This Is Us Recap Season 1 Episode 14

This Is Us Recap: The Vow Factor

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

For a guy who seems to value the power comedy, This Is Us‘ Toby really needs to learn how to read a room.

That lack of awareness is painfully clear in this week’s episode, when it takes all of five minutes for the big guy to overstay his welcome at Kate’s “immersive weight-loss retreat.” Looks like the evolving Ms. Pearson may be more in love with the idea of her guffaw-getting fiancé than she is with the man himself.

Still, I don’t expect Kate and Toby’s engagement to come to an end anytime soon. As the rest of the episode illustrates, falling in love is often an instantaneous thing, a thunderbolt moment — but falling out of love can be a slow process, and it takes practice.

But does Duke have to be involved in this whole thing? Because man, he is insufferable.

Read on for the highlights of “I Call Marriage.”

TOO MUCH TOBY | Kate is kicking booty at her weight-loss retreat: 10-mile hikes, yoga, that class with the sticks. It’s good to see her doing so well. Toby texts her and tells her that there’s a package waiting for her at the main office; when she gets there, the package is him. She’s delighted… until he suggests that they take off and hang out at his hotel. She says no, then yes, but he apologizes for throwing off her schedule and leaves.

Soon after, though, he’s showing up in her sticks class, which he refuses to take seriously, and it irks Kate. After everyone else clears out, the couple gets into it: She’s mad at him for mocking something that’s working for her, he’s mad at her for leaving him behind to heal alone in New York. Oh, and he planned to give her his grandmother’s ring — and he still does — but the way they leave things is painful.

Did I mention that Toby met Duke? And that Duke is still a jerk? And that Duke is sure Kate is going to make her way to his cabin any moment now? All of those things happen, too.

This Is Us Recap Season 1 Episode 14RANDALL ON THE VERGE | Remember when Beth said that Randall went temporarily blind while he was trying to make their life together perfect all those years ago? Seems like something similar is happening now. He’s having nightmares about finding William dead, he’s snapping at his wife and kids, he’s denying the fact that William is slowly fading and he’s losing some of his cache at work to that new guy, Sanjay. Through the whole episode, including a chess tournament Tess wins, Randall swears he’s fine. But we see his hand shaking at the end of the hour, and we know he’s not.

LAVA FRIES FTW! | Kevin and Sophie meet up at their favorite diner, and that’s where we learn a lot about their life together. She kissed him for the first time on a field trip to New York when they were in eighth grade. When they were married, they jointly decided to do the long distance thing so he could try to make an acting career for himself out in Los Angeles. She left him after he cheated on her. She’s now a nurse manager with a boyfriend. And she still really, really likes lava fries.

But Kevin follows her down to the subway (which looks more like Washington, D.C.’s Metro than any MTA car I’ve ever been on) and makes his case: The day she told him she’d marry him was the best day of his life, and if she’s willing to give him another chance, he’ll wait for her at the diner the following morning. She shows up, of course, because Earnest Kevin is even hotter than Shirtless Kevin.

SPLIT DECISION | Via flashbacks, we see Jack and Rebecca get married at City Hall. She’s a gorgeous hippy-chic bride, all long, loose curls and a flower crown. His tuxedo has ruffly sleeves. And at lunch with friends after the ceremony, Worst Best Man Miguel gives a speech about how perfect the bride and groom are for each other. While he’s talking we watch a montage of moments from their relationship: sex in the shower, her puking from food poisoning, them goofing around while brushing their teeth.

Cut to later in their marriage, when the kids are teens and Jack and Rebecca have become much less playful and a little more resentful of certain aspects of their life together. For instance: Rebecca is singing regularly with Ben’s band, and at dinner with Miguel and Shelly, Jack makes a joke-but-not-really about how if he wants to see his wife, he needs to go to one of her shows. That awkward moment, though, is soon eclipsed by an announcement from the other couple: Miguel and Shelly are getting a divorce.

At home afterward, Jack can’t understand how his best friend could do such a thing. “You find your soulmate, you get married, you stay together until you die: Period,” he proclaims. But Rebecca says Shelly has been unhappy for a while, and at work later that week, Miguel explains that their uncoupling has been in the works for a while: “We stopped noticing each other, Jack. We stopped trying to make each other happy.” I know I should be sympathetic, but ugh: Shut up, Miguel.

STATE OF THE UNION | Meanwhile, Ben totally wants Rebecca and not-so-subtly throws shade at Jack after a gig. The band is about to embark on a multi-state tour, and Jack should let her go, “if he really loves you,” Ben says. I already loved Rebecca, but my Care Bear Stare for her glows even brighter when she promptly and effectively places the band leader in his place with a scathing monologue that demonstrates exactly how much she notices Jack doing for her every day. “My husband’s a freaking superhero,” she says, finishing him off, “and you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

And to safeguard against the complacency that killed Miguel and Shelly’s happiness, Jack whisks Rebecca off to their first apartment, which he’s rented for the evening, and provides her with a romantic night of twinkly white lights, Champagne and more shower sex. They’re in a good place, they agree as they sip bubbly on the bathroom floor. And that’s when Rebecca whispers that the band has an upcoming tour… and she wants to go.

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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49 Comments
  1. Leah says:

    Did William ever mention having Parkinsons? Could that be what is happening to Randall?

    • Angel says:

      That is what I was wondering, or the start of MS.

    • GraceM says:

      It’s stress related but also could be from his mother’s side. Since she died giving birth, we may never know.

      We don’t even know how long Randall’s parents knew each other before she died. Yes I know flashbacks show us when they met, but we don’t know how long that was before Randall came along.

    • Bennington says:

      Come on, MS!. Randall is having nightmares about William’s impending death. He is off his game at work, snapping at everyone and in total denial about facing his father’s death. He already lost one father and also has a history of not dealing with stress well… hence his hysterical blindness episode. Hysterical blindness is rare and an intense reaction for the body to have to stress.

      The mind/body connection is what I believe and has now been well documented, the root cause of most disease. Dis-ease of the mind and emotions profoundly affects the body. Stress and grief are some of the biggest triggers. A shaking hand at this point may be the least of his problems. Randall needs to get professional help. He needs to talk about his feelings and learn healthy coping skills and also should seek stress releasing treatments like meditation, acupuncture yoga, EFT, something. Given his history, a professional might even recommend medication temporarily, if the others methods fail or he does not follow through with them. Bottom line, STRESS CAN BE A KILLER, when not dealt with properly, Some people medicate stress with drugs, food, alcohol, Randall goes into denial and then his body reacts intensely.

    • AngieD says:

      It’s stress related.

  2. Jakay says:

    Duke. Ugh. Dude needs to take a hike.

    • Karen says:

      And take Toby with him. They are cut from the same cloth.

      • Tiffany says:

        Yes Karen!! I totally agree!! Why won’t they give Kate a love interest that is not an obnoxious d-bag???

      • Bennington says:

        I agree to a degree, not the biggest fan of Toby but really dislike Duke. In all fairness, Toby was in the parking lot ready to leave, totally respecting what Kate needed to do for herself, until he ran into Duke. In the course of their conversation, Toby introduced himself and mentioned he was Kate’s fiancé. The response from that narcissistic creep Duke to Toby was “well that’s awkward” He purposely said that, to infer something was up with him and Kate. Toby was feeling baffled, jealous and threatened by that statement. That is when he went back and acted like an ass with Kate. Not an excuse just an explanation. I think Toby can be a jerk sometimes but Duke is really cruel and malicious, a real bad person .

        • Karen says:

          Toby was hardly being respectful in the manner that he left. He was acting like a spoilt brat because Kate wouldn’t go out with him. He’s a creep too. He’s not as bad as Duke but he’s not far off.

          • Bennington says:

            First of all, how many girlfriends/fiancés leave for a weight clinic so quickly after their boyfriend has 2 major heart procedures?. I completely understand and sympathize with Kate’s desire to finally get her weight under control. Which by the way is just a symptom of much deeper issues. I applaud her for bailing on the surgery which was just a quick fix and opting for the slower method of exploring why she medicates with food. But really! she couldn’t put the retreat off until Toby had more time to recuperate. Toby admitted to her he felt alone, scared faced with his mortality plus not recovering as quickly as expected. She should have been there as his fiancé. He felt abandoned by Kate and he has a right.to feel that way. I feel Kate acted very selfishly but with that said, I also believe she really needs to be alone now to focus solely on herself. But as long as she choses to remain with Toby, she can not continue to conduct herself like this.
            PS. Before losing the weight, I was a 17 female weighing 250 lbs. at 5’4″. I do understand the emotional battering and suffering obese people feel.

