‘This Is Us’ 3×07 Review: ‘Sometimes’

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Sometimes this show makes us cry and other times it makes us cry and feel things. Tonight’s episode of This Is Us did exactly that. It made us feel deeply for these characters that we’ve already grown to love. This episode featured three different road trips on two different continents. One was romantic, the other was tense and the third was real. Let’s dive in and discuss how they were all connected!

Jack Pearson claims he’s not a crier

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We’ve always heard this about Jack. His kids and his wife claim that they rarely, if ever, saw the Pearson Patriarch cry. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. On their previously foreshadowed road trip from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, Jack and Rebecca continue to learn about each other as they fall in love. Rebecca has a meeting with a record label in the City of Angels and even though they’ve only known each other for a week and have been on the road for a few days, she realizes that she’s already falling for this man. Its very clear that he has fallen for her too. He’s just having difficulty letting her in.

Being a veteran who just got back from Vietnam means that Jack is dealing with serious PTSD and survivor’s guilt. His PTSD manifests in the form of nightmares that he doesn’t want to talk about and jumping at any loud bangs he may hear, such as someone popping the cork off champagne. Rebecca is surprisingly very understanding about this. It’s almost as if she’s done a bit of research since their first date because her reaction to Jack’s trauma is significantly different from their first date.

While in LA, Jack decides to visit Roger’s parents in a nearby town. Roger was the young man from Jack’s platoon who died when he stepped on an IED in the Vietnam episode earlier this season. Apparently, Jack’s been carrying around the guilt of his death all this time. But when he tells these parents about the night their son died, it’s like a weight is lifted because they don’t actually blame him.

When he returns to pick up Rebecca at her meeting, he asks her to sing the song from her demo. Even though she doesn’t really want to at first, she quickly realizes it’s something he needs to hear in that moment. Moved to tears by the sound of her voice, Jack Pearson finally allows himself to mourn all the people he lost in the war. Jack Pearson may not be a regular crier but he has cried. Now we just know that it takes a lot to break him. No wonder his family thinks he’s a superhero.

It’s hard to know who your allies are in war

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Picking up from the moment Jack found his brother in Vietnam, we finally get a resolution to that reunion. Nicky is upset that his brother followed him to Vietnam and Jack is just trying to figure out how to get his brother out of there. He asks for permission to take his brother with him but is denied his request.

He then has to find his way back to his camp before nightfall. On his way, he meets a local man who gives him a ride. Jack’s taking a huge risk by hitching this ride because there is no way he can tell if this man is a friend or foe.

It turns out that this man is VC but only sometimes. He’s not necessarily a bad man and he doesn’t betray Jack but that doesn’t mean this entire trip was not super tense.

 

Jack spent the majority of it looking over his shoulder and paranoid. He did eventually make it back to his camp and then we later found out that his request was granted.

They sent Nicky to him so that Jack could straighten him out but he’s got two weeks to do it. I wonder if Nicky’s death happens within those two weeks. It would definitely explain Jack’s guilt over his brother’s death and why he won’t talk about it later in life.

Like Father, Like Son

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In the present timeline, Kevin and Zoe have finally made it to Vietnam. They’re trying to retrace Jack’s steps. Guided by a photograph and his father’s necklace, Kevin is confident that there’s a story there. But while having dinner in a market place, he learns that his father’s necklace was a souvenir that anyone could purchase in a gift shop.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t an epic story attached to his father’s necklace. We caught a glimpse of that origin at the start of this episode. I always find it so interesting when this series decides to give us backstory in a unconventional way. The story behind the necklace was deeper than Kevin might have originally thought but we still don’t know how Jack ends up with it.

While in Vietnam, Kevin and Zoe are clashing. Their relationship is still relatively new but they’re starting to get to the part where they need to talk about the real stuff. Kevin wants Zoe to open up the way he’s opening up to her but Zoe is still a fortress he can’t seem to penetrate.

It’s not until she gets sick from the food in Vietnam and Kevin plays the dutiful nurse that Zoe finally starts to open up. The story about the abuse she experienced at the hands of her father was heartbreaking. It just reminded Kevin that not everyone was lucky enough to grow up with a dad like Jack Pearson.

I love that Zoe and Kevin paralleled Jack and Rebecca during both their trips. Both couples were falling in love but only one of them could be open with one another. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t Jack and Rebecca! I have a good feeling about Kevin and Zoe’s relationship. I think they’re going to be fine and that makes me really happy.

All Roads Lead Here

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In this episode, all three road trips led to similar destinations.

On their trip to Los Angeles, Rebecca came to realize that she wanted to try to build a future with Jack. In Vietnam, Kevin and Zoe finally confessed to one another that they were both falling in love with each other. And during his time in Vietnam, while setting up camp on the way back to his platoon, Jack came across a the woman from the photograph Kevin now has.

Whether or not this is a woman that Jack will come to love remains to be seen but it’s not a coincidence that these three trips all led to three very significant forks in the road for all these characters. It’s hard to ignore the parallels as a viewer and a fan of the series. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all connect as the season continues and Jack’s mysterious past in Vietnam continues to unfold.

Highlights

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  • Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia’s chemistry continues to blow me away.
  • Kevin and Zoe are basically endgame now, right? This episode totally confirmed that, didn’t it?
  • I love the Vietnam backstory but it’s killing me that we’re getting it in bits and pieces. I just want to know everything already.
  • Zoe ate bats and that’s pretty gross. She’s definitely braver than I ever could be.
  • Kevin Pearson is totally Jack Pearson’s son. I love them both so much.
  • The fact that they included sexual abuse in Zoe’s backstory is so relevant right now. I’m looking forward to watching her and Kevin learn more about each other. I know this show will do right by her and this topic of conversation, especially in a post Me Too era. That’s so important.
  • Every time Mandy Moore gets to sing on this show, I get excited. I had all her albums growing up. She needs to release a new album soon.
  • I feel sorry for Nicky but he needs to stop being a jerk to his brother. Jack’s only trying to help.
  • They’re showing how ugly the Vietnam war was on all sides. I’m glad. Most people my age don’t know much about this war. It’s not something we dwell on. I’m glad this show is making sure to show it with the upmost respect for people who were directly involved in it.
  • Jack crying while Rebecca sang her song was the perfect way to end this emotionally charged episode. Where is Milo’s Emmy?
  • “Let’s go home.” Is this the moment Rebecca gave up on her singing dream to build a life with Jack in Pittsburgh? It sure feels like it.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9PM on NBC. Check out the promo for next week’s Thanksgiving themed episode here:

 


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