big 3, who are 8 years old.
Although there is a lot of love to go around, there are also some issues for everyone, starting with Jack’s drinking.
Rebecca acknowledges that raising triplets has unique challenges, but Jack’s drinking is not the answer, and if he can’t man-up he’ll have to go.
There is a great scene where Jack is at the bar, venting to his best friend, Miguel, about how Becca has changed, only to have his friend tell him that he married: “way, way, way above his station” and he would be foolish to give Becca a reason to remember that.
Later, his friend calls and lies for Jack, who doesn’t want to go home.
What is gong on with Jack exactly? Does he feel stuck? Is the drinking making him feel stuck? Time will tell, but I can tell you I’m hoping he figures it out quick.
Then there’s Kate, who’s obsession with her weight threatens to overtake everything, including her budding romance with Toby.
In the flashback, Kate is seen as a chubby little girl, showing viewers her struggle with her weight is a life-long one.
Her struggles may or may not be connected to Becca, who is only trying to help by trying to make her cut down on the sweets, but may inadvertently be adding to her low-self esteem.
When a young Kate tells her mom that: “she only ate fruit today,” it just breaks your heart, and Rebecca’s too, who explains she just wants her to be healthy- and happy.
Later on, at a network party Kevin has to attend, Kate notices some skinny girls laughing at Toby while he’s dancing.
Toby though, once again works his magic on Kate, getting her to drink up and let loose.
Question is, how long will he keep picking her up before he feels like he’s drowning himself?
As for Kevin, his meltdown on set turns out to be a big issue, one he needs to make right, or he’ll be unemployed for the next 2-years.
Katey Sagal has a great guest appearance as the agent who lets Kevin know the network “owns him,” so Kevin may not want, or like, his gig, but he’s stuck with it.
A point hammered home by another great guest-appearance by Brad Garrett, the television network president.
As we see in flashbacks, Kevin was not the best brother to Randall, and yet it is Randall he calls in the middle of the party, panicking over the corner he is backed into and unsure of what to do.
Randall is having his own issues, but he take the time to talk Kevin off the ledge, letting him know that he may have been a crappy brother, but brothers they are and there is still time to make things better.
When a drunk Kate stumbles in, the 3 echo the opening scene, repeating how their mom and dad came to call them “the big 3.”
Randall also reminds Kevin that: “mom and dad didn’t raise no whores, except for Kate during the eyeliner phase,” encouraging him to leave the network- which is exactly what he does.
As for Randall, he is trying to find his footing with his biological dad, William, and his wife, Beth, who is uneasy about having William, a man who deserted him, in their house.
His wife, and viewers, are skeptical about his motives, especially when he keeps disappearing every day for hours at a time.
While Beth is questioning William, Randall walks in, and they are both surprised to learn that every day he is disappearing to go back and feed his cat.
He didn’t say anything because he didn’t want them to feel obligated to take the cat in.
Flash back to Becca and Jack, who seems to be back on track, telling Rebecca he loves her and will get his act together.
It is a beautiful moment, but a short-lived one, as in the final scene there is another jaw-dropping twist.
In present time, Randall and his family are talking with William,when the bell rings: it’s grandma and grandpa (Beth and Jack).
William ducks out quickly, which makes sense, but what doesn’t is what happens next.
As the camera pans to the door, we see Becca- and Miguel!!!!!!
Is Jack dead? When exactly, did they get together? Why are they calling him grandpa??
Tell us what your theory is below, and be sure to follow all my latest consumer news reports on Twitter!