Six Thanksgivings. Four great stories.
This Is Us Season 3 Episode 8 attempted one of its biggest feats to date to tell six cohesive, individual stories.
And while I admire the attempt, six was just too many, especially since only four of them made an impact.
While I have been invested in the Vietnam story so far, it just didn't fit in with every other story being told.
The Thanksgiving element in the story didn't add nearly as much as it did with the others.
It really could've been told another time. I'm worried Dan Fogelman and the This Is Us writers are going to try and rush through this story, and they really shouldn't.
It's a story that doesn't need to appear in every episode to be remembered.
It also didn't really progress. The only thing of note we learned was how Jack got the necklace. And it was because he played the role of Superman once again.
The Vietnam story shines brightest when it stands alone and is given time to flesh out. It didn't have the chance to do that here.
The other Thanksgiving story that fell flat was William's. Ron-Cephas Jones knocks every scene he's in out of the park, but his story with Jesse felt so rushed.
I started using cocaine in the late 70s. I liked cocaine. That's not true, I liked Manchester United, I love cocaine!Jesse
There's obvious chemistry between them, but it would have been better if This Is Us gave there romance more time to blossom before our eyes.
Their meet-cute was told so quickly that it left a lot to be desired.
The idea behind "Six Thanksgivings" paid off for other characters but was rather ineffective when it came to William.
Those stories could have used more time to flesh themselves out in this episode, but two stories told on "Six Thanksgiving" really thrived in the short storytelling format.
Tess has never had a major impact on the show, besides the one time she snuck into a drunk Kevin's car.
"Six Thanksgivings" ended up being a very important episode not only for the character but also for the show and television in general.
Kate: I know you have a mom, but if there is anything you ever want to talk to me about, anytime. I mean pretty soon you're going to have your first kiss and your first boyfriend.
Kate: Or girlfriend. Yeah, or girlfriend.
It's rare for any LGBTQ+ story to be told about anyone under the age of 16. The Fosters is the only show I can think of that's addressed the situation before.
Tess's brief conversation with Kate ended up being one of the most beautiful moments on this show.
For a pre-teen to feel comfortable enough to share her sexuality with a loved one is something that's hardly ever done, even in 2018.
Tess's bravery and Kate's quick acceptance was refreshing to see. So many coming out stories involve loved ones freaking out when they hear this news. Kate was calm and collected when Tess told her.
Kate has truly grown up in just a matter of episodes. Seeing her play the role of Aunt Kate is something we don't often get to see.
I hope this isn't the last we see of Kate and Tess confiding in one another.
It not only highlighted how great of a mother Kate's is going to be (hopefully) but it also shined a light on a character who is often pushed to the background.
"Six Thanksgivings" also saw the return of the old Kate and Toby.
The couple has been faced with a lot of obstacles as of late, and for the first time in a long time, Katoby got the chance to be the fun-loving couple we remember them to be.
Toby's desire to be just like Jack Pearson for one day was also really sweet.
It's nice to know that even though Toby never met the man, he still wants to aspire to be the legend Kate has made him out to be.
Toby may not have made the perfect Thanksgiving dinner like Randall would have, but he still managed to save the day with a little bit of Jack Pearson magic on his side. No wonder Kate loves this guy.
Kate: What is this?
Toby: This is what happens when you leave me by myself to handle Thanksgiving dinner. The trouble started when the cranberry sauce boiled over and exploded all over me. Then the trouble ended when I went to baste the turkey, then dropped the turkey and then stepped onto, nay, into the turkey. So I had to improvise.
Kate: You know what this is?
Toby: A disaster?
Kate: No, this is like Jack Pearson level magic.
Toby: Blasphemy! Take it back, you take it back.
Kate: I will not!
"Six Thanksgivings" was also a significant episode for the highly underappreciated Miguel.
He's usually portrayed as this very well-put together guy who always manages to be the shoulder to cry on for Jack or Rebecca.
However, this time it was Miguel who needed to lean on Jack during a difficult time in his life. Miguel's family was rarely mentioned before, and it isn't hard to see why.
When him and Rebecca (in the present timeline), go and see his family for Thanksgiving for the first time in a long time, things are so awkward that it made me uncomfortable.
Miguel's son was a real jerk.
One thing we did learn during that horrible dinner was that Rebecca has a type. She loves a man who can deliver a damn fine speech.
If he hadn't proved it to you before, he has this time. Miguel truly loves Rebecca, quite possibly as much as Jack did before he died. (That was a blasphemous statement, I know).
Just like Tess, "Six Thanksgivings" gave Miguel a spotlight he often doesn't get. His family may not appreciate him, but the Pearsons sure do, and This Is Us fans should too!
It was also super lovely to see the banter among the teen Pearsons and their parents during this Thanksgiving.
Being teenagers, the Pearsons at this time in their lives can be a tad annoying, always bickering over the smallest of things.
For the first time that I can remember, both Kevin and Kate, and Jack and Rebecca rallied around Randall to help him with his college essay.
To see small, happy moments sprinkled on top of the many tragic ones the teenage Pearsons had to face makes those moments that much more special and heartwarming to watch.
I was left at a fire station by my birth father. I was found by a fireman who took me to a hospital where doctors showed me to my father, who showed me to my mother. My story is unique and I feel like it's like that for everyone. Strangers can be your most impactful people. Acquaintances can be your most impactful people. Family can be your most impactful people. And that's why I can't pick the person who has had the greatest impact on my life and why I think your question is flawed. But if you insist on me answering and its the only way I can gain entrance into your storied university, I choose the fireman.Teen Randall
While all of the characters were growing their relationships in small ways, Beth and Randall's relationship seems to be fracturing.
Like almost everyone predicted, Randall's idea to bring Beth onto his campaign team was a mistake.
It's not because she didn't have good ideas, but because Randall went with every idea she had even if they weren't good for his campaign. That made Beth feel devalued.
Beth needs a job that's going to challenge her, and Randall's attempt to make her feel better by agreeing with everything she suggested blew up in his face.
Not only did he piss off his campaign manager, he hurt his wife more than she already was.
Beth and Randall are at an even worse place then they were before, and if Randall doesn't sit down and listen to what Beth needs right now, their marriage might be in big trouble.
What did you think of "Six Thanksgivings"?
Which story was your favorite?
How do you think Beth and Randall will react when Tess eventually tells them she likes girls?
Do you think Jack will pursue a romantic relationship with the Vietnamese woman?
Do you think Randall and Beth's marriage is in trouble?
Let us know in the comments below and if you need to catch up, make sure to watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic!
Brandon Viera is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.