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This Is Us Recap: Brothers, Brownies and Pretty Bad Ideas

Need to catch up? Check out the previous This Is Us recap.

How tense are things between Randall and Kevin going into this week’s This Is Us? Let’s just say that the brothers’ adult relationship ranks somewhere between “Trump and Clinton voters forced to share a rush-hour pedicab” and “you and your disapproving mother-in-law trapped in an elevator after she suggested you take the stairs.”

But that pales in comparison to what’s simmering between Kate and Toby in the present storyline and Jack and Rebecca in the past. The hour, on the whole, is a little sleepy. But after the week we’ve had? I’m OK with a little comfort food disguised as Pearson family angst.

Read on for the highlights of “The Best Washing Machine in the Whole World.”

FOOTBRAWL | In the past, the now-teenage Randall earns a spot on his private school’s football team, meaning he’s now an official rival of Kevin’s; the other teen plays for his school’s squad. That’s great, because they’ve both got plenty of practice: The boys fight incessantly at home. It’s so bad that Kevin moves down to the basement just to get away from his sibling, and Randall’s attempts to make things better are constantly rebuffed.

The rivalry gets so bad that the boys get into a scuffle on the football field when their teams play each other. And though Jack is distracted by work stuff and Rebecca is sadly realizing that her husband is slowly checking out of their relationship, both parents are very troubled by — though at a loss for how to fix — their sons’ anger.

MEET THE NEW MANNY | In the present, as we know, Randall and Kevin’s relationship is only marginally better. And when Rebecca drops out of dinner with the guys at the last minute because of Miguel’s gout (ugh, Miguel: again, the worst!), they only waver a moment before deciding to soldier on.

But when Randall fails to recognize the actor who played Kevin’s best friend for four years on The Manny, it becomes clear that Randall never really watched his brother’s show. He (rightly) points out that Kevin doesn’t really understand what he does for a living, either, but the whole thing is just a jumping off point for them to start clearing the air — out in the open air — while a crowd gathers to watch them fight.

After they notice a billboard for “The New Manny” — and the new actor in the role looks a lot different, though no less ripped, than Kevin — Randall can’t contain his laughter, and Kevin can’t contain his ugly. “That’s great. Replaced by another black man,” he spits, which leads to the world’s most pathetic fisticuffs as they argue about how Kevin treated Randall like a dog and Randall always showed Kevin up.

When a cameo-ing Seth Meyers (heh) steps in to ask Kevin if he needs a hand, the men realize how ridiculous they’re being and pull it together. In the car on the way home, Randall points out that Kevin has never publicly claimed him as a sibling before. He also admits that Rebecca gave him more recognition… but he only ever wanted it from his brother. “Well then, that really sucks,” Kev says, chagrined, and there are a LOT of man-tears being held back in this scene.

At home, the pair seem to have reached a new place: Kevin invites his brother to watch some Manny with him — under a throw blanket, which is cute — and Randall happily accepts.

HIGH TIMES AND HARD TRUTHS | Unbeknownst to Randall, his wife and his dad spend the evening eating pot brownies (baked to help William’s post-chemo nausea). This leads them to haul Kevin’s stuff out of Beth’s office and down to the aforementioned sublevel, then to sit out under the stars and talk about life. But when William quotes a poem and Beth recognizes it as one from Randall’s book, he blurts out that it’s “the one I gave Rebecca back in the day.”

They both realize what he’s said, and Beth gets intense as she demands that he tell her the full story. He begs her not to say anything to Randall, because it’ll destroy his closeness with Rebecca. So when the guys come home, Beth says nothing but skedaddles up to her bedroom and leaves an urgent voicemail for her mother-in-law.

THE END IS NEAR? | Kate’s weight loss is too slow for her liking. (Though I’d kill for a 1.25-lb. loss this week, am I right fellow Weight Watchers? Stress eating is Points-INTENSIVE.) Toby’s efforts to slim down, on the other hand, are going well. And when she tracks him down at his apartment, she’s incensed to see a pizza box, cookie wrappers and other junk-food detritus on his coffee table: He’s got a “full-on food mistress,” she realizes, crestfallen as he explains that he’s done losing weight for now but he’ll fully support her.

And that sounds nice and all, but after they have dinner and she watches him devour a delicious brownie-sundae-dessert-thing, she stops to get gas and winds up eating powdered donuts in her car. After watching her start the episode reveling in her healthy new habits — food prep, exercise, etc. — it’s a low point, for sure.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. kevstar69 says:

    It is a known fact that men lose weight faster than women, but eating a brownie sundae in front of your girlfriend is a bit a**holey. Toby is getting in my nerves.
    There’s going to be a huge blowup next week with William’s big secret.

    • CurlyGirly says:

      ITA about Toby. Even though she insisted that he have the dessert, he still should have declined.

      • JenM says:

        Agreed. Just because he’s dating someone who’s dieting doesn’t mean he has to as well if he’s not in that same place. But there’s a difference in not dieting and choosing to eat at giant brownie sundae right in her face. He says he’s supportive of her efforts, but putting temptation in her face is far from supportive.

      • dman6015 says:

        No different than someone pounding down one drink after another in front of someone struggling with their sobriety.

