This recap contains spoilers for This Is Us Season 1, episode 8, titled “Pilgrim Rick.”
It’s Thanksgiving on This Is Us, which means the show that thrives on punching us in the feels has even more license to do so, because Thanksgiving is already fraught with family conflict and issues.
So. Many. Issues.
So really, why not heap some tears on the plate to top off the feast that is Turkey Day? Let’s unpack our emotional baggage and dig in.
What Else Can Go Wrong?
This week, we learned the story of the family traditions that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) established when the family was headed to Rebecca’s family’s house and their car caught a flat a few miles from the Pinewood Lodge motel. Desk clerk “Pilgrim Rick” became the basis for the pilgrim hat tradition Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) maintain to this day, along with a 3.4 mile hike, Thanksgiving cheese dogs and the yarn ball of thankfulness. This year, more than the yarn unravels, as Randall finds out a big piece of information. But more about that in a bit.
Kate Flies Solo, Literally and Figuratively
Kate (Chrissy Metz) is trying to get to the east coast to spend Thanksgiving with the family, but her flight is delayed for four hours. She’s traveling by herself as she has cut Toby loose, at least for the time being, because when he gave up his diet, it made Kate feel weak and out of control. Her decision to take a break from the relationship to focus on her own weight battle seems to be a smart one. By the time she makes it to Randall and Beth’s house following a rocky patch of turbulence and a surprising encounter with a fellow passenger she’s made a life-changing decision: She wants to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
The Thaw of Olivia
Kevin’s pitch to his theatre co-star Olivia (Janet Montgomery)about his family is refreshingly honest, and intriguing enough to her to make her accept his invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with them. Once they’re at Randall’s house though, Olivia thinks Kevin is trying to turn her into something she’s incapable of being: a warm, affable person. But after a short chat with William, the gravity of his terminal diagnosis flips a switch in her and instead of ducking out on Kevin after he tries to make her feel comfortable by giving her a piece of pie she never had with her own fractured family, she kisses him and says thank you. Looks like The Manny has a new showmance.
Why Didn’t You Tell Me?
Randall finds a letter from Rebecca when he goes to pick up William’s music jam tapes, and he quickly figures out his mom and William have known each other for many years. He makes it back to the house in time for dinner but can’t resist confronting her about it at the end of dinner as the family passes the yarn ball to declare what they’re thankful for. Cue the tears. All the tears.
Soooo, how many feels did we get punched in this week? Conservatively speaking, five or six.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.