Kate confronted Marc, Randall got a surprising message, and Kevin and Madison butted heads over how much traveling he should do for work.
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 5 allowed our favorite Pearsons to confront their past and decide what their futures needed to hold!
Our This Is Us Round Table team Carissa Pavlica, Christine Orlando, Sarah Little, and Jack Ori discuss Kate's decision to stand up to Marc, Randall's reaction to the news about his birth mom, and what we hope the rest of This Is Us Season 5 has in store.
Kate decided to confront Marc about their past. React!
Carissa: It worked for me because it took the luster off of her recollection of him.
No, she didn't have fond memories. But she still remembered him as the guy she had feelings for who treated her horribly.
Seeing him 20 years later reminds her how young and anxious she was, and she can finally close the door on his memory, such that it was. Good for her.
Christine: Sometimes, you have to look at the things that haunt you with fresh eyes.
Eighteen-year-old Kate was grieving and vulnerable, but adult Kate is much stronger, happier, and sure of herself.
She was finally able to look back at that horrible relationship for what it was and really leave it in her past. I think it was an important moment for Kate, and I was proud of her.
Sarah: I agree! I think this is something that Kate has always carried with her and has weighed her down a bit, so the only way she could ever move forward from it was to confront Marc.
Plus, Kate has always been the mediator between her brothers, always trying to diffuse tense situations, and it was amazing watching her stand up for herself.
Jack: I wasn't sure until the moment that Kate told Mark that she wasn't broken -- he was.
With someone like Marc, I was afraid that any contact would lead him to believe he could somehow win Kate over again (especially since she admitted she was cyberstalking him!) and lead to more trouble.
But I loved the way Kate stood up for herself, and I'm glad that she got the closure she needed.
Was Randall justified in assuming that William lied about Laurel's death, or was he jumping to conclusions?
Carissa: No, Randall wasn't justified in that. But that's Randall.
He's always so sure that people are out to get him. I'm sure we'll discover the why of that during his therapy.
It's too easy to blame it on the fact his mom knew about his father because that was much later in life. I think it's been a part of him for a while.
Christine: I'll give Randall a pass on initially thinking William lied because it did seem like the obvious conclusion.
For years, Rebecca lying to him about William left emotional scars, but what bothered me was Randall's desire to believe the worst and not look for more answers.
That's how Randall mires himself in righteous self-pity.
He'd wanted answers about his mother his entire life, and here was this opportunity, and he was willing to close the door on it in favor of feeling like a victim.
I was relieved when he talked to his therapist and then decided to make that call; it was a big step forward for Randall.
Sarah: I think it was only a natural reaction from Randall as this was a big revelation, but it showed you how far Randall had come when he made the call at the end of the episode.
And it again proves how lucky Randall is to have Beth in his life, to guide him and be there for him.
Jack: All of the above.
Understandably, Randall would think William lied to him, but it never occurred to him that his father might not have known the truth.
He really needs to deal with his feelings that everyone always lies to him. I was annoyed when Randall told Beth that he would go for a run instead of calling his therapist.
That's exactly the behavior that got him into trouble before!
I don't know whether Beth convinced Randall to make the call or he realized on his own he was falling back into bad habits, but thank goodness he did.
Can Kevin and Madison's relationship survive this conflict over Kevin's desire to travel for work? Do you want it to?
Carissa: Is it Kevin's desire to travel for work? Desire is iffy.
It's his career, and he's worked hard for it.
Many in 2021 aren't working at all because they won't travel. Look at LA right now.
He's got a kid on the way. They need the money so that he can spend time with his children and help after they're born.
He's going to fall in love with fatherhood. I'm not worried about that aspect, but the jury is still out on whether he and Madison are a fit.
Christine: The reality of jet-setting around the world hit Madison hard and highlighted how much she and Kevin don't know about one another.
But Madison and Kevin can survive if they are willing to find some level of compromise over how much travel they're willing to do or how often Kevin will be away from home.
I like that these two had an adult conversation about it and that Madison pushed him to really think it through before they talked about it again.
I hope they work out because I think they could make a really great couple.
Sarah: This time apart will definitely test their relationship, and I have an inkling that Sophie will show up in some aspect, which will further complicate things.
I agree with Carissa: I still have no clue whether Kevin and Madison will work as a couple.
I know they will work as a family, but that doesn't mean they'll go down the romance route and succeed.
Jack: I'm also on the fence about this couple.
I hope that they continue to talk this out and see if there's some compromise that meets all of their needs.
It was foolish for Kevin to assume Madison would be okay with them traveling the world as a family without talking to her, but that doesn't mean the relationship has to be over.
If they can continue to talk things through and act like adults, then I'm all for this relationship. Otherwise, it's time to work out a co-parenting arrangement and move on.
