You can't escape life's pressures.
Even the best of times can cause stress, and as This Is Us Season 3 Episode 14 proves, those you have around you will make all the difference when it comes to handling pressure.
While Kate prepared to graduate from college, it brought back memories of high school graduation, childhood, and moving on for everyone in the family. Even Deja's story was relevant because of how it related to the stability of a robust support system.
The way everything tied together emphasized for the first time that the power of The Big Three is their ability to maintain contact and be there no matter how far away they may seem from each other.
Surely, we've all heard about the closeness of twins, and since Randall did not spend the womb time with his siblings, he always recognized something was a bit different between Kevin and Kate.
Jack's desire to purchase a video camera when The Big Three were toddlers offered an opportunity for the closeness of the Ks to be seen fully.
With three toddlers and three strollers to manage, Jack and Rebecca just parked them as they made their way through a store. But when Kate burst into tears, Kevin followed suit. A quick switch allowed the two to feel the healing presence of the other, and little Kevin jumped out of his chair to hug his baby sister.
It had to be one of the cutest moments we've ever seen on This Is Us, and it supported the idea that Kate has not always taken care of Kevin -- which has been her role in their adult phase -- because it was reciprocated throughout their lives as he supported Kate, as well.
Kevin almost put his dreams of acting on hold to stay behind with Kate after high school, but she pushed him from the nest with affirmations that it wasn't his place to care for her anymore.
Plus, they also had Randall to share the burden, and he was the first to realize that even when they grew physically distant, they'd always be okay.
Hey, I know the answer. What's going to happen to us? As long as we stay in each other's lives, we'll be okay.Randall
Randall always knew his siblings shared something extra special, and by the time he graduated high school, he seemed okay with it, even proclaiming he didn't want to have anything to do with it.
As we've seen, their approach to things in adulthood have gotten measurably better over recent years. And something Rebecca told Kate during her college graduation (for all eight credits) made it seem their earlier struggles to connect were okay.
For as much as Rebecca always wished she'd had the opportunity to see her beautiful daughter in her cap and gown, all the growth Kate had made recently by way of marrying and carrying a child of her own made the ultimate achievement even more meaningful to Rebecca.
In the same vein, what Randall, Kevin, and Kate are dealing with now requires their bonded love and support much more than anything they suffered during earlier adulthood.
Kevin and Kate had each other, and until he found his calling with dramatic roles, Kevin was a successful television actor. They were living the dream in California.
Randall, meanwhile, had a lovely family with a healthy marriage and two great kids.
It wasn't until Kevin realized his dad wasn't around and how he never dealt with the loss that he started to crack leaving Kate behind. Kate found Toby and together they've tackled the world, but her pregnancy is beyond something they'd every imagined dealing with as a unit.
And Randall's experience with his father and adopting Deja is beyond the pale, possibly driving him harder than ever.
It's recent that their support of each other was needed more than ever.
That's coming into play again as Kevin found himself dealing with his profound feelings regarding his father and his uncle at the bottom of a bottle (or a bunch of mini bottles).
Kate's sense of her brother, a bond they've shared since the womb, raised her shackles so that she found Kevin in a state, possibly before he could further drag himself down the well of alcoholic despair.
Toby it's me. Listen, I'm in the car with Kate and, uh, her water just broke. I really think we should call an ambulance. [pause] Because I can't drive right now. [pause] Because I've been drinking all day.Kevin
And even though it's easy to toss blame for Kate's early delivery symptoms onto Kevin, Kate wasn't overly stressed in dealing with her brother's rebounding problems because she was basking in the love of her friends and family on a beautiful day set aside to celebrate her accomplishments.
It's just something they have always done for each other, thick or thin. Kevin's alcoholism resurfacing came at a good time for Kate, as if he'd suffered a relapse early in her pregnancy, she might have been dealing with Toby's depression. That would have been too much for her fragile health to bear.
At least she has a chance to recover and deliver a healthy child going forward.
And there was never a better story about stability and routine and how important it is other than the way Deja reacted to the news of her success at school and the possibility she could skip a grade to go to high school from seventh grade.
Her immediate reaction was that she didn't want to do it because it would follow her around and justify her good work (or lack thereof) much in the way that Randall's adoption into a white family did. She would always have an append on her life instead of succeeding on her merits.
Except that wasn't all she was feeling. Deja was more hesitant to admit she didn't want to jump at the chance because of how much she enjoys their morning routine. Changing things a year early will separate her from her younger sisters, and the idea of that isn't so comfortable to an adopted girl.
Randall's initial reaction to what Deja shared was to suggest to Beth, who only that day enjoyed sheer bliss on her first day as a dance teacher, set aside her dreams again to spend time with the kids.
If Randall was on the right path after graduation, then he doesn't need Beth to step back because someone else in the family will be able to step up. His marriage to Beth has only recently gained traction again. It can't stand another blow where he comes out on top while she sits back and waits for her chance.
If Randall wants to imagine how bad things can get for the family if his marriage goes south, he should have a chat with Rebecca.
This was the first time we've seen Rebecca lean on someone to get through the loss of Jack. When her kids graduated and got ready to start new chapters in their lives, it was Miguel who was there to help her cope with her grief.
Was it really Facebook that brought Rebecca and Miguel together, or were they a couple long before either of them realized, let alone the kids? Everyone needs support during the hard times, and stability can't hurt, either.
There's always been something about Rebecca's connection with Miguel that seemed deeper and more secretive than what they've shared with the kids. If Miguel was more than a Facebook friend discovered later in life, then we know why it seems like something was missing in the present.
I'm not worried about Kate and the baby. There is a 90% survival rate for babies born at 26-27 weeks, and Kate is 28 weeks pregnant.
Kate will survive, and if the rumors that she and Toby wouldn't lose their baby but would face challenges unlike anything that we've ever seen on television are correct, maybe there's a long-term story coming about parenting a baby born with congenital disabilities.
The important thing is that The Big Three, the twins, and the Pearson family (and friends) stick together through it all.
What did you think about "The Graduates"?
Are you holding out hope for smooth troubles the family can work through with only their tight connection?
Do you expect Kevin to fall farther into his addiction if Kate or her baby suffer a setback? Can he manage on his own without the love of his sister to pull him through, and will Toby be enough for Kate if she's facing challenges as a parent?
What about Randall and Beth? Will she give up on their marriage (or god forbid, their family) if she's forced to give up her dreams again?
Hit the comments and watch This Is Us online for more evidence to back up your discussion points.
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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.