For every happy thing on This Is Us, there always seems to be something unhappy to accompany it. I guess that’s the whole point of the show, to share with viewers the ups and downs of the lives of the Pearsons.
In this episode, titled “The Most Disappointing Man,” Jack and Rebecca struggle with the judge on their adoption case. In present day, Beth and Randall face another bump in their foster case, while Toby and Kate make a big decision about their future. And Kevin’s drug problem seems to spiral out of control, putting a strain on his relationship.
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A Proper Home
Throughout the first year of the Big Three’s lives, social worker Paula stops by the Pearsons’ home, often unannounced, to check on Randall. At the year mark, it’s time for her glowing review to head to a judge. She assures the parents that all they will have to do is say they want to adopt Randall. However, Judge Bradley looks over the case in court and has some questions for Paula, who is not there. He dismisses the case for another three weeks.
Outside the courtroom, Jack approaches the judge, despite the fact that he shouldn’t be doing so. The judge agrees to speak with them in his chambers. He explains that in his opinion, Randall should be placed with a black family. He says he fears Randall won’t have the tools he needs for life if he stays in the Pearsons’ home.
When Rebecca gets home, she writes a letter to Judge Bradley and sends him a photo to place on his wall of adoptions. They head back to court three weeks later, and they find out that Judge Bradley recused himself from their case. They go before another judge, who happily grants the adoption.
While the Pearsons struggle with their three children and the adoption in that first year, Randall’s father is also struggling. He gets caught buying drugs and heads to court. He pleads guilty, and the judge expresses his disappointment, as William doesn’t have a record up until this point. William explains that he’s lost his mother, girlfriend and son in the past year. He says he’s the most disappointed man in the world because there’s nothing left for him anymore.
Before his sentencing, the judge sits him down and explains that each day he has to hand out sentences he doesn’t want to because those are the rules. He tells William that he fears he’s a close second in the most disappointed man, as he has to write terrible stories day after day and can’t change the endings. Then he tells William that he’d like to find a different ending for him. He wants to give William a chance to get out and get help. He makes William promise to always remember his face when life throws him curveballs to prevent him from making bad choices.
Fast forward to last year when William gets his cancer diagnosis and he buys drugs. Even though he pictures the judge’s face, he prepares to shoot up anyway, as he’s disappointed in life again. Just as he’s ready to shoot up, there’s a knock at the door and it’s Randall.
Protecting Their Young
In present day, Randall has to take Deja to a court-appointed meeting with her mother at the jail. After they go through security, the social worker tells Randall that Deja’s mother opted out of the meeting. Randall sees Deja’s disappointment and is devastated. At home, Beth is very upset, saying she doesn’t want Deja to see her mother at all anymore. She says she just wants to protect Deja.
The next day, Randall goes to see Deja’s mother at the jail. She explains that she didn’t want Deja to see her face beaten up. He basically doesn’t want to hear it and lectures about what he thinks is right for Deja. Her mother explains how she got locked up. She then tells Randall that Deja is the one good thing that she’s done and that she will try and get her back when she gets out.
When he gets home, he tells Beth what happened. He then tells Beth that he gave Deja’s mother their number so she can speak with her child. And her mother does call her at the home.
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A Proposal and a Break-Up
Sophie calls Kevin, excited that he’s finally coming home to New York. However, he tells her he may have to push the trip for a third time. She tells him it feels like he’s stalling the move but assures her he’ll be home soon. Then he takes more pills.
Before he does board his plane, Kevin goes to see Kate and Toby, who tell him that they are pregnant. He pretends to act excited, but he’s clearly not doing well. Then he goes to a jeweler and picks out three different engagement rings. When he gets to the hospital in New York, Sophie is not there, so he waits for her. He takes more pills and then zones out to a dream in which he’s married with a child, and he’s a terrible father.
Later that night, Kevin goes to see Sophie at her home. He’s all sweaty and he looks confused. Then he tells Sophie that he doesn’t know how to be a husband to her or a father to their future kids. He adds that he has nothing to give to her and that he’s an empty shell, essentially breaking up with her.
Toby and Kate, on the other hand, are doing much better, getting excited to tell their loved ones they are having a baby. After they tell Kevin, Kate tells Toby to call his mother. He says he’s terrified to tell his mother because they aren’t married. To alleviate the stress, Kate suggests they get married right away at the courthouse.
At the courthouse, it doesn’t feel right to Toby, as it’s very formal. And despite Kate saying the courthouse wedding is fine with her, Toby knows better. He has a heart-to-heart with Jack’s ashes about what he should do. When Kate gets home, Toby proposes to her properly. He tells her that she deserves a big wedding if that’s what she wants. She obviously accepts his proposal.
All Tied Together
And in typical This Is Us fashion, in the last few minutes, we find out that the judges in Randall’s adoption case and in William’s drug case actually worked with each other. This means that the Pearsons were in the courthouse at the same time as William — or, rather, they were most likely in the same place at the same time.
This Is Us is very relatable to everyday life and is a great example of how fate plays a huge part in everyone’s lives. It’s no accident that the judges on the cases knew each other. It’s not an accident that Randall showed up on William’s doorstep just as he was about to make a bad decision.
I’m just waiting for the grown-up Pearsons to have a little more luck in their lives. Ever since we met Randall, Kevin and Kate, they’ve always seemed to have more lows than highs. It’s disappointing that Kevin has sabotaged his relationship with Sophie. And it’s disappointing that Deja’s mother will eventually want her back. But I know that Randall and Beth will find a way to continue to be amazing foster parents and hopefully put her back on the right track.
As for Kevin, well, unless he gets help, I fear he might be a lost cause at this point. It’s a shame that Kate and Randall are so wrapped up in their own lives that they can’t see Kevin’s problem. But perhaps they never really knew he had a problem in the past. And I guess that’s life, as people are always so consumed with what’s happening in their lives and sometimes can’t see when others are hurting or in trouble.
Do you think Randall and Beth are doing the right thing for Deja? Do you think they will be able to adopt her? Should they eventually adopt her? Are you worried Kevin is in real trouble? Are you surprised that the first judge in Randall’s adoption case didn’t want to sign off on it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)