Jack made everyone contribute to a time capsule that the Big Three finally dug up in the present, while Toby bonded with baby Jack at home and we finally learned what happened between Kate and Marc.
This Is Us Season 4 Episode 14 offered three compelling storylines at the Pearson family cabin, making it hard to choose a favorite. .
Our TV Fanatics Carissa Palivca, Sarah Little, Christine Orlando, and Jack Ori debate whether we've seen the last of Marc, Kevin's reaction to learning about Rebecca's cognitive decline, and what everyone put in that time capsule.
Was Kevin's reaction to discovering he was the last to know about Rebecca's cognitive problems inevitable or could Kate and Randall have handled it better?
Carissa: Anyone who has ever been left out of life's important moments, no matter the reason, knows that it was inevitable and warranted.
They weren't trying to hide a secret but a health issue that affects the entire family. Rebecca should have known better, but when she didn't, Randall should have talked her through sharing it by imagining himself in his siblings' shoes.
Instead, he probably liked the exclusivity.
Kate just got back from the trip, so she hasn't had time to tell Kevin. She's above board in this one.
The family has issues, though.
Sarah: It was neither Randall nor Kate's place to tell Kevin about Rebecca's diagnosis, but siblings in general have a weird relationship where most rules go out the window. They should have told him, or they should have tried harder to convince Rebecca to tell him.
Kevin has always felt lesser than his siblings when it comes to their relationship with their mother, so his reaction was inevitable and warranted.
Plus, Kevin is a grown man who deserves to know that his mother is sick, they need to start treating him like one.
Christine: The first words Randall and Kate should have said to Kevin were, “Mom wanted to tell you herself and she swore us to secrecy until she could.”
Instead, it came across as though Randall was the strong one who was also smart enough to notice the problem, Kate was the special one, and Kevin was the loser who couldn’t handle it.
I love Randall but he likes to orchestrate things so that he’s the one in control and, at times, that can be hurtful as it was here to Kevin. .
Jack: I agree with all of the above.
For Kevin, this came off as another instance of everyone leaving him out and acting like he's not important or strong enough to be part of the family.
It was all well-intentioned but came off all wrong, and at the very least someone should have tried to convince Rebecca to let them tell Kevin.
Each member of the family put something into the time capsule. What would you have picked for each of the Big Three if you could choose what they put in?
Carissa: Honestly, I didn't expect there to be only one item from each of them.
It's very hard to imagine, but Kevin's was perfect. His entire life was about him and Sophie for a very long time.
It would have been interesting if Randall had put in something that spoke to how he felt about being in the family, but going with Kevin's choice was even better because of what it represented so many years later.
And even Kate's as exactly what a little girl her age would believe to be significant.
I wouldn't change any of them.
Sarah: That's a good question! I think all of the items were pretty fitting for each character, but a few other things come to mind.
For Kate, it is probably generic, but I would have had her put in a tape of her favorite singer.
For Randall, I would have picked a book that was gifted to him by Mr. Lawrence, because I want to see that storyline continued and see where Mr. Lawrence is in the present timeline.
And for Kevin, I would have had him put in something that represented the Pearson family.
I'm not sure what that would be, but Kevin always seemed disinterest in his family as a kid, but there are always small moments, like helping Randall with the puzzle piece, that show how much they mean to him.
Christine: Their choices were pretty perfect.
Kevin has loved Sophie most of his life.
Kate’s self-esteem and view of the future has generally been wrapped up in the fantasy that there will be a “happily ever after” and Randall overthinks everything to the point of having to have someone else finally make the decision for him.
The puzzle piece was poignant with Jack gone but it could have ended up being really funny if he had lived and they had opened that capsule up when they were 18 and the others realized they’d been searching for a missing puzzle piece for years that they were never going to find!
Jack: I'm not sure what else I would have chosen.
I agree that Kevin's choice made sense given his relationship with Sophie.
