‘This Is Us’ recap: An awkward first date and more questions
‘This Is Us’ is back, which means we are arguably left with more questions than when we started, but oh man, it is good to be back.
“Nine Bucks” starts with a mystery man in his morning routine. We soon realize it’s Franco Harris, the Pittsburgh Steelers halfback famed for his “immaculate reception” that happened to occur the night Jack and Rebecca have their first date.
The core of the episode centers around that date. Jack eyes Rebecca singing in a bar before they grab a drink after and Rebecca suggests they “get out of here.” They end up going to a nearby carnival, but not before Jack proclaims to Miguel that he met “the girl” and borrows $4...adding to his $5 equals $9 to spend for the night.
Mixed in with scenes from the past are present-day storylines of course - something that ‘This Is Us’ writers do oh so well. It is the triplets’ 38th birthday. Beth is throwing a party for Randall, but not without a bit of drama.
Deja didn’t get anything for her foster dad, and Beth’s cousin, Zoe, is staying with them for a while. Kevin gets an apartment in New York and sends Zoe an excited, “I’m officially bi...coastal,” text. They are clearly together, but keeping it a secret from Beth.
“Your brother and my cousin are knocking boots,” Beth says to Randall, who makes her swear - on Oprah - that she will not say anything because they do not have proof. Meanwhile, Randall is gearing up to share some big news with Deja - they want to formally adopt her.
Both come crashing down when Randall takes Deja on a drive to William’s apartment building that he and Beth bought. Randall makes an effort to show that he is like Deja because he is adopted, but Deja rightfully disagrees and gets upset that he tried to compare their situations.
She later makes a secret trip to her old neighborhood to visit her birth father at his sporting goods shop. Deja tells him that she is going to do something great with her life, and that he will miss it. She also lets him know that she met people that think she is “exceptional.” When she returns home - with a new pair of Nikes for Randall’s birthday gift - she tells Beth and Randall they can sign the adoption papers.
At home, Beth can’t keep her mouth shut - she provides some great humor in this episode though - and calls out Kevin and Zoe. But, in a traditional ‘This Is Us’ twist, Beth tells Kevin that it is ultimately Zoe who will break him.
On the other coast, Kate and Toby are having a hard time getting pregnant. Kate gets a bit of good news on her birthday by getting at appointment with an exclusive OBGYN, but they are then told that they cannot try IVF because of her weight.
In a monologue, delivered beautifully at her birthday brunch, Kate breaks down to her friends after blowing out her candles and wishing for a baby. (Gah, I so want Kate to catch a break.) After brunch, Kate and Toby head home where they briefly discuss other options. Of course, the doctor later calls the couple back to her office where she explains that she is willing to take Kate on as a patient, but there is a 90 percent chance it might not work.
Flashing back to Jack and Rebecca’s first date, we quickly realize it was not all butterflies and rainbows. Things get off to a good start when Jack buys Rebecca a candy apple, a reminder of her childhood, and a hot chocolate. Rebecca tries to initiate conversation, but instead brings up things that are painful for Jack to talk about - the war, his brother.
Now, left with only $2, it starts pouring rain, and Jack refuses to buy Rebecca an umbrella. It gets awkward, and they decide to leave.
Jack drives her home, but not before explaining that he couldn’t pay for the umbrella. He had to save the $2 in case she wanted to play games. He tells Rebecca that he’s been having a hard time since he got back from Vietnam, but that she makes him “feel like I’m home.” He apologizes for the lousy first date.
However, in another ‘This Is Us’ twist, Jack is prepared to show up at Rebecca’s front door the next day with flowers when he spies another man doing the same. Rebecca looks a little confused, but Jack sees the kiss and drives away.
OK, cue the tears.
In a montage mixed with scenes from the past and present...and future...we see Franco Harris’ immaculate reception – and hear a sportscaster talk about how things sometimes have to bounce around before a miracle happens. We see Toby flush his antidepressants. We see future Randall and future Tess talking about “going to see her” again. Tess has to use the bathroom, and Randall calls...Toby(!) to ask if he is coming down. Toby, who we see in bed alone, isn’t sure he should, but Randall tells him that she would want him to be there.
Is Kate, HER? I guess we will have to wait to find out.