A visit from Rebecca’s mother on This Is Us is usually not a pleasant one. In this episode, titled “Still There,” not much has changed. After the Pearson household comes down with the chicken pox, Rebecca’s mother comes over to help, but she ends up causing more stress than anticipated. In present day, Beth and Randall struggle with being foster parents, Kate is hiding something from Toby, and Kevin is determined not to let his knee injury ruin another career.

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A Pearson Outbreak

One snowy night in 1990, the Pearsons are at a video store when Kevin is not himself. He and Kate are diagnosed with the chicken pox, and the doctor says it would be better if Randall got them too so they could all just get rid of the illness together. Back at home, Rebecca and Jack try to nurse their sick children when Rebecca’s mother, Janet, shows up to help. She immediately starts criticizing Rebecca and Jack.

Rebecca gets upset at every little thing Janet does or says, including when her mother gives the kids presents and makes a comment that the too-small dress she gives Kate can be her “goal dress.” When Jack comes down with the chicken pox too, Rebecca is forced to confront her mother alone. The last straw comes when Janet makes a racist comment about Randall. Rebecca calls her out on it and eventually asks Janet to leave in the morning. Janet tries to defend herself, but Rebecca won’t hear it. Unfortunately, Randall overhears some of the conversation, so Rebecca and Jack have to do damage control and explain what racism is.

The next morning, Jack and Kevin head out into the snow to dig out Janet’s car so she can leave. Rebecca says goodbye, and Janet tries to explain herself again. She says she doesn’t really know what her issues with Randall are, but she tries to relate to him. Rebecca says Janet shouldn’t have to try with her grandchildren. Before she goes, Janet says goodbye to Randall, who just nods. She then expresses interest in his project and says that he’s a special child. He just replies, “Took you long enough.” And that seems to open up a better relationship with Janet for now.

Bowling Alley Brawl

At Randall’s home, he and Beth discuss how Deja hasn’t washed her hair in two weeks since she arrived at the house. Beth says Deja is starting to smell and it needs to be addressed. Randall suggests he take a turn at being the lead parent in this situation, and Beth agrees.

He decides to take the girls bowling, but Deja doesn’t want to wear the shoes. While Randall tries to figure out his next move, a girl on the line calls Deja’s hair nasty. Deja pushes the girl, and the girl’s father jumps in. Randall tries to diffuse the situation, but things get heated. When the girl’s father tells Randall to control his daughter, Deja yells that she’s not his daughter and storms off. Randall follows her with the girls.

Back at home, Randall keeps replaying the situation over and over, and criticizes himself. He then asks Beth to talk to Deja, which she does. It seems like Deja is opening up, especially when she asks Beth if she’ll do her hair. While Beth brushes out Deja’s hair, she notices she has alopecia. Deja opens up some more and tells her that the patches fall out when she’s stressed out. Beth offers to braid Deja’s hair for her to cover up the empty patches, and Deja seems happy.

Later on, Randall apologizes to Deja for the outburst at the bowling alley. Things seem to be going well, until he tells her about his nervous breakdowns and stress. He offers to go running with her, but all Deja hears is how Beth told him about their conversation, which upsets her. After he leaves, she cuts off all of the braids and walks into the kitchen like nothing is wrong.

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A Recurring Injury

Over in Los Angeles, a producer on Kevin’s movie set asks to look at his knee. He orders Kevin to get it taken care of. The doctor says he has a torn meniscus and needs microscopic surgery. He undergoes the surgery begrudgingly. And as soon as he gets back to Kate and Toby’s apartment, he’s taking off his brace and trying to walk around. Toby suggests he take some painkillers, but he says he doesn’t like them because they made him foggy in the past.

Kevin really pushes himself to increase his recovery, which worries Toby. Kevin tells Toby that he won’t let his knee ruin his career again. He tells Toby that he was a star football player. During his senior year, college scouts were always at his games. But when he injured his knee, his football career was over. And he says he won’t let that happen again with his acting career.

As he continues to recover, Kevin watches old videos Jack took at his high school games. He gets misty-eyed and eventually takes some painkillers. Soon, he’s back on the set and ready to work — or at least he thinks he is.

What’s Up with Kate?

As Toby deals with trying to understand Kevin and his recovery, he is also dealing with an exercise-crazed Kate. He doesn’t understand why she’s suddenly into fitness and watching what she eats. He insists that she looks great. She tells him she’s focusing on her health and fitness due to an upcoming gig.

Once she fits into the dress she wants to wear, Toby is nothing but proud and happy for her, but she still seems down and out and keeps pushing Toby away.

Later, she goes to see a doctor, who confirms that she is still pregnant.

Falling Apart

It seems like present day Pearsons are falling apart a little bit. Randall is in uncharted waters with being a foster parent. Deja is not only testing Randall, but she’s testing his relationship with Beth. I know they will both be okay in the end, though, because Randall is stronger than he thinks he is and Beth is his rock.

Kate is pregnant. That is just crazy. I’m happy she’s taking it seriously, but I wish she had told Toby sooner. I’d think he would be thrilled, but perhaps he doesn’t want children and that’s why she’s hesitant to tell him. I can’t wait to see his reaction. I imagine he’ll either be totally into it, almost overbearing, or he’ll be upset.

Kevin better watch himself. Heading back to work so soon with his knee healing is just a recipe for disaster. And I’d like to know what’s up with him and painkillers.

Do you think Kevin has a drug problem? Do you think it started when he broke his leg in high school? Do you think Rebecca’s mother deserves a second chance? Are you surprised that Kate is pregnant? How do you think Toby will react? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

This Is Us season 2 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like our This Is Us Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of NBC)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV