Who, if anyone, did Kevin sleep with, and when did he sleep with her?
That’s the question that arises during Tuesday’s This Is Us, and you’ll pardon me if I fixate on it even harder than Madison and Beth do, but the rest of the episode is so crushingly sad that I’m grateful for the distraction involving both Kev’s junk and his heart — not necessarily in that order.
See, Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s Disease is spiraling toward its inevitable and deeply painful end so quickly that it’s giving her loved ones, in Miguel’s words, “whiplash.” And here’s a terrible realization I had while watching the episode: There are still five-ish years to go before we reach the flash-forward that takes place in Rebecca’s final days. That’s a whole lot of heartache to endure before the end.
Get what I mean about the much-needed levity? Read on for the highlights of “The Day of the Wedding.”
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW | In a flashback to when Kate, Kevin and Randall are 6, Rebecca makes an impromptu decision to cut her hair like Princess Diana’s, in an effort to shake up the routine she feels is dragging her down. The kids are less than enthusiastic about their mom’s new ‘do, and Jack’s initial reaction isn’t super supportive, either. But after Rebecca explains why she felt the need to break out of the day-to-day monotony — and after Jack points out that their family routine provides him a comfort he never had as a kid living with volatile parents — he decides to make a rash aesthetic choice, too: He shaves his beard into a mustache. Then he gets a sitter, they go out on a rare Wednesday-evening date, and he talks Rebecca into sitting at the restaurant’s piano and singing a song.
WHEN IT’S YOUR WEDDING DAY… LOVE WILL FIND YOU | Then we jump to the day of Kate’s wedding, pieces of which we’ve seen in another of the show’s flash-forwards. Rebecca is confused as a stylist starts to do her hair, but Miguel gently reminds his wife where she is and what’s going on. When Randall and Kevin check in on her and remind her that she’s going to perform a song during the reception, Rebecca seems fine… until she says, “I just can’t wait for your father to get here.”
Miguel takes it in stride. Randall is deeply upset; he hasn’t seen her in this level of decline. Oh, and it’s not related but it is discussed in this scene: He’s also a newly minted senator now, having won his election.
In Kate’s room, after Beth and Madison leave to go get the twins dressed, Philip tells his bride-to-be that she looks spectacular… and worried. She admits that she’s concerned about Rebecca’s performance. “This is a melody she’s played us since we were kids, and if something goes wrong, she’ll be utterly devastated,” Kate says.
A short while later, the family gathers for a very early photo session — scheduled at the top of the day so that Rebecca will have plenty of time to rest before the ceremony gets underway. Everyone’s joking until Rebecca calls Kevin Jack and gets agitated when Randall corrects her. As Kev moves to his mother’s side, essentially standing in for his dad, a pall is cast over the proceedings. When The Big 3 and Philip hang out later, Kevin tells Randall that Rebecca is at the stage now where the doctor suggests going along with whatever she says and distracting her when needed. The change is sobering for everyone.
MIGUEL SHOWS STRAIN | During the downtime before the main event, Rebecca seems to be more lucid but then thinks Kevin is Jack — props to the show for finding a way to give Milo Ventimiglia a little more to do — and Kev is sad about it, but he goes along with it. Meanwhile, Miguel drags Randall away for a wine tasting. It seems like odd timing at first, but it becomes clear that Miguel just needs a break from the constant care and worry involved in seeing to a fading Rebecca. Randall doesn’t realize that at first, though, and calls out Miguel when he notices his stepfather’s hand shaking with a tremor.
Eventually, Miguel blows up. “I needed just one minute to feel like a human being,” he says, adding that the tremor is a side effect of some medicine he’s taking. He also mentions that “all of it” — aka Rebecca’s illness — is moving so fast, and things are only going to get worse. Aw, poor Miguel!
REBECCA PULLS THROUGH | Then it’s time for the ceremony. Everything goes pretty well, and the reception clicks along nicely with Kevin’s Princess Bride speech (which is a dud, though it makes Sophie laugh) and Randall’s toast about how time speeds up as you get older. Randall introduces his mom and asks her to come to the stage, and it looks like things are going to go badly; Rebecca doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. But then, as Philip predicted, she locks into her key and starts playing, and the music just flows out of her. Everyone is crying. (Side note: THIS is the song Rebecca sang to the kids when they were young? It’s so depressing!) When she’s done, everyone cheers.
THE LINEUP | Which brings us to the “Who’s the lady in Kevin’s hotel room?” mystery, which a bunch of us have been playing since the first wedding flash-forward but which Madison and Beth only get into when they visit his room to get the twins’ wedding outfits. They find a cocktail napkin with what seems like a poem written in women’s handwriting and that snowballs into their getting VERY into the true-crime aspect of searching the scene for clues. They find a bra, a wrap, and makeup in the bathroom — though Madison quickly points out that it’s hers, because Kevin sometimes borrows her foundation. (Beth’s FACE upon hearing this revelation is amazing.)
The ladies spend the rest of the hour trying to guess which lady spent the previous evening in Kevin’s room. Was it the wedding singer (played by Scandal‘s Katie Lowes), with whom Kevin had been chatting at the rehearsal? Was it Cassidy, his official plus-one? Or was it Sophie, his ex-wife who is still married to the guy she was with at Kate and Philip’s engagement dinner?
Beth and Madison go back and forth on their lead suspect, never fully landing on a sure thing. And later, when Randall directly asks his brother what took place the night before the wedding, Kevin says it’s a long story. “Is it a good story?” Randall wonders. Then we see flashes of Kevin walking with Sophie, talking with the wedding singer and escorting Cassidy into his room. “I don’t know yet,” Kev says wearily.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!