As This Is Us quickly approaches its fourth season finale, it’s only fitting that the show spends three of the last four episodes doing a Big Three three-part special on each of the triplets. With one episode dedicated to each child, then one episode left for the season finale, it’s leaving audiences to wonder where the Pearsons will leave off.
Last week’s episode ended with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) discovering an intruder in his kitchen late at night.
This week’s episode is Randall’s dedicated episode of the Big Three three-part special, highlighting his nightmares, anxiety and fear throughout his entire life. Luckily, the episode starts off on a high note with no one getting hurt by the intruder but quickly spirals from there.
Randall installs a security system in his house and is riddled with anxiety watching each notification come to his phone. He’s trying to deal with city council issues while simultaneously burying his stress about his home invasion.
Meanwhile, the audience gets a look into college Randall (Niles Fitch)’s anxieties and stresses after a fire drill in his dorm. He is unable to get sleep, so he has college Beth (Rachel Hilson) stay the night with him.
Adult Randall continues to struggle but is doing his best. He ends up having a talk with Darnell (Omar Epps), where Darnell recommends he see a therapist, resulting in a wonderful conversation with multiple layers of therapy and race.
“Look bro, I get it,” Darnell said. “Us men of a certain shade, we’re not always used to talking. But that’s therapy, right? Just talking. It doesn’t always have to be that deep.”
Randall turns down his suggestion and ends up going for a run. He encounters a woman being assaulted and robbed by a man, and Randall springs into action, beating up the man and helping the woman.
This act is the final straw for Randall’s mental health. With an injured wrist and lack of sleep, he goes into his bathroom, locks the door and calls Kevin (Justin Hartley), breaking down. Kevin is there for him, helping him however he can.
The transition to Kevin sets up perfectly for next week’s episode because he’s currently visiting Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) for her mom’s funeral. However, it looks as if he’s in her bed, which poses a lot of audience questions for next week’s episode, which will focus on him.
This episode is wonderful for many reasons. First, Fitch’s acting is top tier in this episode, and the audience finally gets to see more of him after having lacked a lot of his presence lately. Brown’s acting is obviously incredible as well, but the audience would expect nothing less from him.
What stands out about this episode is the audience finally gets to see Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) make a bad parenting move. He tells the baby version of Randall that he has to be brave and handle himself because young Kevin and Kate are very high maintenance. This move results in a lot of Randall’s stress throughout his life.
Finally, it starts a great conversation about normalizing therapy, especially for people of color. It’s not an in-depth analysis of it, but it certainly opens a great door for people viewing the episode.
Here’s how audiences reacted on Twitter:
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.