I like Sarah's idea of Kevin having chosen something more symbolic of his family, but since he felt like he didn't fit in, it makes sense that he would choose the photo of Sophie, especially considering how accepted he felt by her mother.
I also like the idea of Kate choosing her favorite singer. Of course, then we wouldn't have had the poignancy of her realizing her childhood dreams didn't come true.
I wish Randall had put in the book Mr. Lawrence gave him or something else symbolizing his struggle with figuring out his identity as a black kid in a white family. That was such an important part of his life at that age.
Rebecca kicked Marc out of the cabin. Do you think that's really the last we'll see of him?
Carissa: I hope so.
But although we were reliving that night at the same time Kate's having issues with Toby (such that they are), she didn't seem to be aware of that memory this time around nor has it ever seemed her time at the cabin was directly affected by what happened with Marc.
I know that every time I go to Aspen, I'll always remember being assaulted there. And I was an adult!
So maybe she was rescued both that weekend and from further interference from Marc. It's possible.
Sarah: Anything is possible on This Is Us, but I truly believe that we have seen the last of Marc -- in the past at least.
I could very well see a present Marc showing up again in Kate's life, especially now that she and Toby are having problems.
Maybe a re-visitation of Kate's awful, abusive relationship with Marc will help to save her marriage?
All of that aside, I would love to never see Marc again as he is a horrible human being.
Christine: I hope Marc is gone for good.
Personally, I thought Rebecca could have been even more intense when she kicked Marc out.
I too was a bit surprised that Kate never seems to mention or be plagued by the event when she’s at the cabin. Perhaps she just wants to block it out or maybe she’s truly over it.
I do wish we could hear adult Kate’s thoughts on her relationship with Marc now.
Jack: I also hope we never see Marc again.
Sometimes abusive people don't give up easily even after being kicked out. But at least now Kate's family knows what's going on, so if he does turn back up she has support and help.
I also wonder how this experience affected Kate, especially now that she's back at the cabin.
Maybe Marc will turn up again as an adult and profess to have changed. Hopefully, Kate will put him in his place if he does.
Randall admitted that he has issues with anxiety and that he pummeled the mugger because of his pent-up emotions. React!
Carissa: It's a good step.
To be confronted with your reality from 20 years earlier and realize you're still battling the same demons has to be eye-opening.
Whether he'll take the steps to confront it is another thing, though. He seemed offended that Kevin said maybe he should see a therapist.
I'm interested to see where it goes.
Sarah: I am so happy that Randall was able to actually talk about his anxiety taking a toll on him and hint towards getting help.
He has been struggling with self-awareness for almost all of This Is Us Season 4 and no matter how horrible the break-in and attempted mugging were, at least he is finally considering talking to a therapist.
Keeping feelings bottled up is never a good decision, which resulted in him punching the mugger repeatedly.
If he doesn't talk about what he is feeling, Randall will explode again, and this time it might not be the mugger he takes it out on.
Christine: Thank goodness!
Randall’s a great guy but he’s got this complex about being in control and never asking for help and then he eventually implodes.
It’s frustrating to see the same pattern play out over and over again.
Someone needs to shake Randall and tell him that not dealing with his issues is the weakness and that sitting down with a therapist to face them is a strength.
Jack: I was thrilled that he took this step. As Christine said above, this is a pattern with Randall -- and one he needs help to rid himself of.
Kevin is the second person to suggest Randall see a therapist.
Maybe if he hears it one more time he'll finally give in. I hope so.
What are your thoughts about Kevin's desire to build Jack's dream house on the property by the cabin?
Carissa: I love it.
I love seeing Kevin years into the future even if he aged poorly given his cultural status. I can guarantee that was more 70-year-old Kevin than 50ish.
Kevin is my favorite character because I believe him to be so misunderstood, so it's a relief that good things are coming for him.
What confused me, though, was that the family was already in the house when he got there.
hope Rebecca lives with him at that time and that he was returning home to join the rest of the family
For a second, I wondered if maybe Randall didn't build the house and that's what drove them apart. I hope not.
Sarah: Kevin building Jack's dream house is one of the most perfect things This Is Us has done.
Kevin has always struggled with confronting his grief regarding his father's death, and building a home that was designed by Jack is a great way to not only honor his father but to get closure.
It also makes me happy that Kevin has built a seemingly good life for himself given how much he has struggled with that.
Christine: I’d love to see Kevin build that house both for himself and to honor his dad.
Personally, I think Kevin still looked pretty damn handsome, and that’s probably what he’d look like in his 50s if he didn’t color his hair.
The family always underestimates Kevin which makes it easy for him to play into their expectations.
Kevin is perfectly capable of stepping up and I hope we see that with his own family and with Rebecca moving forward.
Jack: For me, this reveal was the most poignant moment in the episode, and that's saying a lot!
Kevin has always struggled to find his place in the family and to separate his dreams for himself from their voices in his head, and this was the perfect solution to both those problems.
Anything not covered by these questions that you'd like to mention?
Carissa: The tape and the song playing over that entire scene was so beautiful.
It reminded me that I've been meaning to get a VHS tape of my dad's last vacation transferred to digital because I haven't seen it in years.
There is nothing like hearing the voice of someone you loved and lost to warm your heart.
I still remember that my mother kept a cassette from my grandfather's last Christmas. I had gotten a tape recorder and was recording everyone on Christmas Day.
Those memories are priceless, and you never imagine while it's happening that it's going to end.
Sarah: The use of The Cinematic Orchestra's "To Build a Home" was a perfect way to parallel the burning down of the first Pearson home when we first heard the song, and the building of Jack's dream home.
It underlined the significance of the scene and how that particular story has come full circle in a lot of ways.
When the song first came on, the tears started flowing, but I cannot think of a better song to play during that scene.
Christine: I was thrilled to see Toby bonding with Jack.
Kate has this idea that Toby doesn’t love Jack as much as she does and that’s not the case.
I think that especially when children are that young, mothers and fathers frequently interact with them differently.
Those differences are heightened because of Jack’s blindness but Toby loves his son as much as Kate does.
I hope she can recognize that and stop demonizing him to her family because when Kevin said that Toby hates his son, that was unfair.
Jack: I was also glad to see Toby bonding with Jack. I'm worried about how Kate will react if and when Toby tells her about the choking incident, but I'm glad that he took Jack to the doctor and that the doctor was able to help him calm down about whether or not there was any lasting damage.
What was your favorite scene, quote, or storyline from this week's This Is Us?
Carissa: It was a super strong episode, so it's really hard to pick a favorite. I'll narrow it down to little Kevin's helping Randall pick a time capsule trinket, the Big Three hearing that tape from their father, and the last scene from the future. I love that stuff!!
Sarah: This will most likely go down as one of my favorite episodes because I loved pretty much all of it.
But my favorite scene, along with favorite quote, has to be when the Big Three sat down to listen to Jack's tape. Seeing their reactions to hearing their father's voice was priceless and I know all of them were beyond grateful for it.
Plus, it was the perfect misdirect when the show made the viewers think that the drawing was from Jack when it was really Rebecca's contribution.
And my favorite storyline was the present one because I always love to see the Big Three bonding.
Can Kevin and Randall please not get into a huge fight? They have come too far.
Christine: I loved Kevin looking at his father’s drawing, imagining that house, and then the time jump to the future where the house exists and Kevin walks in the front door.
I really enjoy getting the little pieces of the future that let us know this family is still together many years later.
Jack: I second Sarah's comment about the misdirect.
Rebecca and Jack's relationship always thrills me to watch, especially when she believes in him more than he believes in himself, and the moment where she took his drawing out of the trash was one of my favorite moments of the episode.
My second favorite was Randall's admission that his anxiety and pent-up emotion are getting the better of him. It was such a real, authentic moment and hopefully a turning point for his character, as we discussed above.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics!
Share your thoughts about these questions or everything else that happened on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 14.
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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.