The Pearsons hit New York City not once, but three times!
This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16 involved Rebecca's quest to go to the Met, Randall's determination to get her into a clinical trial, and three timelines' worth of trips to the Big Apple.
Our TV Fanatics Christine Orlando, Carissa Pavlica, Sarah Little, and Jack Ori discuss which trip was our favorite, whether we have any sympathy for Randall, and whether Rebecca made the right decision about that clinical trial.
Did Rebecca make the right decision about the clinical trial?
Christine: I think she made the right decision for her.
Nine months in a city you don’t know is a long time and Rebecca wants to spend her time with her family and living her life.
Looking for trials or treatments in Los Angeles would be a better idea, but the St. Louis one just wasn’t right for Rebecca and Randall should respect that.
It makes me crazy that he believes his opinion is the only one that matters.
Carissa: I agree with Christine. Rebecca made the right decision for her.
She's spent a lifetime acquiescing to the needs of others, and if she pushed through with it for Randall, then it would be one more time.
She's running out of time, and she wants to make the best of it. I would be right beside Kevin trying to spend as much quality time with her as possible.
Randall was considering quantity, and the two are markedly different. If she changes her mind and wants to fight her disease, they'll all be there for her to do that, too.
Sarah: Rebecca knows what is best for herself. She is a grown woman that is still capable of making sound decisions.
Yes, she does have a few memory problems now and then, but she is still in a state where she can think with a clear head.
If Rebecca believes that living her life to the fullest with the time she has left is what she needs to do, then I stand behind her one hundred percent, and the rest of the Pearsons should follow suit.
Jack: I agree with everyone else. Rebecca is still totally competent to make choices for herself and Randall couldn't let go of his idea that his way would "save" her.
It wouldn't, necessarily, and there were valid reasons Rebecca rejected the idea. Randall needs to get over it.
We're getting more clues as to why Randall feels such a need to be in control of the family/Rebecca's illness. Does his admission that he wishes he could have saved Jack make him more sympathetic?
Christine: I almost find it more disturbing that all these years later, he believes that as a teenager he had the power to save his father and that he thinks about it all the time.
Randall believes that if he can control things they will all work out okay, and that’s just not realistic. Also, playing the “what if” game too long can drive you insane.
I think Randall needs more psychological help than I originally thought.
Carissa: Again, I agree with Christine.
With every new thing I learn about Randall's issues, I feel less sympathy for him. The man I thought loved his family above all else really loves himself that way.
He has a savior complex, and I think it's from misunderstanding his father.
Jack wanted to please others all the time.
Randall recalls certain instances in which Jack took control from Rebecca, but he didn't fully understand why Jack did those things the way Rebecca did.
The instance in the alley when they were lost was a great example. Jack was trying to give his children memories that would match Rebecca's of her father, but their own memories were more than enough without him proving himself.
But somehow, what Randall remembers is skewed.
Sarah: I definitely feel for Randall, and the last scene where a teenage Randall made Jack not go back into the burning house broke my heart.
I think a lot of people can sympathize with wondering if they did their best to save a loved one, but it is not a healthy nor productive thought process.
This has just shown that Randall has never made peace with his father's death, and I truly hope he will be able to get there someday.
But he can't project that blame on others because they don't deserve that and it is not fair.
Jack: I agree with Sarah.
I feel sympathy for Randall even though I also think he's a thousand percent wrong on this. He needs to work through these feelings about having wanted to save Jack and about Jack's death in therapy.
Controlling everyone and everything is not the answer and is just making things worse. Hopefully, he can stop that before it's too late.
Which of the three trips to New York City was your favorite?
Christine: The last one because Rebecca finally got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (one of my favorites!) It’s beyond time she starts doing things for her and not for everyone else.
I found the first trip the most disappointing because Rebecca took a back seat to Jack who felt the need to be in control, and the kids just assumed that Mom needed Dad to take care of everything and were oblivious to the fact that she was more capable than any of them.
That type of thing has fed into Randall’s belief that Rebecca needs to be taken care of.
Carissa: None of them were ideal.
It was a string of disappointments for Rebecca.
I'd say my favorite of the four was when she was a child. She found something beautiful and intriguing while she watched that woman in front of the painting, and it affected her for the rest of her life.
That's a powerful memory. Thank goodness she finally got to the Met again some 50 years later.
Sarah: The present day trip to New York City was my favorite, if for the scene at the Met alone.
Mandy Moore is a fantastic actress who deserves so much more recognition for her work as Rebecca.
