For such an emotional show, it seems that someone on This Is Us is struggling with his emotions in this episode, “Career Days.” While Kevin searches deep within to get emotional during his play rehearsals, his sister, Kate, is sorting through her feelings while at her new job. Randall is going through a semi-mid-life crisis as he prepares for his daughter’s career day. And in flashbacks, Jack and Rebecca have to decide on whether to send Randall to a school for gifted children.
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Putting Life on Hold
Parents always make sacrifices for their children. And Jack and Rebecca are certainly the parents that would do anything for their Big Three. So when money gets tight, Jack gives up his construction job for a desk job at a firm. When his friend Miguel gets promoted, he tells Jack he’s taking him with him, but Jack immediately turns it down because he’s thinking about branching out on his own.
However, at the same time, report cards come in and all of the kids get Bs and Cs, except Randall’s teacher wants to see them. She explains that Randall tested off the charts and he’s gifted. She suggests sending him to a special school where he can excel, but Jack is very hesitant, using Randall’s skin color as an excuse.
While doing a drive-by of Hanes Academy, Jack confesses to Rebecca that he doesn’t want Randall to end up in a suit at work for the rest of his life, clearly reflecting his emotions onto his child. Rebecca assures him that that won’t be the case. He then tells her about his idea to start his own firm, called Big Three Homes. She loves the idea and urges him to go for it, saying they will figure something else out for Randall.
After a quick chat with Yvette, from the pool, and a heart-to-heart with Randall about how he wants each of his children to be different in their own special way, Randall is soon suiting up and attending Hanes Academy and Jack is working with Miguel again.
It’s career day at Tess’ school, and she wants either William or her Uncle Kevin to speak to her class instead of her father. However, Randall puts his foot down and says he signed up, so he’s doing it — except no one seems to know what exactly he does all day. He sells commodities based on the weather patterns, in case you were wondering. Even Beth can’t really explain what he does. As he practices his speech, he breaks down and suggests that perhaps he has a musical or artistic side of himself that was never explored. So Beth comes up with an idea — half sarcastically — that he find a way to use music to explain his career to the kids.
Randall, taking Beth’s advice seriously, gets up on career day and attempts to sing a song on the piano about his job, despite the fact that he can’t sing or play. It’s terrible, but he makes it to the end. Back at home, William offers to show him some things on the piano. But the next day, Randall let his family know that not only does he love his job, he will be starting piano lessons with Ms. Perkins down the street, and there will be a recital in May.
It seems Kevin is really struggling to get emotional during rehearsal for his play. Despite going through some deep emotions during his father’s death, he’s managed to somehow tuck those away and not let them out. After a lecture from his director, his acting partner, Erin, suggests that Kevin go to a party with her the next day.
When Kevin shows up, she lets him know that it’s actually a memorial service for some random person who she doesn’t know. The man’s widow speaks with them, and Erin lies, saying they are students of the deceased. Later, she tells Kevin that perhaps he can learn a thing or two about bringing out his emotions. He gets pissed and heads to the kitchen for a drink, where he ends up pouring his heart out to the deceased’s widow about his own father’s death. He explains that when his father passed, he was so angry he threw away all the memories he had of him, except a necklace, which he now wears every day.
Erin is proud that he’s finally letting his emotions out. And things get tense — so tense that they end up hooking up. The next day, Erin lets Kevin know that what happened won’t happen again. She tells him they are just acting partners and he needs to use the emotions he’s feeling toward her right now while they act.
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A New Job for Kate
After I guess quitting the job at Toby’s ex’s shop, Kate goes on an interview for a somewhat assistant position with a woman named Marin. Kate gets the job, which is described as part event coordinator, part associate and part personal assistant, which includes carting Marin’s daughter around. When Kate meets Marin’s daughter, Emma, the teen immediately assumes her mother hired Kate because she’s fat.
The fat comments don’t sit well with Kate, but she ignores them and excels at her job. That is, until Marin asks Kate to take Emma to her friend’s house. During the car ride, not only does Emma not tell Kate where to go, but she continues to insult her. Kate then stops the car and kicks Emma out, telling her to walk to her friend’s house.
The next day, Kate apologizes to Marin, who confesses that she’s having a hard time with Emma. She doesn’t fire Kate and also explains that part of the reason she hired Kate was because she’s bigger and could possibly get through to Emma. Kate I guess pushes her emotions aside and uses this info to her advantage to get a special chair and her own office.
On her way out, Kate speaks with Emma. She tells her that she grew up with a thin mother as well, and she ended up resenting her for it. She explains that her relationship with her mother is now strained and she regrets it. She warns Emma to give her mother a break because she will eventually regret it too.
We now know that Kevin handled his father’s death pretty poorly, but we still don’t know how Jack died. We also know that Kate eventually has a strained relationship with Rebecca, and Randall is super smart.
This Is Us almost seems to have too much going on. There’s so much ground to cover, though, and I think season 1 is moving at a good pace to get enough information out each week to let us take a glimpse of the Pearsons’ lives.
I’m curious, though. When does William die or does he actually die? Last time, Randall is seen packing up William’s clothes and crying on his bed. One can only assume that William has passed, but in “Career Days,” William is alive still.
What did you think of “Career Days”? Do you think Jack and Rebecca made the right decision sending Randall to a private school? Do you think that shaped him in the end? What do you think about Kate’s new boss? Let us know in the comments section below.
This Is Us season 1 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like our This Is Us Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of NBC)