There is no shortage of awkward dinners on this week’s episode of This Is Us.
Last week’s episode introduced young Randall (Lonnie Chavis)’s struggle with his race, how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is trying to help Randall and followed the new relationship between Randall and his teacher, Mr. Lawrence (Brandon Scott).
This week follows Malik (Asante Blackk) convincing Deja (Lyric Ross) to skip school and explore Philadelphia, which results in both families arranging a dinner to discuss their children. The evening is paralleled with Mr. Lawrence and his wife attending dinner at the Pearson’s, per Jack’s request.
Malik and Deja have a really adorable day together in Philadelphia, exploring Malik’s favorite eateries, ice cream places and secret garden spots. Malik tries to hold Deja’s hand, and she becomes increasingly nervous that he’s going to be just like her mom’s boyfriends who lied and cheated. Malik, however, assures her he is being truthful with his words and feelings.
“I like you, Deja,” Malik said. “That’s the truth. And when I tell you you’re beautiful, that’s the truth, too.”
After the kids get in trouble for skipping school, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) decide to invite Malik and his family over for dinner. However, it’s clear pretty quickly that the parents start to beef. Beth is constantly putting Malik’s mom in her place with every passive-aggressive comment, and the dinner becomes very awkward very quickly.
The four parents send everyone away and begin to hash things out, but Deja comes downstairs and apologizes for lying about hanging out with Malik and apologizes for encouraging Malik’s behavior by skipping school with him, but says she won’t apologize for liking Malik.
Meanwhile, dinner with Mr. Lawrence isn’t going well either. Jack is constantly being territorial over Randall, and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is mad at his behavior. Jack decides to make things right after dinner by talking to Mr. Lawrence and explaining his feelings.
“If I’m being honest, ever since Randall could talk, he would ask me questions,” Jack said. “‘Why is everyone staring at us, dad?’ ‘Why don’t we have any black neighbors?’ He would ask questions, and I always had an answer for him. I don’t know how good the answers were, but I had them. And lately, his questions have gotten very complicated, and I feel like I’m letting him down. That kid is my whole world, and I’m out of my depth here.”
Mr. Lawrence affirms Jack’s parenting skills and tells him he just needs to start educating himself about these things. He gives him a book of poetry by Langston Hughes, and Randall and Jack bond over the poetry.
After Deja’s apology, the parents agree that the kids can see each other, as long as it’s supervised. The episode ends with Deja telling Randall and Beth about Malik, and the audience gets to see their first kiss at the end of their day in Philadelphia.
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This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.