She somehow made standing for hours looking at a painting sound appealing, while also making a case for why she shouldn't do the trial in St. Louis.
I gained so much respect for Rebecca in that beautiful moment, and I love that she is taking control of her life.
Jack: I liked the last trip the best too, for a lot of reasons.
The trip to the Met and Rebecca asserting herself were fantastic, and I also liked that Rebecca wanted to celebrate Kevin's success.
He has always been the one who doesn't really fit in, and I loved that Rebecca wanted to walk the red carpet with him.
Was Kevin wrong to try to set up Rebecca with his acting teacher?
Christine: No, he wasn’t wrong. Rebecca had the right to go on with her life and have some fun.
In Kevin’s own way, he was looking out for his mom.
If it weren’t for Kirby’s opinions about the horse and carriage rides these two could have at least had a lovely evening at the MET.
All of this made me even more curious about how the Big Three reacted when Miguel and Rebecca decided to get married!
Carissa: He might have been wrong if his motivations were unpure. But Kevin was happy with Sophie, and he wanted his mom to find happiness again, too.
I thought it was sweet that he'd see beyond his father and hope for Rebecca's life to move on.
I'm interested in Rebecca and Miguel, too. I bet Kevin wasn't happy about it for whatever reason, though, because of his later relationship with the man.
It was probably hard for all of them, especially since Miguel was Jack's best friend.
Sarah: I don't think he was wrong per se, I think he was just trying to make his mom happy, but the timing was off.
Rebecca wasn't ready quite yet after Jack's death, and it wasn't exactly a match made in heaven.
Kevin had the right intentions, but he probably should have checked in with Rebecca first before he executed his plan.
Jack: I don't think Kevin was wrong either.
This seemed like a precursor to what's going on in the present. Back then, as now, Randall had this attitude that he knew best and that he had to protect Rebecca from everything.
It's very telling that when Kevin got Randall to stay at the table, Rebecca talked to Kirby and made her own decision, yet Randall thought this was a disaster he needed to fix.
Share any thoughts not covered by these questions.
Christine: How could Randall look into a 9-month long medical trial in St. Louis for Rebecca and NEVER discuss it with her or Miguel?
It’s as though the Pearson trio ignore or have no respect for the fact that Miguel is Rebecca’s husband and it bugs the heck out of me.
Carissa: I have to admit that I was shocked that Kate and Kevin decided to go along with the trial.
And my anger at Randall not allowing Rebecca one night was alarming. And to slough it off as if he was trying to make her feel better with some hope? Oh. Just no!
Sarah: I am not a fan of how Randall forced his opinion of the medical trial on Kevin and Kate.
They are just as equally children of Rebecca as he is, and they deserve to have their own opinions regarding her illness. He wanted them to be a united front, but it was more like Randall telling them that it was his way or nothing.
Randall really needs to get to a place where he can let go of controlling every single thing in his life. Hopefully, his therapy will help him get there.
Jack: Agreed with all of the above.
It would have been one thing if Randall called so they could discuss it, but he presented the clinical trial as a done deal.
This isn't one of his city council meetings where he presents a proposal for a vote. This is his family.
I also really missed Beth. I'd have loved to see her try to rein Randall in.
What was your favorite scene, quote, or story from this week's This Is Us?
Christine: I loved Rebecca realizing that her life has been full of “next times” and now she’s running out of time to do them.
I like seeing Rebecca stand up for herself. So much of her life has revolved around having and raising three children at once and then Jack’s death.
She’s a smart, strong woman and she deserves to make decisions about what comes next.
Carissa: On a day that agreement is my thing, again, I'm with Christine.
It struck me how often I fail to do something by assuming there will be another day. It doesn't even have to be because of I'm doing for others.
Not enjoying the life we live is tragic. Every word that Rebecca uttered when she realized how much she's missed and how little time she has to live before forgetting it all hit me like a ton of bricks.
When her story first materialized, we all thought it would be sad and a trial to go through, and it ultimately will, but right now, it's life-affirming and beautiful.
Sarah: As I mentioned before, I loved the scene at the Met.
Rebecca was calm and poised, and she was able to convey her feelings without arguing or yelling.
This was definitely a standout episode for her, and I'm looking forward to her seizing the moment more often.
Jack: I loved all the scenes mentioned above. This was definitely a stand-out episode for Rebecca.
I also liked the scene before the Pearsons left on the first trip where Jack asked the kids to choose what they wanted to do in New York City. That scene was both realistic and funny. So true to life.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics.
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This is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 10 PM EST/PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.