‘This Is Us’ 3×08 Review: ‘Six Thanksgivings’

Thanksgiving with the Pearsons is always an eventful holiday. This year’s Turkey Day was a little more low key than previous seasons, but just as effective. With Kevin halfway around the world, and everyone else doing their own thing, this was definitely an unconventional Thanksgiving for the family.

Katoby is in charge

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I know I’ve been saying this all season, but now I’m starting to surprise myself by how much I mean it. Toby has grown on me a lot this season. Since Randall had campaign duties to perform, he left his sister and her husband in charge of making their Thanksgiving dinner.

Apparently, Toby is a disaster in the kitchen, though, because they somehow ended up getting take out instead. On the surface, ruining Thanksgiving dinner might seem annoying. But he made up for it with the epic “Jack Pearson” save, as Kate called it.

But dinner wasn’t all that Kate and Toby were left in charge of. Tess was feeling sick, so Beth and Randall left her at home with the newlyweds. They called it practice for when they had a sick one of their own. The thing is, Tess was feeling under the weather because it was that time of the month. The way Toby realized this was a great moment. I actually really loved his description for a period. It was classic Toby.

Since this was more of Kate’s domain, he sent her to talk to Tess. This led to one of the sweetest heartfelt talks on this show, ending with Tess coming out to her aunt. It was such a beautiful and subtle moment. I’m confused as to why Tess would come out to Kate, though, because she seemed closer to Kevin. But I’ll take it. It was a good scene and I won’t knock it.

Thanksgiving is a time for family and community

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Beth and Randall spent the day with Annie and Deja, volunteering at a soup kitchen. This was part of his campaign and it seemed like a really great idea. However, there is a lot of tension brewing within Randall’s campaign. With Jae-won as his campaign manager and Beth as his field director, Randall is being pulled in two different directions.

It’s very obvious that he wants to please everyone, but he can’t do that when the two people working on his campaign have such different point of views.

What’s crazy is that I agree with both Beth and Jae-won. I know Randall doesn’t want to appear like he’s buying votes. But I also know he needs votes to win. I still think he’d be a great councilman but his campaign is a mess right now.

I really hope that Jae-won and Beth get on the same page soon. Otherwise, they’re going to cost Randall this election.

Thanksgiving in Vietnam is a hit and a miss

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I’m really glad we got to catch up with Jack in Vietnam during the holiday. I’m even glad that we got a subtle confirmation about the origin of Jack’s necklace.

I just think they missed an opportunity by not paralleling Jack’s Thanksgiving with Kevin’s while he was in Vietnam. It’s getting really difficult to root for Nicky Pearson though. I completely understand why he has such disdain for the people of this country. He hasn’t had the best experience and he’s already lost people he cares about. But so has Jack and the war hasn’t changed him as much as his brother. Jack is still a good person.

 

That is why he gathers leftover turkey to give to a family in need in the village. It’s also why he makes it his mission to heal a little boy’s foot after he got cut on Nicky’s wiring. This is where the necklace comes in. As a thank you, the mom of the little boy gave Jack her necklace. And that photo that led Kevin to Vietnam? It was much more innocent than he thought. Jack was only helping the woman carry her buckets of water because he really is that good a person.

It doesn’t seem like Jack has any more children out there. It looks like Kevin is just about to find out that his dad really was a superhero.

No longer a Miguel hater

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Little by little, I’ve let go of my hatred for this character. Most of the time, I find I don’t care about him. But then he does something so spectacular that I feel like I’m being forced to care. And for some reason, I find myself actually liking him.

Rebecca and Miguel are spending Thanksgiving dinner with his kids, which is great. We finally get to know what they’ve been up to and how they feel about this marriage. Its not surprising that they’re not fans of his dad’s second marriage. However, they’re also total jerks, and now my annoyance has gone from their dad to them. I don’t know what it is about this family, but they have to be the hardest people to like on this show.

I am glad that Miguel stood up to them and defended Rebecca. That’s something Jack would have done and it’s what she deserves. I will say this though: I don’t know if I truly believe Rebecca and Miguel are actually in love. It seems like they’re just comfortable with each other. And considering the beautiful love story we’ve been seeing between her and Jack, it only makes it more difficult to root for her and Miguel.

Jack’s last Thanksgiving

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I have to hand it to the show for pulling such a great bait and switch on us with the opening scene of Rebecca crying. Before we saw Jack appear on the screen, I actually thought this was the family’s first Thanksgiving without Jack. It turns out this was the family’s last Thanksgiving with him.

Throughout these scenes, the family never looked happier. Jack and Rebecca were flirting. The kids were all getting along. It was the perfect holiday until you remember it was also their last.

Randall was working on his college essay and Miguel came to dinner since it was his first Thanksgiving after his divorce.

This is another reason why I find it so far fetched that Miguel and Rebecca would even end up together. For starters, she’s having a really hard time having him for dinner because his ex-wife is her best friend.

Rebecca was having difficulty coming to terms with being friends with her best friend’s ex but now she’s married to him. I’m just not buying it.

I know they’re trying to show us that people change and so do perspectives, but that’s a whole lot of change that I’m having a hard time believing. I’ve just decided to accept the fact that I may have finally started liking Miguel but that doesn’t mean that I am ever going to like him being married to Rebecca.

Highlights

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  • Randall was shirtless again. That is all. That’s the highlight.
  • Tess coming out was beautifully done and I applaud them.
  • It’s always nice to see William again but to see William and Jesse meeting for the first time was so sweet.
  • The Vietnam story line is so depressing but it feels so necessary right now.
  • Annie set up a giant teddy bear at the dinner table with the Pilgrim Rick hat so the family could face time with Kevin during dinner. These girls love their uncle so much.
  • Beth and Randall are usually a badass power couple but they need to stop shoehorning themselves into each other’s lives.
  • Kate and Toby are going to be great parents.
  • I love that she called Toby’s improvised dinner on the same level as her dad. He needed to hear that. Jack would like Toby very much.
  • It’s actually a good thing that Jack’s story in Vietnam isn’t about romance. I want Kevin to learn about how many lives his father changed because he was a really good person.
  • Randall’s college essay was on point and beautifully written. It was a hell of a theme for the entire episode.
  • I’m glad the family got one good last Thanksgiving together before Jack died.
  • I screamed when I realized who they cast as Miguel’s grown up daughter. It was Yara Martinez from Jane the Virgin and I adore her!
  • Did anyone else feel their heart breaking when Deja remembered being on the other side of the table while she was serving food at the soup kitchen? I love her and I just want to protect her so much right now.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9PM on NBC. Check out the promo for next week’s fall finale below: