This Is Us Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Pilgrim Rick

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It's hard to believe how much a television show can affect you.

After watching This Is Us Season 1 Episode 8, I'm sad. I can't smile. I'm worried about Randall and the family. I'm horrified that Randall's beautiful Thanksgiving traditions may have just all gone up in smoke.

In seven episodes, I have become an honorary member of the Pearson family, and what happens to them happens to me. If they are gut punched, I am gut punched. But now I have to sit with this feeling for an entire week. 

Detour - This Is Us

It's hard to imagine how Rebecca is going to explain away what happened before anyone even got a bite of their food. And what could have and should have been a personal moment between mother and son played out on Thanksgiving day in front of the entire family, all because she was afraid to face it.

Maybe Rebecca thought William would die, taking the secret with him to the grave and no one would be the wiser. Except secrets have a way of sneaking out. And more often than not at times when they make the most dreadful impact.

Jack: I always thought when my parents died, we'd get to do our own thing. Make up our own stupid traditions with the kids.
Rebecca: That's because you're a very, very naive man.

I'm a sucker for family traditions and knew in my heart that what we were watching unfold in the past would become Randall's best Thanksgiving and the day on which he based his own family's holiday.

His pure joy from the moment of waking up carried onward throughout the day. Jumping on beds, single handedly getting the entire meal started, playing music that took him back to the day the Pearsons got their own crazy traditions, just like dad wanted.

Man, I am so pumped! My mom and biological father eating at the same table? How great is this?


He was so pleased to be sharing such a special day with both his mother and his biological father and every other person who was going to be there. Knowing he was going to end the day with an argument seemed impossible.

I'm glad, though, that he found the letter on his own while doing something special for William. If Beth had pushed Rebecca to tell Randall on THAT day, it could have had even worse ramifications.

Considering how special Randall held the holiday, I was surprised Beth was pushing the issue of ruining it going forward. Because it's hard to imagine the vigor with which he greeted the day will be quite the same the next time the holiday rolls around. Don't you think it will be tainted?

And what a shame. It's unfair that something Randall loves so much may be forever changed. I don't know how it can be salvaged but really hope that it is, because to lose that kind of passion for a holiday is a terrible sacrifice.

For the young Pearson family, they originally hated the holiday, which meant a day with grandma and grandpa, who treated Randall differently, force scratchy sweaters on Kate, made Rebecca act mean and talk in a higher pitch and forced Jack to suffer through his brother-in-law's bragging all day.

It was a crap day. And it took what seemed like a terrible event to show them how great Thanksgiving could really be. Jack was such a great dad, and it's easy to see why Kevin has had such a hard time letting him go and inviting Miguel into his life.

The Pilgrim Rick stuff was theirs. They witnessed it and lived it. Miguel wasn't a part of it. He didn't roast the hot dogs over an open furnace flame, wrap them in cheese and crushed crackers. That was their dad. Even as an adult, it's tough to let another person assume the mantle of the person you loved.

But I was very proud of Kevin for seeing the look on Miguel's face and being, finally, a bigger man than the brat he was acting with Miguel earlier. We'll have to find out how everything fell together with Rebecca and Miguel to get a better handle on it.

It was funny that Randall had to remind Kevin Miguel is their step father, not a member of ISIS. That was pretty good.

Olivia is really a tough nut to crack, but is it any surprise William was able to set her straight? He missed his calling as a therapist. I don't expect Olivia to change much, really, but maybe she'll be able to appreciate the little things a bit more, and stop being so deathly negative about all things.

Kevin's explanation of their family to her was interesting after she called them white bread. He settled on ciabatta bread, and went into a thorough description of the members of the family, finishing up with something like, "don't you want to get a look at that close up?"

And geez, when you hear about them out loud, it is hard not to want to see them in person.

Kate flew to Randall's on the busiest travel day of the year, and got there just after the dinner fiasco. I saw the wheels turning in her head during the Thanksgiving triggers support meeting about the gastric bypass surgery, and wondered if she would be doing that.

The woman next to her on the plane opening up gave her inspiration to do the same because life is too short. I hated that she had to get the seatbelt extender and feel humiliated just flying. Plane seats are already about the size of a high chair, though, so don't be surprised if you find yourself on an older plane in need of one yourself.

And getting the surgery might save Kate's relationship with Toby, too. Although you CAN overeat and make yourself really unwell even after the surgery, so if he's a trigger, she'd still have them.

Over the past week, Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate, has said it's written into her contract that she has to lose weight. That makes writing about her character in reviews even harder. I feel as though I'm writing about Chrissy by way of Kate when I write about the weight stories, and that was made even more difficult knowing this.

I wonder if she's also getting gastric bypass. You'd have to think she is, because it's something that makes the weight fall off fairly quickly, and Chrissy didn't do the same, that would be weird. 

This Is Us Season 1 Episode 9 will feature the three siblings all together for the first time. Finally. Hopefully, Randall will be at peace by that point, and we can really get to see the dynamic between the three. 

Tell me what you thought of the Thanksgiving episode, Pilgrim Rick and everything else! If you haven't watched yet, you can watch This Is Us online to become a part of this wonderful family.

Pilgrim Rick Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (85 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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This Is Us Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Jack: I always thought when my parents died, we'd get to do our own thing. Make up our own stupid traditions with the kids.
Rebecca: That's because you're a very, very naive man.

I hate going to grandma and grandpa's! Whenever we take pictures, they always say, 'Okay, okay, now one with just the twins.'