This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14 Review: The Music And The Mirror

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The COVID pandemic has been heartbreaking for people in so many ways, and not just because of the high death toll.

People have been isolated and alone, unable to see their families, and sometimes lost jobs or careers.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14 did a magnificent job showing that with Beth's dance studio dream dying as quickly as it began.

Career Path / Tall - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

The loss of the studio was doubly disappointing because of how much Beth had gone through to get to the point where she was ready to chase her dream.

She'd put off dancing for so long after her father's death, trying to put herself into a corporate America box that didn't fit her at all, only for the pandemic to pull the rug out from under her just as she finally decided to open her own studio.

It sucked that COVID killed her dream. Bigtime.

In a way, it put her in a similar position to Toby, too, though they were handling it differently.

Nicky's Advice - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

Beth was determined to suck it up and move back into the corporate world she wanted so desperately to escape from, while Toby was putting on his bravest face about being a house husband even though that's not what he wanted at all.

Maybe they weren't so different after all, though it felt different.

It's nice that your in-laws talk about things that bother them. I wish I'd done more than that. You keep an eye on this. People only look for leaks when the water's coming out but it's the pressure that'll get you.

Toby's Dad

At least Beth has Randall's support, even if she wishes he would give up on trying to fix the unfixable for her. Toby is pushing away anyone who will support him.

A Surprising Visit - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

As Gregory pointed out, Toby was basically destroying the house while trying to prove that he had things under control.

So is the plan to destroy the rest of the house so that the leak is less of a problem?

Gregory

It was understandable, though. Despite Kate's attempts to downplay it, Toby is well aware that she has a job she loves while he's been forced into the stay-at-home dad role that he never planned and didn't want.

So fixing the leak himself would have made him feel useful. Only he couldn't even do that by himself and had to rely on his dad, who is one of his least favorite people in the world.

Gregory Returns - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

Toby's dad turned out not to be so bad, after all, though.

Other than one irritating comment about Toby's mental health struggles (seriously, don't use people's dependence on meds against them!), he wasn't at all annoying.

It's nice that your in-laws talk about things that bother them. I wish I'd done more than that. You keep an eye on this. People only look for leaks when the water's coming out but it's the pressure that'll get you.

And his advice to Toby was about more than just pipes... but will Toby be able to take it?

A Past Encounter - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

Toby and Kate are still not in as nearly a good place as they'd hoped to be.

Toby is pretending to have fixed leaky pipes by himself while Kate is downplaying how thrilled she is about her job.

That's... not good, to say the least, and it seems like these two are headed for another fall.

And the saddest thing is, they're probably not fooling each other either.

Deja's Point of View - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14

Toby almost certainly knows that Kate loves her new job even though she acts like it's just a job.

And Kate probably suspects that Toby had some help fixing the leaky pipe.

They haven't fixed, with or without help, the communications issues in their relationship and their fear of hurting each other's feelings, which means they haven't learned much of anything from their marriage's near implosion on This Is Us Season 4.

That said, did anyone NOT tear up when Kate thanked Rebecca for loving her?

Rebecca Comes To Visit - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14
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That was one of the most beautiful mother/daughter moments ever.

Kate: You know, you're a really good mom.
Rebecca: Well, I've had a lot of practice.
Kate: I know I wasn't the easiest daughter. I pushed you away a lot. Thank you for loving me anyway.
Rebecca: You know, I remember taking you home like it was yesterday. Then I blinked and you were toddlers, running your dad and me ragged. I blinked again and you were teenagers, wanting nothing to do with me. I blinked again and you were adults with lives of your own. You might not have been the easiest daughter, but when I look at you I see all the Kates you've ever been.

It was especially poignant because of Rebecca's memory problems and where we all know she is heading.

Those memories she remembers so clearly are even more meaningful because, in the coming years, she is going to lose them altogether.

And by the same token, it was important for Kate to say this now, while Rebecca was still totally with it because soon she will no longer be able to have these kinds of conversations with Rebecca.

No wonder this conversation was a three-tissue affair for me!

It was interesting that Kate had come full circle, from disappointing Rebecca and herself by getting the diner job to finally following her dream.

If only Beth could do the same. It remains to be seen what she does next and whether she can reclaim her joy, but she certainly isn't made for going back to the corporate world.

Finally, I don't know what to say about Kevin.

Okay, his movie was apparently crap, though what he thinks and what reviewers think might be two different things.

After all, the impossible-to-please director loved it, so who's to say it won't somehow get critical acclaim even if Kevin and his agent aren't terribly happy with it?

But even more important is the way he appears to be questioning everything because he had a Facetime conversation with one of his exes.

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous.

Kevin may not know Madison as well as he knows Zoey or Sophie, but he's raising children with her and potentially sacrificed his career to get to the hospital in time for the twins' birth.

This is not time to start thinking about all the what-ifs and regrets from the past. He needs to grow up and appreciate the family he has instead of wishing things were totally different.

The trailer for This Is Us Season 5 Episode 15 shows Kevin confiding in Randall, so hopefully, Randall will set him straight.

If not, maybe Nicky will tell Kevin in his blunt, brutally honest way that he's being an idiot and get him to cut this nonsense out.

Your turn, This Is Us fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of Beth's shattered dream, Kate and Toby's continued relationship struggles, and Kevin's case of cold feet.

Want to refresh your memory first? Just watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic.

This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.

The Music And The Mirror Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14 Quotes

Kate: I spent nine years working at that crappy job after Dad died, but you always knew I would find my way again. How?
Rebecca: Because real joy is never gone forever.

That's my dad. I haven't seen the man in a year and a half, but he sees that I'm engaged on one magazine cover and he's calling every two minutes asking about the wedding.

Madison