‘This Is Us’ Review: “Number Two”

Pain. When you think about it takes all sorts of forms. Sometimes it’s outright angers, sometimes it’s denial, sometimes it’s breaking.

Sometimes it’s too much to feel.

When we left last weeks episode, we knew one thing for sure. Kate lost the baby. Those words were enough to make our hearts break. Those words were enough to make us feel pain for a character that is just that – a character.

But to me, Kate is so much more.

Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Yet, I digress.

Number Two is from Kate’s point of view. We see what happened with her surrounding the time that Kevin damaged his knee and found out that he could no longer play football. But in addition we also see what happened when she lost the baby.

Now, I am not Alyssa (who normally writes these reviews) and I admit that I have never liked Kate and Toby together. Why? Because I felt like he tried to keep her down. I have always felt that he wasn’t supportive of who she wanted to be, what she wanted to do, and how she wanted to change.

Let me tell you being fat isn’t easy. I know, I know – a lot of people think that it’s a matter of you eat too much and you don’t exercise. BUT – it’s so much. Being overweight, being fat is a personal thing. There are reasons that you eat, reasons that you don’t exercise, so when you find that motivation – that thing in your life to get your shit straight – you should embrace the shit out of it. And Kate did.

Number Two is a two fold episode and by that I mean we get to see two sides of Kate. We get to see Kate, the daughter and Kate, the woman who wants nothing more than to be a Mom.

And both are equally as heartbreaking.

From last weeks episode we know that Kevin was being scouted for college. We know that Randall was on his way to tour a school. But Kate, what did she want to be?

Well, she’s always felt like she’s in the shadow of her Mom. That no matter what she does – she’ll never amount to being the daughter that her Mom wants her to be. She’ll never be a good enough singer, daughter, or sister. She’s never gonna get her Mom to look at her the way that she looks at Kevin and Randall.

She’s never going to be enough. At least that’s what she thinks.

Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

And so she doesn’t tell her Mom the things that she wants to know and watching the episode, all I could think was that Kate was that way because she wanted to be the person that her Mom could be proud of. She wanted to be the one that was given a little too much attention, but didn’t know how to ask for it.

She’s never known how to be that vulnerable with her Mom, because in my opinion, her Mom has always looked at her as though she’s strong enough to deal with things on her own, but also been hurt that Kate has never opened up to her that way that she does to her Dad.

And maybe that’s not fair – on either side. But as much of a wall that Kate put up – from the time she was a kid to the time to now – I finally understood. I finally saw it. I finally got why she was that way.

Because in her own eyes she always had to be better, but she always fell short.

Because in her own eyes she always fell in comparison to her brothers.

Because in her own eyes, she was never going to be as good as her brothers to her Mom.

And it broke my heart to watch it unfold.

Her Mom snooped and found that Kate could sing. She found that she wanted to apply to Berkley College of Music. She thought that as she listened to the tape, she had finally found a common ground with Kate. So she wanted to be supportive, she wanted to give her that money for her application fee.

And sure, Kate doesn’t take it the right way. She gets angry. She gets mad and frustrated at her Mom. But I don’t think it was for the reasons that she snooped, but it was for the fear that she would do the one thing in her life that she couldn’t deal with – letting her Mom down.

What if she couldn’t get in? Would her Mom look at her like less than? Would she continue to feel like she let her down?

The truth is, we don’t always get our parents. Sure, they say that there is no favorite, but there always is. But what we don’t do often enough is cut our parents some slack. We don’t allow ourselves to remember that they are human.

Kates always been the one that felt like she had to take care of everything.

Her brothers don’t get along? She’ll be the one that does.

Her Dad drinks too much? She’ll be his rock.

Her parents fight? She’ll remind them that they love each other.

Her family has secrets that need to be kept? She’ll keep them.

That’s too much for a child to bear. But she took it on. And when she is there for her brother as she finds out that he can no longer play, she keeps it inside that she watches her Dad cry over the situation. She keeps it inside, because if there is one thing that she will always be strong for – that’s Kevin.

Again – too much for a kid to bear.

I feel for Kate, because hey – she doesn’t have to take it on, but she feel as though she does. Now, I know that it’s going to be a shitty thing to say, but that has to do with parenting – again, in my opinion. I feel like the Pearsons are loving parents and their kids come first, but lets be honest here – they’ve got issues that their kids can’t stop seeing.

They feel them.

Now lets fast forward to the future. The one where I want to crawl up in a ball and just cry, because Kate has lost her baby. Because we see the way that it happened.

Kate was terrified that something would happen to this pregnancy. We know she didn’t want Toby to get excited and that even when she told him about the baby, she told him that it probably wouldn’t happen. She didn’t know what to say, how to get her hopes up, how to believe in that, because the truth was – fear is a really powerful emotion.

She wants to do something so simple. Just make sure a baby bath will fit. She wants nothing more than to make sure that her baby is going to be taken care of. And as she walks into the bathroom, we think she’s gonna have just that.