          • Meg says:

            If Toby wasn’t ok with Kate leaving for the clinic he shouldn’t have said he was ok with it.

          • Toby had a HEART ATTACK (or something close to it). He is in a city where he know virtually no one. He is stuck and Kate left him there. Sorry – I am team Toby on this one.

          • In Toby’s defense, I think he legitimately cares about Kate. Let’s not forget he just suffered a pretty big health scare himself. Having a heart attack in your 40s can’t be pleasant. He wanted to see his fiance, and while Kate’s reasoning wasn’t wrong, it’s understandable that Toby would be disappointed. He made in his mind a great gesture, and got hurt. People are only perfect on TV. And it’s nice to see a character that is not perfect.

            Now Duke on the other hand, is a jerk. People like this exist, though I’ve never encountered anyone like that in my experience. I feel once someone tells you they aren’t single, it becomes disrespectful to continue to pursue them.

            As for Randall, I hope they aren’t giving him a health issue like Parkinson’s. I realize it’s not statistically impossible, but it’s such an odd thing that it would actually take away from the realism of the show–especially in a world where Jack died so young.

        • Ann says:

          Toby has been an annoying d-bag the moment he met Kate. He was making fun of the other fat people in that overweight people’s support group. Kate wanted to take it seriously but he never did. I often question why he was even in that group if he was there mocking everyone anyways. To me, it seemed like he joined the group just to hit on women there…and he did.

  3. GraceM says:

    Another mystery solved. Miguel and Shelly are divorced. I’m still wondering about their kids, who would be Rebecca’s stepchildren.

    • Ann says:

      It doesn’t seem like Miguel is close to his kids anymore, since he spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with Rebecca’s kids. Maybe the divorce put a strain on his relationship with his kids, especially if his wife got full custody of the kids.

  4. Jamie says:

    I freaking loved Kevin’s ex – I hope she sticks around.

  5. Owen says:

    It was actually the Los Angeles Metro red line (which also drove me nuts for that whole scene!).

  6. queensgirl says:

    I mostly want to yell at Kate for what it appears she’s about to do, but…I certainly understand having low self-esteem. (Still, my insecurity wouldn’t cause me to cheat.)

    • Winter says:

      I’m holding out hope that she is going there to tell him off once and for all. And I really wish she would talk to whoever is running this camp because his behavior is wholly inappropriate and borderline predatory.

  7. kn1231 says:

    Best line of the night goes to Beth, that Sisco/Shirt comment had me roaring! I also loved Sophie, and lost a bit of respect for Kevin when it was revealed he cheated on her. But she seems pretty badass and can handle herself, so I think she’ll go into this situation with a clear head.

  8. Lisa Echerd says:

    I normally love this show but I didn’t really enjoy last night’s episode. They lost me with the cheap dream trick. Good shows don’t resort to having someone dream something bad and make viewers think it’s really happening only to have the person wake up and we all go “whew!” Also, I’m not thrilled about Randall potentially having some sort of debilitating disease when we already have William with cancer and Toby’s heart problems.

    • dan says:

      I agree that last night’s episode wasn’t the best, in fact it may have been the weakest of the season so far. The dream sequence fake-out is a soap opera trick that should be used sparingly (if at all) so I hope we don’t start seeing it more often here. I liked the scenes between Jack and Rebecca (although I rolled my eyes at the whole “I rented our old apartment for a night” shtick), but I’m not into Kate’s love triangle and I’m not sure about the Randall-is-sick storyline. Surprisingly, I think Kevin’s plot is the most intriguing right now which is a switch from just a few weeks ago when he was caught between Sloane and Olivia.

      • Carlos says:

        I’m a romantic at heart but I didn’t like the scene at their old apt. I thought it was unbelievable plus they keep portraying Jack as too perfect.

    • AngieD says:

      I’m pretty sure Randall’s issues will be stress related. His wife already told William that Randall had a period of blindness when he was trying to do too much – buying a new home and getting it ready before Tess was born while trying to ensure partnership at work. Now, he’s dealing with a dying father (which he’s still trying to deny even though he knows William isn’t getting treatment), demands of fatherhood, still hasn’t fully processed Rebecca’s lie and losing ground at work. His perfect world is imploding and he’s not accepting and dealing with it – thus the stress resulting in tremors.

