‘This is Us’ 4×04 Review: ‘Flip a Coin’

Have you wondered how life is a series of decisions that you make daily? A flip of the coin, if you will. Heads, you go right. Tails, you go left. One decision could change the entire course of your life. This week’s episode focused on that premise and also provided some very interesting backstory for these characters. The episode left me in tears. Let’s cry about it together.

Flip a Coin

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I realize that it is probably cheating to use the title of the episode as the title of this section but trust me, it fits. This episode showed that each and every one of these characters came to a fork in the road at some point of their lives where the decision they made was able to alter the course of their story.

Rebecca, while still mourning the loss of Jack, decided it was time to turn the page and start a new chapter. She did so by telling Kate it was time to move out of their tiny apartment. Kate decided to get up from the couch. I know that seems small but like we’ve seen with her entire arc thus far, even the smallest change she makes holds some significance. Kevin stuck with The Manny Pilot despite having a terrible first day. The role shot him to super stardom that led to his infamous breakdown on set.

And Beth kissed Randall in college, after her mother told her it’d be better to stay away from that family.

It’s so crazy to me that all these small decisions could make such a huge difference in a person’s life. But I guess that’s what life is. Just a series of small decisions that are made on this journey until the journey comes to an end. I think that’s beautiful.

Drama in Philly

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The day has come for Beth’s new dance studio to finally open and her mom is in town to show her support. But Mama C is no picnic. She was hard on Randall from day one. I know, I was shaking my head too because Randall is the best. Most of the time. But by the end of the episode, he proved to his mother in law why she had been wrong about him all along. His love for her daughter and the way he’d literally go above and beyond for his wife just proves how much he adores this woman. I know most people gravitate toward Jack and Rebecca when talking about relationship goals. Don’t get me wrong, they are great. But the real couple goals of this show are Beth and Randall. Their united front is inspiring. I’m four seasons in and I’ve decided that yeah, I want that one day.

On the flip side (get it? ha!) Randall and Beth are finally meeting Mallik. The first impressions are going really well at first. Then Mallik let’s it slip that he’s a teen dad. Randall and Beth are not cool with that at all. And I get it. Deja is only fourteen and here’s this sixteen year old kid with a daughter acting very interested in her. But I’m going to say this. I was sort of right. I knew Randall would have an issue with Mallik. That was a given. The other thing I was right about? Deja and Mallik are going to mirror Beth and Randall’s beginning.

Right now, Randall and Beth are not fans of Mallik. Neither was Mama C a fan of Randall’s when she first met him. Now look where they are all these years later.

I have a feeling Deja and Mallik are going to end up together and we’re going to see them both in the flash forward raising Mallick’s daughter and child of their own together. I can envision it already. And I’m here for it.

The New Big Three?

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Cassidy and Kevin c=cross paths again in this episode. Once again, it’s because of Nicky. And if he wasn’t so self-centered, I’d think Uncle Nicky was doing it on purpose. In this episode, the three former alcoholics spent most of the episode killing time before an AA meeting that afternoon. Kevin took them all shopping for a new RV. He’s been trying to convince Nicky that his old one was falling apart. Cassidy comes along for the ride because it beats ending up at a bar somewhere. Plus, I think Kevin amuses her a little.

Throughout the episode, she’s given a front row seat to his life. She’s not wrong either. Kevin does live a pretty strange life. He’s always getting stopped by fans no matter where he goes. And somehow he stays so gracious about it all. Cassidy gets to see a different side to Kevin in this episode and even tones down some of her animosity toward him. I saw sparks brewing this week. Honestly, I might be starting to actually ship them if they keep going in this direction.




In the end, Kevin buys a new RV, but not for Nicky. He gets it for himself. I guess this means he’s going to be sticking around on the east coast for the time being. Perhaps, he’ll be running into Cassidy more and more.

Representation Matters

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I know that I have used this title before to talk about something but honestly, why fix something that isn’t broken. I keep reiterating this because it’s important. This show does a tremendous job whenever they touch on some really topical subjects. In this case, Jack’s disabilities played a big part of this episode. Kate signed up her son for a baby music class. On the surface, I completely understand why. She loves music and she wants Jack to love it too. She also wants him to be like other kids and she feels music is a way to do that.

The thing is, these waters are hard to navigate. She should have eased him into it a little more slowly. That’s why I love the parallel between the disastrous music class in the beginning and their family beach day at the end.

It’s also really interesting that Jack was afraid of music early in his life. Especially because he grows up to be this superstar recording artist eventually.

I’m not sure when he’ll revisit music but it’s safe to assume that he does at some point. That’s going to be exciting to watch!

Highlights

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  • Randall absentmindedly giving Beth his lemon because she likes lemon in her coke is exactly what I want in my next relationship.
  • Kate and Rebecca dancing in the living room for the first time since Jack died.
  • It looks like teen Kate’s getting a boyfriend this season.
  • All the flashbacks to Kevin shooting the pilot for The Manny because I’d actually forgotten that was a thing.
  • Also shout out to the show for actually canceling it in canon and not just letting it fall into oblivion. Points for continuity!
  • The way Randall stood up to Mama C in this episode.
  • I loved that Mama C finally saw in Randall what we’ve always known about him. He is Jack Pearson’s son.
  • Toby and Kate taking baby Jack to the beach was beautiful. But why haven’t they shown us adult Jack anymore? I can think of a couple times they could have shown him by now.
  • Cassidy + Kevin… Yeah, I ship it.
  • Nicky’s backstory for the RV that he lives in was so heartbreaking.
  • Mallik is such a good kid and I know that Beth and Randall will see that eventually.
  • The baby thing is definitely going to be problem going forward and both sets are parents on a trajectory to crash for sure.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9PM on NBC. Check out the trailer for next week here:




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