        • VAMom says:

          But this show is not dealing with that illness…

        • Big Cheddar says:

          Some would say that food addiction is harder than other addictions because you can’t abstain from eating, whereas you can from some other addictions. While very insensitive to her, I don’t think Toby could help himself once he was given “permission” to have it. Hopefully Kate will be honest and tell him watching him eat that triggered her. It would be interesting to see where they go from there if they have that conversation.

      • Kat says:

        I guess I can argue that if he were maybe a little more thoughtful he would’ve at least gotten something less “in your face” as a brownie sundae. However, I would still put the onus back on Kate. This is her life and her goal. If she didn’t actually feel OK with him eating that in front of her, she shouldn’t have told him it’s OK. I feel like if she had just told him that, he would’ve abstained. In fact, he was going to skip dessert until SHE insisted that he order something if he wants it. If she didn’t want him to but still tells him he should, that doesn’t help anyone. Cause now he’s the bad guy and she’s struggling with temptation.

        • Eran says:

          Have you ever been emotionally vulnerable at any point in your life? Kate’s reaction could not possibly have been any more human and true to life for someone in her emotional mindspace.

  2. Chelsey says:

    Great episode. Loved Kevin and Randall finally having a heart to heart.
    Rebecca just seems like a spoiled brat. Not allowing Randalls biological father to be a part of his life, her way to no way attitude when it comes to Jack and the kids, she loves attention.
    Poor Jack, little does he know Migel is taking notes on how to swoop your wife.
    I Was happy Tobey wasn’t in the episode very much, he’s annoying.
    Kate has a long road ahead of her. She is so big, didn’t mean to sound insensitive.

    • Danielle says:

      I think that there was a lot that led to how Rebecca treats Randall. Adopting a black child in the early 80’s, especially after the loss of a biological child had to be very hard for her. I also get the feeling that Jack wanted the adoption more than she did. Keeping William out of his life was probably he one thing she could do to maintain her control over the situation. I think it’s completely wrong to cut an adoptive child off from that situation.

      • JenM says:

        I don’t think you can fault her too much for not wanting a drug addict involved in her son’s life. Trying to explain to a kid that you know his dad and you know where he is, but the kid isn’t allowed to meet him or spend time with him would be rough. An argument could be made that she should have told Randall once he was grown and able to make informed decisions, but I totally get her initial move to tell his father to stay away.

  3. Gfunk405 says:

    That Brownie/cookie/sundae thing looked amazing. I laughed when Randall said “hi Seth Meyers”

  4. Gerald says:

    So much good stuff in this episode. How did the Critics Choice awards only nominate the show and none of the actors?
    Kevin and Randall’s fight in the street was the best. Loved Seth Meyers Cameo. I was touched when Kevin said “it’s okay he’s my brother” – Yay recognition!
    And to add a bit of humour (but not) – as they hear the sirens of the cop cars coming and they start running away Randall says “I’m still black”
    Side note – I hope the new “Manny” is a failure to vindicate Kevin’s leaving the show and to prove he is not replaceable. I hate it when TV shows get rid of the main star and try to keep the show going.
    Toby, I know he is giving up on the diet, but really… he couldn’t have a smaller portion.
    Kate. I thought she was goign to drive off without taking the nozzel out of her gas tank. Weird they showed that.
    Rebecca – Love her singing voice. Maybe a soundtrack for this show is in the future.
    Lastly Jack’s goatee kinda makes him looks creepy.
    Overall great episode.

    • Steven says:

      I said the same thing about Kate driving with the nozzle. Glad I’m not the only one who thought that. Each week now I assume Jack will die. I thought he was never going to make it to the game, then I thought the family would crash before they got home. I hate the dread of waiting.

      • VegasGal72 says:

        I was feeling the same way too. There was one line in the episode that was made and no one seems to be talking about it. When Beth and William were talking in the kitchen she said Dad died from cancer. She could of been talking about her dad or Jack. Been driving me crazy.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Just wanted to point out that Rebecca is played by Mandy Moore, who is a singer.

  5. Raevin68 says:

    Great episode as always. One thing that bothered me was the brownie story line. Isn’t William a former addict? I get that she offered those to help with the chemo side effects, but it seemed odd to offer it when he’s a former addict.

  6. Nit-pickin' Sam says:

    The recasting of the lead role in a hit sitcom would be a story on every entertainment website and teevee news page in the country. The previous cast member would get word of this from approximately 100 friends in the industry — not from a billboard.

  7. Jamie says:

    I’m so glad we got to see more of Beth this week – she’s hilarious.

  8. Ames says:

    I find Rebecca to be a little annoying in the flashbacks. Honestly, she seemed to be angry at Jack in this episode for no reason. She was talking to him about her singing at the football game and someone interrupted them…big deal, she could have continued when they finished the conversation. And later that night, he asked her AGAIN and it was her choice to not tell him. She just seems annoyed for no reason in their marriage at this point…

  9. AngD says:

    I love this show. I just love it. Got really mad at Toby this week, but he’s a typical guy. He’ll wise up I think.

  10. Britt says:

    Hey everyone, I adore this show.
    I was wondering if anyone knew the song playing during Kate’s treadmill/diet montage? I absolutely loved it, yet no one seems to know it. Maybe you guys at TV line got some intell. Any help would be appreciated. Googling the lyrics gets you no where, neither do apps like Shazam or SoundHound. Thanks guys.