One of This Is Us' biggest strengths has always been the way it's connected generations through its time-hopping stories.
The non-linear storytelling was always far more than a gimmick, and that was clearer than ever on This Is Us Season 6 Episode 7.
Janet's sugar pie recipe wasn't the only thing handed down from generation to generation; complicated relationships and attitudes toward food were too.
That sugar pie was a fantastic symbol of the connection between generations, but it also pointed out the passed down problems.
Rebecca's mother had an unhealthy obsession with being thin, to the point that she refused ever to eat the sugar pie she'd made, but Rebecca did the opposite with Kate. She forged a connection based on baking the pie together and letting Kate taste the batter.
And when Kate told Toby how much shame she carried around whenever she didn't stick to her weight loss plan, I couldn't help thinking that she'd somehow inherited Janet's attitude toward food despite Rebecca's best efforts.
She and Toby were on opposite sides of the debate about letting Jack eat sugar on Thanksgiving because Kate didn't want Jack to grow up with that shame.
From the few glimpses of the adult Jack we've had, he doesn't seem to have developed an unhealthy relationship with food. But I'm curious as to how these attitudes affected him and what he'll someday pass on to his own child.
Another theme that seemed to be interwoven throughout the generations was that of people moving away.
Janet panicked that Rebecca would never visit her when she moved, and it struck me as parallel to Toby moving to San Francisco for work even though it was quite different.
Even though Janet followed her husband to a new state, she felt like she was leaving her daughter behind for good. Kate chose to stay behind with the kids, but she and Toby are now drifting apart because of it.
Now that Rebecca has moved to the opposite coast, Randall also feels that sense of loss and disconnection.
In his case, it's probably doubly hard because of his awareness that Rebecca is slipping away, minute by minute.
Miguel also made plans to move to Houston for work, and despite his claims that he wanted to be closer to his kids, it was obvious that he was running away from his feelings for Rebecca.
Kevin: Looks like I've been focusing on the wrong guy.
Miguel: Excuse me?
Kevin: I blew it with Sophie. And sometimes I can hear his voice, how disappointed he is in me and my choices. You ever feel like that?
Miguel: I have no idea what you're saying right now, Kevin. Drink some water.
Kevin: Just know that if you act on whatever this thing is you have with my mom, that earth you feel rumbling under your feet is him turning over in his grave.
We know that doesn't work out that way in the end. Miguel will marry Rebecca, grow old with her, and deal with her dementia diagnosis.
The story of how that happens is twice as compelling now that we know that Miguel planned to move, and Rebecca spent all night crying about it!
Meanwhile, the older version of the Pearsons had one of the most heartbreaking Thanksgivings ever.
Kate: I'm writing down the sugar pie recipe in case I forget the secret ingredient.
Rebecca: You mean in case I forget. But I can't forget, because these recipes are buried deep inside me.
Rebecca's dementia diagnosis cast a shadow over the whole thing.
Traditions such as Kate baking the sugar pie with Rebecca became bittersweet, and that was even before Rebecca sat The Big Three down to talk about her end-of-life planning.
Rebecca's demand that her children refuse to let her dementia be the reason they hold themselves back was as beautiful as it was sad.
But the most interesting moment, storywise, was her decision to appoint Kate as her proxy should Miguel be unable to take care of her.
You will not make yourself smaller because of me. This thing that is happening to me, it will not hold you back. Take risks, move in a direction even if it's small moves. I am your mother and I am sick, and I am telling you to be fearless. And the only answer that is acceptable is a resounding 'yes ma'am'.Rebecca
Kate's absence thus far from that final flash-forward has caused a ton of fan speculation. Many people wonder if Kate's dead or if she and Rebecca had a falling out.
But with Kate now having been given this awesome responsibility of caring for her mother if Miguel couldn't -- and Miguel also being suspiciously absent thus far -- it seems like she isn't able to keep her promise.
It would be tragic if Kate pre-deceased her mother too so that Kevin and Randall were left to figure out her care alone.
This Is Us always does things for a reason. Rebecca wouldn't have asked Kate to make decisions on her behalf if it wasn't going to come up again later. So I'm more optimistic now that Kate will show up in that flash-forward eventually.
If not, we'll learn exactly what happened, and it'll be guaranteed to be heartbreaking. But would even This Is Us go there after all the tragedies the Pearson family has already suffered?
One thing is for sure: Toby and Kate's marriage is on its deathbed at this point, even if they don't know it yet.
They spent most of Thanksgiving arguing about how much sugar Jack was eating, and Toby's behavior upset Kevin so much that Kevin asked for the Pilgrim hat back.
Toby: We keep having the same argument over and over.
Kate: I know.
Toby: You're upset that I'm not around more, I'm sensitive about that. Pointed jabs, rinse and repeat.
Kate: I know.
Toby: But in that argument, I just want to say, we were both fat kids and it was hell. And Jack has our genes so if I can help him eat healthy and avoid that, I will.
It probably won't be long before Kate asks Toby to take off his wedding ring now, either.
Kate and Toby's relationship screams for marriage counseling.
They both are constantly getting offended at what the other says, and everything is turning into a huge argument.
And as Toby pointed out, they keep having the same argument over and over.
The issue about Jack's eating habits hurt Kate on several levels.
She's struggled with her weight her whole life and wants Jack to grow up with a positive body image, plus she took it as an indictment of her parenting decisions when Toby isn't even there most of the time.
And Toby feels as if he's treated like a deadbeat dad when he sees himself more like a Depression-era dad who has to go far away for work so that he can provide for his family.
There's no way out of this conflict, and Toby and Kate are going to keep butting heads until somebody finds the courage to call it quits.
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST / PST.