On last week’s season two premiere of This Is Us, we finally learned (kind of) how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) met his untimely death. It clearly had something to do with a house fire, and Miguel (Jon Huertas) was tasked with breaking the news to Kate and Randall while teenage Kevin’s hormones were raging as he was off making out with Sophie. Now, let’s break down the emotional wreckage the Pearson family inflicted upon us this week. *Warning: Spoiler alerts ahead*
Season two, episode two, titled “A Manny-Splendored Thing,” throws us back into the crux of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack’s marital woes. She drives drunken Jack home from his brief time-out at Miguel’s and they talk about the last time Jack quit drinking. We then jump back in time and witness Jack pouring a little whiskey pick-me-up into his coffee—at work, no less. He then saunters off to buy Rebecca the moon-shaped necklace we all cooed over in season one, episode two, forcing us to immediately regret said cooing when we realize Jack has been hiding his drinking problem all along. Gasp. How could you, Jack?
In the next flashback, Jack is scolded by his boss, and instead of hitting the bottle, he heads to an AA meeting. Hoor...no. He immediately ducks out of the meeting, and just when we think he’s heading straight to the bar, he drives to visit Kate during her school lunch break instead. She asks him if everything is OK, but Jack being Jack, he brushes it off in his sweet Jack way. Later on, we see Jack getting rid of the bottle hidden in his desk before he books it to the gym.
In present day, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is preparing for a special reunion episode of The Manny in Los Angeles. Naturally, his ego starts getting the best of him, but Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is quick to save the day and keep him in check.
The entire Pearson clan flies out to watch the live taping of the episode. Before they leave for the airport, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) half-joke about filling out forms for a foster child, which are due by the end of the day. Looks like they still haven’t figured out their “perfectly imperfect” family expansion strategy.
Meanwhile, Kate (Chrissy Metz) anxiously awaits Rebecca and Miguel’s arrival so they can all head to the taping together. While Toby (Chris Sullivan) makes wisecracks about wanting Kate’s parents to like him, she experiences a wave of the all-too-familiar feeling of perfectionism wash over her. Reality check: Neither she nor her family (or anything for that matter) is perfect.
Cut to the whole Pearson clan on The Manny set. Kevin re-creates his now infamous Manny meltdown walk-off, and Randall attempts his best Manny impressions, much to the embarrassment of his daughters. (Guy’s got dad jokes.) Once filming commences, Randall is overcome by the pressure of filling out the foster-child forms and Kate receives a call from a band asking her to come sing at a show, like, right now. Priorities, people!
Not surprisingly, Kevin freaks out about his final Manny scene (he’s so over the corny dialogue). Rebecca and Toby jet to catch Kate’s gig, and Miguel, Beth, the girls and Sophie stay to support Kev and his bare chest.
After Kevin wraps his last Manny hurrah, Beth heads to his trailer and the two share a heart-to-heart. They reminisce about when Beth and Randall met, and Kevin tells Beth the only time Randall ever attempted something he wasn’t sure he’d succeed at is when he first approached Beth. It’s sweet, and the heartwarming reunion Beth has with Randall later is just the icing on the cake. Together, Beth and Randall tell their daughters they’re considering fostering a child.
Back in Kate land, the budding songstress prepares for her first big gig. She flashes back to a time when Rebecca gave her a dress to wear for her singing debut in the talent show. Young Kate hears her mother’s angelic voice in the other room and feigns a sore throat—chickening out of the talent show. We're no shrink, but there’s clearly some resentment here.
This pill is even harder to swallow when Rebecca throws Kate a backhanded compliment after her present-day performance. Kate claps back, saying Rebecca always pushed her to accomplish things Rebecca never could. Ouch. Toby pledges allegiance to Kate (despite running his mouth about wanting to win over Rebecca earlier) and just when it seems like a Pearson showdown is on the horizon, Rebecca tells Kate she really likes Toby.
The episode closes with a flashback of Jack confessing to Rebecca that the first time he attempted to stop drinking he kept it to himself, but this time he wants to be open. He tells his children, one by one, about his struggle with alcoholism and then attends an AA meeting.
Until next week, emotional masochists.