This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Still There

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What's harder? Being a parent or being a child who has to live up your parents' expectations?

That's the question I found myself asking after This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4.

All of the characters – in various timelines – dealt with some kind of parent vs. child struggle, whether internal or external. 

Jack and Kevin - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4

In flashbacks, the Pearsons were battling not only the chicken pox but also Rebecca's mom, who blew into town hoping to lend a helping hand. Instead, all she added was stress and criticism. 

The mother/daughter dynamic between Rebecca and her mother mimics Kate and Rebecca's relationship in the future.

It seems as though that's why Rebecca was so calm and understanding when Kate finally unleashed everything she was keeping bottled inside; she knew those feelings all too well with her own mother. 

Except while Kate resents her mother for being too perfect, Rebecca resents her's because she's opinionated and cruel.

She doesn't hide her disappointment with Rebecca's family at all: she thinks Jack isn't a suitable candidate for her daughter, she thinks Kate needs to lose weight, she can't connect with Randall because he's black, and she thinks Kevin's only attribute is his pretty face. 

In other words, she's unbearable. And instead of lifting the weight of sick triplets during a snowstorm, she drives Rebecca crazy.

Eventually, their explosive fight about her mother being a racist is overheard by Randall, who hilariously asks his parents if "grandma shot Martin Luther King."

Learning about racism is always disheartening but imagine it coming from your own grandmother, let alone a grandmother you tried to impress to no avail; one who believes all your good at is playing basketball, even though you go to private school and understand Newton's Law. 

Rebecca's mother - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4

If it wasn't for Jack keeping Rebecca cool, calm, and collected, Janet would be driving back home mid snow storm.

In the present, Kevin is forced by his producer to see a doctor, who advises surgery to fix the tear in his knee.

His procedure and healing process allows us to learn more about what happened 20 years ago when he fractured his knee. 

His fractured knee basically cost him his whole football career; one that made his father very proud. 

The knee goes hand-in-hand with father's death because not only did he lose his dream of playing professionally, he also lost his number one fan.
Memories of his father saying "tough it out" rush back, which also explains why he has this crazy idea to push through the pain to speed up recovery.

It's been 20-years later, I've been working my ass off and I am finally on the brink of something special and real and fulfilling. And I will be damned if I let this stupid knee destroy another one of my dreams.

He believes that this way, he won't lose acting just like he lost football. 

I kept wanting to yell at him through my television because, despite his good intentions, he was risking injuring himself permanently. 

After watching a video of his old football days, Kevin turns to those prescription pills again.

Pills: 2 Kevin: 0. 

Kevin Football - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4

His reasoning for not taking painkillers is because they make him feel fuzzy, but maybe he's just scared to use again.

This could mean he had an addiction problem like his father, or it could mean we're staring one in the face. 

And if so, this knee is the least of his worries because a pill popping addiction will ruin your career faster than any injury. 

I found myself enjoying the Deja storyline a lot more than I thought I would, especially when she bonded with Beth. 

Randall is trying so hard to be Deja's hero and the one that she turns to when she's looking for a friend or a shoulder to cry on. But honestly, I don't know if he's ever going to get it. 

Girls connect with their mother's. We love our dads and being "daddy's girl" but we go to our mom's for everything. Especially Deja, who seems to have a very strong relationship with her mother despite her problems with the law. 

Sometimes, a girl just needs her mom, specifically when it comes to feminine issues that could cause some embarrassment. 

After being bullied for her stinky hair at the bowling alley, which saw Randall almost throwing down with a dad, she finally asked Beth to do her hair. 

Beth and Deja  - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4

Seeing Beth be loving, comforting, and accepting, was juxtaposed with the opinionated mothers like Janet and the mothers who give backhanded compliments like Rebecca. 

It seemed like they finally made a breakthrough, but then Randall tried to talk to her and revealed that Beth told him everything they'd talked about. 

Deja is a young girl who doesn't necessarily trust people, and at that moment, she felt her trust was broken. 

The only way she knows how to cope with pain is by shutting down, shutting everyone out, and acting out. Unfortunately, that meant she chopped off her cute braids! 

It's still too early for her to realize that by trying to hurt others, she's actually hurting herself the most. 

She's been placed with a nice, patient, and loving family. I hope they don't give up on her because this will be an uphill battle that takes them two steps forward and three steps back. 

Kate was intensely focused on her weight, but I didn't believe for a second that she was simply motivated by the idea of fitting into a dress for a gig at a bat mitzvah.

Kate on This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4

This was bigger than just her personal issues with weight management. 

The yoga class, the doctor visit, the vitamins, it all pointed to one thing –  there's a little Pearson on the way. 

Yes, Kate is pregnant! 

And just like that – waterworks. 

You've done it again This Is Us. 

But while pregnancy is always exciting, I can't help but wonder if Kate is ready for this.

She clearly hasn't worked through her issues with her own mother and she's still not accepting of her own body.

Can she actually handle being a mother? Will it make her a better mother?

Remember to watch This Is Us online and comment with your thoughts, opinions, and arguments! 

Still There Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (64 Votes)

Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..

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This Is Us Season 2 Episode 4 Quotes

Kate: We had sex two days ago.
Toby: I know and you were checking your Fit Bit calorie burner the whole time.

It's been 20-years later, I've been working my ass off and I am finally on the brink of something special and real and fulfilling. And I will be damned if I let this stupid knee destroy another one of my dreams.