‘This Is Us’ Season 3, Episode 5 Recap: Here's to You, Mr. Robinson
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Last week’s episode of This Is Us already gave us insight into Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) