It seems a family trip to the mall on This Is Us could be the key to Jack’s death. Or it could just be a clue to throw fans off track. In this episode, titled “Clooney,” you have to really pay attention or you just might miss that clue as the Pearsons take that trip to get ready for the winter formal.

Meanwhile, in present day, Kate gets back on the wagon, Randall goes on another soul-searching trip to William’s apartment, and Kevin starts bonding with Rebecca and Miguel after rehab.

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Family Trip to the Mall

As Jack builds an entertainment center for the family, Kate tells Rebecca that she needs a dress for the winter formal. Rebecca is so happy that her teenage daughter asked her to go to the mall with her. Meanwhile, Jack says he’ll tag along because he needs a suit for work. He tells a laid-up Kevin to get ready too, as he’ll need a suit for the formal with Sophie. And Randall jumps in that he wants to go to the mall too. Before they head out, Rebecca tells Jack that they need batteries.

At the dress shop, Kate tries on a dress in a couple sizes, but it seems like none fit, so she sneaks out behind Rebecca’s back so she doesn’t find out. Meanwhile, the guys run into Miguel, who is upset that his ex-wife is getting remarried. Jack immediately goes into pep talk mode, but Kevin stops him and says that sometimes people want to wallow in their sorrows. So the three head to the food court to wallow, where a sullen Randall joins them, seemingly defeated after getting nervous around a girl who works in the mall. During the conversation, Miguel brings up about how Jack gave up on his dream to start his own construction firm to be able to support his family.

After the wallowing session, Randall goes to ask the girl out; before she answers, he hands her a Magic 8-Ball he tinkered with to include her name. Kevin and Jack go to try on suits. Kevin suggests that Jack start up Big Three Construction, but Jack says it’s not really the right time. And Kevin grows a heart and says thank you to Jack.

Back at home, Jack tells Rebecca that he thinks he wants to start up his own business again. At first, she’s hesitant, and then she says she’ll support him. The pair is excited and giddy, as Rebecca casually asks if they forgot anything at the mall. And as she mentions this, the camera pans out to the smoke detector in the home.

Memory Lane

Randall works on a diorama with the girls, as Beth tells him that she lost a good deal at work. She seems frustrated when she urges him to prepare for a job interview instead of heading to William’s old place to pick up some of his things. However, Randall says he’s not that into the job anyway, much to her dismay.

He gets a box of William’s things from his friend Lloyd. He asks him about William’s cat, but Lloyd says the cat ran off a few weeks earlier, probably because he realized that William wasn’t coming back. In the car, Randall goes through William’s things, which include some books, a sweater and a notebook of drawings and writings. There is a poem about a woman who William loved. He heads back into the building looking for the woman with no luck, so he leaves his number hoping for more information.

Later, he goes to take Beth out for lunch at her job. He’s all giddy about William’s love poem, but she’s still upset that he’s not more serious about his job interview. He again tells her he’s waiting for the perfect job to come along. She tells him that lately he’s been somewhere in outer space, and she needs him to come back down into the real world and go back to work. She says it will be good for him and for them.

Randall heads to the interview but interrupts it to take a call from Lloyd, who gossips that the super of the building, Donna, may be the woman Randall is looking for. He heads back to the building, where Donna also laughs at the idea that she and William were involved. However, after reading his poem, she lets Randall walk around William’s old apartment. There, he realizes that the poem is about a Billie Holiday mural that William would stare at every day outside his window. He takes this as a sign, so he brings Beth back there and tells her that he wants to buy the building to change people’s lives.

Back on the Wagon

As she promised Toby, Kate heads back to her weight loss support meetings. She says she’s ready to get back on track as they are getting married in the spring. She adds that getting into a dress will be a hurdle she’ll need to overcome. Madison offers to take her dress shopping after the meeting. She tells Kate that she just has to sit there and be treated like a princess. Kate reluctantly agrees.

They head to the shop, where she’s spoiled with champagne and one-on-one attention from Madison’s friend. While there, Madison eats all of the macaroons, and Kate gets concerned after Madison runs to the restroom after she finishes them. She confronts Madison about binging and purging, but Madison doesn’t want to talk about it and storms off.

Later that night, Kate gets a call from Madison, who has fainted after purging again. Kate rushes over, and Madison opens up about how she used to binge and purge in middle school but then stopped. She says she recently started again and worries that Kate will think she’s crazy. Kate assures Madison that she’s not crazy, and she opens up about how right before her father died, she got really skinny but felt empty inside. As the pair bond over stories and wedding dress chatter, Madison calls Kate her best friend.

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Back into the Real World

Kevin gets out of rehab, but his therapist suggests that he don’t go back to Hollywood right away. She tells him he needs structure and a healthy routine. He heads to Rebecca and Miguel’s house, as he’s ready to repair his troubled relationship with his mother now. When he gets there, she’s thrilled and shows him all of the healthy stuff she got him. He tells her he’s changed his diet and he’s eating sugar again, so she suggests they go grocery shopping. Miguel tags along, which doesn’t please Kevin so much.

At the store, Kevin tells Rebecca that he lost Jack’s necklace. She says that while he beats himself up over the fact that he lost the necklace, she beats herself up because she can’t take hers off. The moment they share seems ruined when Miguel puts something in the car. Kevin corners him down another aisle and asks why he tagged along. Miguel is honest and says that Rebecca has been a wreck since his arrest and the therapy session, so he’s there to protect her in case Kevin drops another bomb on her. Kevin says she doesn’t need protection from her own son. Miguel comments that he’s her husband, to which Kevin retorts that Jack was her husband.

Later that night, Kevin apologizes to Miguel for lashing out. Then he asks Miguel if he loved Rebecca when Jack was alive. Miguel assures him that it never even crossed his mind since Jack and Rebecca were always Jack and Rebecca. He adds that while it never occurred to him back then, he does love Rebecca now and he’s not going anywhere.

The next day, Kevin asks Rebecca why she pulled away from Miguel when he entered the room. She tells him she thought it would be hard for him to see them like that. Kevin then asks if she’s happy. Rebecca explains that after Jack died, she let go of a lot of things, and happiness was the first thing to go. She says that when she reconnected with Miguel, she found it again.

That Shocking Ending

If you weren’t listening, you would have missed the comment about batteries in the first few minutes of “Clooney.” So Rebecca’s comment at the end about forgetting something at the mall with a pan to the smoke detector won’t seem that important. But, clearly, any This Is Us fan knows this is huge! Does this mean that Rebecca blames herself for the fire at the house? Does she blame herself for Jack’s death?

Meanwhile, I have to wonder what is up with Randall. Ever since William entered his life, he’s been all out of sorts. William’s death only seems to have made it worse. And it seems that Beth has finally had it with his spacey-ness lately. He’s clearly looking for meaning or purpose in his life now — first with foster parenting and now with this building. But just how much will Beth be able to take? How much more can his family take?

I think it’s great that Kate is making friends outside of Toby, even if it’s in an unlikely place. And I hope the awkwardness will eventually disappear now that Kevin is staying with Rebecca and Miguel.

Did you catch the battery and smoke detector connection? Do you think Kevin will ever fully be okay with Miguel marrying his mother? Do you think Randall has gone off the deep end? How do you think Randall’s latest plan will affect his family and home life? 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