  9. MiaB says:

    Miguel is the worst.

    • Ann says:

      Yes. Especially after hearing his reasons for divorcing his wife. He did not deserve to wear the Pilgrim Rick hat. The only think I can think of as to why Rebecca married Miguel was that she was at a low point in her life and Miguel happily swooped in to comfort her and bag her since she was single again after Jack’s death.

  10. Bigdede says:

    I loved how Rebecca took up for her man then I remembered she’s married to Jack’s best friend. If Sophie asked about Miguel, that means Rebecca has been married to that creep for over 12 years!! Also Toby is NOT good for Kate. He always tries to make her feel guilty about wanting to accomplish her goals and acts like a spoiled brat when she doesn’t drop everything for him. And he never takes her seriously. Duke is a bastard but he’s a honest one who tells the truth. Poor Randall. And the tears in William’s eyes when her granddaughter won moved me

    • Winter says:

      Duke isn’t an honest bastard. He’s a predator that plays to the deepest insecurities of a woman to make her think she can’t do any better. He tells Kate that she will never be better that she should just give up trying to improve her life and settle for him. He isn’t telling her the truth he’s feeding the darkest part of herself so he can take advantage of her.

      • Bigdede says:

        No Duke is telling Kate to stop trying to be something she’s not and just be happy. At least he’s not acting like a goofy idiot and trying to sabotage Kate like Toby is trying to do

      • Rose says:

        Winter your comments are spot on, I totally agree. Duke is scary and should be reported to the camp management for inappropriate behavior.

  11. MLO says:

    You people are so amusing, how you have Randall suffering from everything from MS to Parkinsons, all because his hand shook a bit. Randall has whatever the writers decide he has. He’s not real.

  12. Beth says:

    Questions: What happened to Kate’s job? Did she just abandoned it when she flew across the country for Christmas and then stayed? And did Toby ever have a job? And what happened to William’s boyfriend who wanted to spend whatever time William had left with him? Is he forgotten just like the cat? (I’m still upset about William’s cat, who should also be spending whatever time his human has left with him.)

    In the preview for next week it looked like Kate was going to Cabin 13 to tell Duke off. At least I hope so. She can’t be that stupid.

    Despite the way it may sound, I do love this show.

    • Dee says:

      I was a little bit worried about the cat too, but a couple of episodes back they did have Jesse saying that he would visit William’s old neighbor so that he could hold the cat, so at least we know that Clooney is being cared for.

  13. John036 says:

    lol at the writers trying to humanize miguel and make him likable….NOT GOING TO WORK MY FRIENDS

    • Eran says:

      Wouldn’t be so quick to write him off just yet. We’ve only just experienced him so far as a secondary (at-best) character. And with the awful tragedy looming ahead, we have no idea yet the ways in which he’s going to be there for Rebecca and come through for her. I personally feel we’ve not even begun to scratch the surface yet with this character and that we still hardly know him at this point is very much intentional.

  14. Stephanie G. says:

    Am I the only one who was disappointed in Sophie for showing up at the diner the second time? Kevin basically told her that she should give him another chance because he decided he wanted her back. If he thinks he’s changed man, he’s delusional. I’ve seen little from this character that isn’t simpering about the lack of attention he got as a child or his self-absorption and lack of self-awareness as an adult.

    And, jeez writers, could you cut Randall a break? Let this character have something good happen to him!

  15. Jake says:

    Wait, but guys, seriously what happened with Kate’s job?

  16. Barbara says:

    I love, love, love this show. Every character is so beautifully, subtly drawn. The acting is superb, and the story lines are engrossing and hit so close to home. This is every family everywhere, dealing with love, loss, relationships and all the wonderful, awful junk that goes with it.

    And then there’s Duke. Kill him off soon, k?

  17. Hine Robb says:

    How realistic is it that someone of Kate’s size would have two guys after her? If it is so easy to get a date as an obese woman, why so much pressure to lose the weight?

    • Kailani says:

      To me it’s equally unrealistic because Kate hasn’t really shown anything redeeming personality-wise to have two men all into her buzness, if you know what I mean. This isn’t fat shaming, it’s just she’s not emotionally attractive. Then again, neither are the two guys, so…