But what we are greeted with is silence after a scream and some of the most powerful moments that I personally, have ever experienced on This Is Us.

Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

She’s in pain, physical pain.

A shower curtain is half down and she’s holding her stomach as she’s hurting.

And then we see her and Toby in the hospital and we see her learning that her biggest fear has come true.

She’s lost the baby.

So how does one deal? How do you cope when the only thing that you can’t deal with is the one thing that you have to deal with?

Pregnancy is a weird thing. From the moment you know, you just feel this overwhelming amount of love, of comfort, and of knowing that there is something that you want to protect more than you want to protect yourself. It’s hard to explain. Sure, some people don’t make that connection, but Kate had.

Kate had felt it deep.

And she lost that in a second of trying to do something good for her child. She lost and it’s the worst feeling in the world. She lost the one thing that she could love more than herself.

If there is one thing in my life that I have learned about love, fear, and disappointment when they combine is that there are sometimes when it becomes less about yourself and not letting the world see that can happen to you. You don’t want the world to be disappointed in you. As women we’re supposed to be able to be maternal and bear babies. We forget that sometimes it’s not meant to be and it’s not our fault.

Nature, life, destiny… whatever you want to call it happens.

And so Kate does what she knows how to do – internalize. Because like so many things in her life – it’s happened to her and she feels like she needs to be the pilar of strength for everyone else. She has always needed to protect her family, her world, from being hurt. So she goes on.

And she does her job. She goes to her singing gig. She realizes that she’s hurting and she leaves. And she starts to walk home.

Because that’s what she does.  She takes shit into her own hands and she just does it.

But we see Kate doing what a lot overweight people do – attempt to eat their feelings. All you can eat buffet during an emotional crisis? That’s like a foodgasm waiting to happen. But when she loads her plate, when she sits down and stares at it, but can’t eat a bite – we know that she doesn’t know how to deal.

Because she can’t even feel with food. (And before you want to think I am judging, I was 400 pounds until a year ago, and I am speaking as a person who felt with food).

When she gets home and she decides to finally pick up the phone and tell her Mom what happened, while trying to downplay it by not talking about it, I broke into hysterics. Why? Because I want Kate to see that she is good enough. I wanted Kate to see that her pain is worth talking about. Her pain is why she got here and she deserves to be able to let go.

And as much as I have never liked Toby, while all this is going on,  I finally saw him as being less of a controlling human and finally a man that just wanted to love Kate for who she is. He goes to stop the baby bath package from showing up. He’s a man on a mission who wants nothing more than to protect the woman that he loves. He doesn’t want her to feel pain.

Because he knows that she’s felt enough.

Love is a complex emotion. Sometimes one that goes through the best and worst of times, but if it’s there, it endures.

Toby endured. He wanted to put aside his pain, because loving Kate meant one thing – protecting her.

And after spending the day, making sure that package didn’t show up and going to her work and her not being there, worrying about her and then showing up and her being there, he’s still willing to take it all on, to protect her from the pain.

But Kate is scared that she’s let him down – so she says the one thing that stings – that it happened to her. That the miscarriage happened to her.

Now, what I am about to say may make me an asshole, but that’s okay. It’s okay for her to say that, cause to her that’s what it feels like. Miscarriages are the loneliest thing in the world. They are pain. They are anguish. They are disappointment in yourself. Sometimes you need to be reminded that you aren’t in it alone. You need to be reminded that shit did not just happen to you. What Kate said to Toby is shitty, but when Toby clapped back – I finally felt for the man.

Because loving Kate hasn’t been easy and his fight with her has been to make her see that she is good enough.

Loving someone and being vulnerable enough to let them love you through the good and the bad is not easy. But it’s the strongest thing that you can do.

I wasn’t shocked when Toby needed air. But what I was shocked about was that Kates Mom showed up at the door. I was shocked, because I thought that there was a line with the two of them that had been drawn. If anything I thought Kevin and Randall would be there.

But for me – Mrs. Pearson was finally redeemable. All those times that she overlooked Kate, all those times that she thought that she was strong enough to just be – she knew. She just finally knew that her daughter needed to be taken care of rather than taking care of anyone else.

And she was there.

She was the mother that Kate needed.

She was her strength when she needed it.

Her weakness when she needed it.

But it was another facet of Kate’s life where she was reminded that she wasn’t alone and that she was reminded that it was okay to be loved.

And so Kate could finally be vulnerable with Toby and they could both finally be in this together.

This Is Us is one of the most remarkable shows, because it hits you with not only “feels” but forces you to take a look at your feelings on things.

And I applaud that. Because this weeks episode made me take a look. We may not always know or understand peoples pain, but it’s our responsibility as human beings to be there for them. It’s also our responsibility as human beings to allow ourselves to feel our emotions.

We don’t have to deny our pain. We need to embrace it. It makes us better people,

Feeling your pain and working through it is one of the strongest things you can do.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC.

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