‘This Is Us’ Season 2, Episode 12 Recap: Not Every Clooney Leads to a George
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Last week on This Is Us, the Pearson family reunited for the first time since Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) DUI for an, er, informational therapy session, but what went down on tonight’s episode is all about Clooney.
Season two, episode 12 of This Is Us opens with a flashback of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) constructing an entertainment center for Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) records. While Jack and Rebecca rave about the endless storage possibilities and life-changing magic of tidying up, teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile) enters with a special request for her mother. She needs a dress, like, now. The school’s formal dance is just around the corner, which requires an immediate mother-daughter shopping trip to the mall.
Rebecca, who couldn’t be more thrilled that her teenage daughter actually wants to hang out with her, happily agrees. When Jack offers to join them, Rebecca tells him to remind her to get batteries for the smoke detector.
When couch-bound Kevin (Logan Shroyer) calls from the other room asking for a soda, Jack grants his injured son’s wish but insists he join them at the mall—crutches and all. Although Kevin isn’t having it, Randall (Niles Fitch), seems oddly excited.
At the mall, Kate and Rebecca are browsing when they stumble across a dress they both like. Kate heads into the fitting room with a range of sizes while Rebecca continues to browse.
Suddenly, Kate storms out of the dressing room, hands the crumpled items to an employee and walks out of the store. When Rebecca finally catches up with her, Kate reveals the dress didn’t fit. Despite her mother’s encouragement to try another size, she refuses and asks to drop the conversation.
Meanwhile, Jack and Kevin are navigating the confusing layout of the mall when they spot Miguel (Jon Huertas), who is upset because his ex-wife Shelly’s (Wynn Everett) boyfriend proposed to her last night…with his kids there. As Jack starts to dive into one of his classic pep talks, Kevin interjects to say that Miguel probably doesn’t want to hear a lecture and Jack should let the guy be bummed. Miguel seems pleasantly surprised by Kevin’s assertion, and the three of them head to the food court for a bite to eat.
Cut to Randall peering through a store window at a girl from school, Allison, as he holds a DIY Magic 8 Ball. After chickening out, he joins Jack, Kevin and Miguel at the food court. But when Jack tries to reassure Kevin that he’ll find something he loves just as much as football, Kevin isn’t having it and tells his dad that he doesn’t understand what it’s like to lose something you’re working toward.
Not so fast, Kevin. Miguel chimes in, prompting Jack to tell Kevin about his failed construction company, Big Three Homes. When Kevin asks why it didn’t pan out, Miguel admits that Jack refused to quit his job so the IRL Big Three could have everything they ever wanted.
Later on, Randall finally gets up the courage to approach Allison and smoothly asks her on a date. He then hands her the Magic 8 Ball, which she shakes to reveal a hidden message: “Don’t overthink this, Allison.” Awwww.
Jack and Kevin are in a store trying on suits when Kevin brings up Big Three Homes, asking if his dad is finally ready to go after the entrepreneurial dream. Jack reminds Kevin that his three children will shortly be off to college, so the construction company must wait...for now.
In present day, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is building a diorama with Tess (Eris Baker) and Annie (Faithe Herman) when Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) enters the room in a huff. She angrily explains that she lost the lot on Clinton Avenue to a Costco. Annie chimes in to say she would much rather have a Costco, because who doesn’t love Costco.
Noticing that Randall is distracted, Beth asks him if he is going to have enough time to drop the girls off at school, stop by William’s (Ron Cephas Jones) old apartment to pick up a box and make it back in time for his job interview. Randall couldn’t care less about the job interview and tells her he’ll take it seriously when he actually finds a job that gets his “juices” flowing.
When Randall arrives at William’s old apartment complex, he’s greeted by a neighbor, Lloyd, who directs him to a box of possessions. Just as Randall is about to leave, he turns back to ask Lloyd if he’s taking care of his dad’s cat, Clooney. Lloyd sadly explains that Clooney took off a few weeks ago and never came back.
Back in the car, Randall sorts through the box and finds a love note written to William’s “lady,” along with several sketches of said woman.
Well, it’s now Randall’s mission to find out who the “lady” is, so he goes door-to-door around the complex asking for any information on his dad’s potential love interests.
With extra time to spare before his interview, Randall stops by Beth’s office. Although she tries to hint that she’s too busy, he doesn’t get the picture, which prompts Beth to tell him that he needs to go back to work to help them both stay sane.
In the job interview, Randall receives a phone call and excuses himself to take it. On the phone, Lloyd gives Randall a major clue and says that he always saw William coming and going from the superintendent’s unit.
The next thing we know, Randall is knocking on the super’s door. When she answers, she explains that the only reason William was at her door is because he was always complaining and reporting problems, which she could never fix because the building has no money.
After the super explains that the tenant who lived in William’s old apartment recently passed, she allows Randall to look around his dad’s former abode.
In a flashback, young William (Jermel Nakia) walks into the apartment to find Clooney sitting on the couch. He scoops up the cat, gives him food, sits down at the dining table and begins writing the love letter Randall found in the box.
Back in present day, Randall hovers over the table, peers out the window and realizes the “lady” wasn’t William’s lover after all. As it turns out, a Billie Holiday (aka Lady Day) poster that is visible from William’s kitchen appears to be the same profile from the drawings.
The next day, Randall brings Beth to the apartment complex. Although jobless and feeling down, he is now realizing that everything is leading him to this building. Randall tells Beth that he wants to buy the complex and do everything he can to make the tenants more comfortable.
As Beth and Randall admire the building from the parking lot, the camera zooms in to show a young boy feeding Clooney.
Meanwhile, Kate (Chrissy Metz) is telling her therapy group about her recent relapse with junk food. She reassures them that Toby (Chris Sullivan) is pushing for a traditional wedding, and since she can’t fit in to any of those dresses, their upcoming wedding is the motivation she needs to get clean.
After the meeting, Madison (Caitlin Thompson) approaches Kate and offers to take her wedding dress shopping. Although Kate initially objects, Madison isn’t taking no for an answer, so she agrees to go, but only if she doesn’t have to try anything on.
When they arrive at the bridal shop, Madison is overly apologetic for eating a macaron even though she’s, like, super thin. As Kate and the bridal associate, Alexis (Christina Marie Karis), discuss empire waists and off-white hues, Madison excuses herself to the restroom.
Outside, Kate calls out Madison for purging after eating the macarons in the bridal store. Madison tells her it’s none of her business and storms off.
That night, Kate receives a worried phone call from Madison and rushes over to her house to find her curled up in the bathroom with a gash on her forehead.
While Kate cleans her wound, Madison apologizes for calling her and explains that her family would flip if they found out. Madison reassures Kate that throwing up is a new habit and recalls feeling really dizzy before falling. Kate tells Madison not to feel bad. In fact, she can relate. When she was a teenager, she lost a bunch of weight right before her dad died, but she wasn’t able to eat what she actually wanted.
Cut to a flashback of teenage Kate trying on the formal dress at the mall. She peers at the size, realizes it’s a seven and tries to squeeze into a five. When she can’t get the zipper up, she bolts.
Back at rehab, Barbara (Kate Burton) tells Kevin how proud she is that he made the most of his time there, but she is also worried that getting back into his Hollywood lifestyle too quickly might derail his progress. Kevin reminds her that he’s staying with his mom and says that he feels ready to move forward after the, er, interesting therapy session with his family. However, staying with Rebecca does have a downside. Cue Miguel.
When Kevin arrives at his mom’s house, Rebecca quickly transitions into tour-guide mode and starts showing Kevin around the kitchen, listing off her newly purchased groceries. But there’s a slight problem. Kevin explains he’s on a strict diet of Skittles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And don’t worry, his therapist says it’s A-OK to turn to sugar during his recovery. Rebecca suggests they go to the grocery store to satisfy his diet, and Miguel decides to tag along (ugh).
At the grocery store, Kevin and Rebecca are picking out cereal when he confides in her about losing Jack’s necklace. Rebecca tells him that his dad would understand that Kevin has been through a lot lately. She then says that while he’s beating himself up about losing the necklace, she’s constantly beating herself up because she can’t get herself to take hers off.
Suddenly, Kevin finds himself alone with Miguel and asks why he came with them to the store. Miguel admits he’s there to protect Rebecca, considering she took his DUI really hard and didn’t have the best experience during the therapy session.
That night, Kevin walks into the living room to find Rebecca cuddling with Miguel on the couch. But when Rebecca realizes Kevin is in the room, she quickly excuses herself. Kevin apologizes to Miguel for confronting him at the store before asking one very important question: Was Miguel in love with Rebecca when Jack was still alive?
Miguel reassures him that’s not possible because when Jack was alive, he and Rebecca were one. Stealing her away was never an option.
The next day, Kevin confronts Rebecca for recoiling away from Miguel when he walked into the room. She admits that she didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable, but Kevin says she doesn’t need to worry about his feelings.
Next up on Kevin’s list of questions: Are you happy? Rebecca explains that after Jack died, she let go of a lot of things, including happiness. Although her relationship with Miguel is quieter and older, she’s happy.
The episode concludes with a flashback of Jack sitting on the couch. Rebecca joins and asks him to talk to Kate because if anyone can get through to her, it’s him. Jack agrees but appears to have something else on his mind. He then tells Rebecca that he hates wearing suits and his boss, Walter. He’s considering revisiting Big Three Homes... Rebecca is reluctant at first but then offers encouragement, telling him she’ll support him no matter what.
Rebecca is suddenly overcome with a revelation. She asks Jack if they forgot anything at the mall, but he reassures her they didn’t. As Rebecca rests her head on Jack’s shoulder, the camera pans out to reveal a smoke detector...with no batteries.
Oh, that Pearson family. Until next week.