The Pearson Wrap-Up: Chicken pox, Blockbuster and babies (!) on the way

This week on This Is Us, the Pearson kids deal with chicken pox, Beth and Randall struggle with their new addition and one character has a bombshell revelation. (Spoilers)

click to enlarge Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia in This Is Us. - Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia in This Is Us.

If you ever want to blow a teenage mind, explain Blockbuster to them. When I explained how Blockbuster worked to someone  born in the digital age, they couldn’t wrap their mind around the fact that everyone had to agree on ONE movie. The struggles of the 90’s were real — and, in a way, I still miss wandering the aisles, trying to make a decision I could sell my sister on.

 Watching episode four of This Is Us, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the 90s nostalgia when we followed the Pearson family through a Blockbuster as all them fought over what movie to rent. It’s not long before we realize that two of the three Pearson kids have the chicken pox. (Another 90s throwback kids today don’t understand.)

In the past, Jack and Rebecca are dealing with Kevin’s and Kate’s chicken pox, when Rebecca’s mother, Janet, unexpectedly shows up. In past episodes, Janet had voiced her concern over Rebecca’s choice in Jack. Upset with Jack’s lack of money and overly critical of Rebecca and how she runs her house, Rebecca’s mother makes the situation at the house even more uncomfortable than chicken pox.

It reaches a boiling point when Rebecca has to confront her mother over her seemingly racist comments toward Randall. Janet is something of a, “polite racist,” making passing comments about Randall being the only kid in private school, and implying that he would be a good basketball player. The most heart-wrenching part was the fact that Randall was listening to this confrontation.

Good time to highlight that the younger Pearson actors (Parker Bates, Lonnie Chavis and Mackenzie Hancsicsak) really knock it out of the park in every episode. It can’t be easy to be on a show with as much emotional weight as This Is Us, but both the 10 year-old and teenage Pearson kids all pull their own weight.

In the present, Kevin is struggling after injuring his knee during filming. Through the episode we find out that he was a stellar high school football player who could have made it all the way to the NFL — if it weren't for his knee injury. We also see that Jack was a huge supporter, which lends itself to Kevin’s overwhelming reluctance to allow his knee to heal. Even after surgery Toby has to beg him to get off the treadmill and he refuses. We leave Kevin turning to pain killers, which, for some, would be standard after surgery — but it’s already apparent that this will be an issue for Kevin.

This Is Us is doing an amazing job of showing the struggle of fostering a kid with a rough past. Beth and Randall still struggle with their new foster daughter, Deja, who refuses to wash her hair — and Beth and Randall aren’t sure how to handle a touchy subject like hygiene. Finally, Deja allows Beth to do her hair — and they have a genuine moment where you think that maybe Beth has finally gotten a little ground with Deja. However, when Randall hints that he got the details of the conversation from Beth, Deja savagely cuts her hair — leaving no doubt that there’s a lot of room to grow in their house.

Spoilers ahead: If you’re not caught up, stop reading!

Finally, the big reveal is that Kate is pregnant. This is a twist I did not see coming – I really believed that her excessive working out was in preparation for her singing debut. However, we close the episode on her at the doctor’s office getting the first glimpse of her baby.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. As Kate mentions, at her weight and her age, having a baby can be dangerous. I’m game to see a new addition to the Pearson squad, but anything else would be just too depressing. (Even by This Is Us standards.)

This Is Us airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on NBC. 

About The Author

Toni Jannel

Toni's a true Tampa native, equal parts Italian and Cuban — she's practically an ad for Ybor City. She's a USF graduate and a genuine enthusiast for anything with a script.

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]