Vegas, Baby! - This Is Us, episode 16
They’re back! We had a break, but now we’re back to watching the Pearsons and wondering whether we will have to endure another family tragedy. Luckily, this episode wasn’t too painful although I think we all felt like Kate for a moment watching Beth and Randall argue in front of the various dancing Magic Michaels. More on that later. This episode may have been the most “realistic” episode for a TV drama because we were shown the way a trip to Vegas with friends can often go - rather than the glitz and glamour and partying like people in the Vegas of the movies, we see the reality. Whatever fun they imagined they’d have was replaced by the bachelor and bachelorette back in their hotel rooms (alone) by what seemed to be 10pm. It’s funny because it’s true. Poor Katoby. They tried. At least they both got to bond a little with their in-laws and really work on expanding the Pearson family. Now normally for each episode, I try to find a topic that I can talk about in greater depth. This episode touched on so many smaller, subtle things that I thought I would just share my general thoughts on a few different moments.
Sobriety in Vegas
Kevin’s goal to try to stay sober through a Vegas bachelor party weekend was a disaster in the making. I don’t think anyone involved in his sobriety care would have encouraged that trip. It didn’t surprise me too much given what we’ve seen of Kevin’s ambition and confidence (maybe some would call arrogance). It’s probably what fueled his NFL dreams in high school and it was probably behind his goal of cooking a gourmet meal for his parent’s anniversary. Kevin knows others would stay home and not risk such a dangerous relapse in Vegas, but Kevin probably thinks those people are weak. And they definitely don’t have the same talents and abilities he was given. Honestly, this is one of the few things Kevin and Randall probably have in common – having an almost delusional level of confidence to take on big tasks without much time spent evaluating the risks. They both seem to just jump in and trust their own greatness will help them figure the rest out along the way.
I just knew Kevin would break into that mini bar and get blackout drunk like Denzel Washington’s character in the film Flight. I was on pins and needles begging him not to stop those sit ups! Lucky for us, his therapy helped him gain some insight into what triggers his drinking and some increased emotional control over them. I still don’t think it would be a good idea for anyone to try Vegas after recently becoming sober, but I’m glad we got a chance to believe in Kevin and see his success. Surviving Vegas with no alcohol must have been such a boost for Kevin – he must have flown home feeling like a Superhero. Not to mention how proud he can be that he may finally be viewed as a “real” actor rather than just the Manny.
The Heart and The Head
So, Beth and Randall are a real couple after all. As much as I was shocked to see such a raw argument from them, I was happy the show’s writers decided to make them human after all. Turns out Beth can’t do it all, isn’t satisfied at her work even with her degree and high pay, and she even finds it stressful to “sit inside” Randall’s anxiety all the time. What?! Who knew?
What was interesting was what sparked the conflict in the first place. Randall called Beth the “head” of the relationship and implied that she was emotionally detached. This meant that he was the “heart” of the relationship, caring for things when Beth no longer did (or could). What Randall was not able to see is that even if Beth was overwhelmed by her “heart,” she cannot express it because it would cause Randall to become more emotionally out of control. She has learned that in order to take care of him, she has to assume a balancing role – in this case, behaving as though she has detached from Deja so that Randall didn’t unravel while he tried to move on. It reminded me of the scene when Beth was going into labor while Randall was overwhelmed with anxiety over his first child. Beth was clearly scared and overwhelmed herself, but she knew there was no space for two emotional wrecks in the household. She pretended to have everything under control until Randall was able to give her permission to be the distressed and anxious partner while he took control and could become the strength for the both of them. It was a gorgeous scene, but we see in Vegas that Beth may have needed Randall to step in and switch roles for a while and he may have missed his cue. In the end, they were able to communicate effectively and get back to their teamwork of dealing with Deja after Randall’s “parenting bells” went off.
This episode certainly had a lot more I could comment on – Kate and her lack of female friendships, Deja and her mother, but I hope the next two episodes will give us more insight. I would love to know the story behind Toby’s younger brother and why they are not close in their adult lives. I enjoyed this family bonding trip and was happy that Toby was officially given entrance into the family by his new brothers.
Why was Randall the coolest kid in the library?? I loved how they made that scene look like the high school jock entering the hallway of lockers where everyone wants to greet him. I was dying with laughter… and I loved how Kate was smitten by it all.
Where did Beth get her poncho of diamonds and how can I get one??
Which nickname did you like better – Toblerone or Toby Bryant?
What will happen to Deja? Will Beth and Randall take in both mom and Deja?
Will Kate and Toby have their wedding before the season finale?