And Sarah, I hope that Sophie doesn't show up. I've had enough of that, especially since she finally had moved on last time we saw her.
Kate mentioned that not knowing how to deal with Marc's abuse was part of why she turned to food. Now that she's faced that, do you think she will change her eating habits?
Carissa: No. Mostly because an actor is a real person, and those kinds of expectations are ridiculous.
But she'll be at peace with it, and that's got to be enough.
Christine: Since the actress is obese herself, I don't think it's fair to expect significant changes in that area from the character.
And realistically, life-long eating habits are difficult to change, but it would be great if Kate were able to get healthier for herself and her family after this.
Sarah: Acceptance was the most important part of her storyline on this episode, and now that she has assumingly moved on from her past with Marc, Kate's mental health has improved for sure.
As for her physical health, I'm not sure, but I think she will be in a good place moving forward.
Jack: I agree with everyone that it wouldn't be realistic to expect Kate to lose a lot of weight, especially given that a plus-sized actress plays her.
But not overeating as a coping mechanism and losing a ton of weight are two different things.
Finding and dealing with the issues behind any addiction is an important aspect of recovery, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kate doesn't turn to food for emotional comfort quite as much now.
Do you think Randall visiting Hi is a good idea?
Carissa: Who didn't see that coming as soon as we learned he was in New Orleans??
Randall has a travel episode every season. I don't see any reason it wouldn't be a good idea.
Randall has searched for his mother his entire life. He won't be satisfied until he has all of the answers available to him,
And as a viewer, I also want to know what happened to his mother.
Sarah: Of course! As his therapist said, Randall's whole journey has been about finding his roots, and learning more about his birth mother will further add to his character building.
Jack: The only downside I see is that there's an increased risk of COVID exposure.
That aside, though, I think it's important for Randall to take this journey and learn about his birth mother's life and death, and most importantly, whether she ever made any effort to locate him and why not if she didn't.
Discuss anything not mentioned above that you wanted to talk about.
Carissa: Randall's staff went to great expense to buy nude upper body fluffs to tease him. He's got good people around him.
Christine: I hated that Randall cut Kevin off on that phone call.
I'm sure that when he decided to make the call to Hi, he wanted to do it immediately, but it was clear Kevin was going through something and reaching out.
I wish Randall would have taken a few more minutes to make at least clear he'd call him back.
Sarah: That's what I was thinking, Christine!
The phone call between Kevin and Randall was another step in the right direction for the brothers, but they need to learn to have more of a give and take relationship.
They need to make time for one another, and I hope there are more scenes of them talking about their individual issues on future episodes.
Jack: I was so thrilled that Kevin reached out to Randall, and Randall was receptive that I overlooked the way Randall handled getting off the phone.
I agree -- Kevin didn't know what was going on, and from his perspective, it may have seemed like Randall was rushing him off the phone rather than supporting him.
Beyond that, I loved the way Toby supported Kate throughout this episode. I want to see more of that, and less of the arguing and bickering we suffered through during This Is Us Season 4!
What was your favorite scene, storyline, or quote from this episode of This Is Us?
Carissa: Kevin turning to Randall about Madison. I can hardly even remember that there was a rift between them anymore.
Christine: Young Kate choosing to end her pregnancy.
I'm sure some people will judge, but if Marc had learned she was pregnant, he would never have let an adoption go smoothly, and she would have been tied to him forever, which would have led to a miserable and perhaps even shortened life.
Kate made the right decision for her and did it independently, and that speaks volumes about the strength she hasn't always believed she had.
Sarah: It definitely has to be the phone call between Kevin and Randall.
While not perfect, it proved how much they both want to resolve the problems between the two of them. The scene made me hopeful for their future.
Jack: I also loved young Kate's storyline. I thought it was handled sensitively and appropriately, and I was both amazed by Kate's strength and heartbroken that she felt she had to face this alone.
I also liked Kate explaining to Toby that she never told him any of this before because she didn't want to be seen as a victim. It was a beautiful and authentic moment.
What do you hope happens over the rest of the season?
Carissa: I'm not even going to venture to guess!
Christine: I can't wait to see the twins being born, and I hope they bring Madison and Kevin, and the rest of the Pearson clan closer together.
Sarah: I feel like I always have an inkling as to which direction This Is Us is taking, but then they throw us all for a loop with endless surprises.
I am looking forward to the twins' birth, but I also want to see more of Randall and Malik and a bit of backstory for Miguel.
Oh, and I also want to see Randall and Kevin back on good terms, of course!
Jack: I'm especially eager to learn more about Randall's birth mother.
I'm also looking forward to the twins' birth, and I would love for there to be more Rebecca/Miguel stuff coming up.
I'm curious as to how much present/future Rebecca we will get given Mandy Moore's real-life pregnancy, too.
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.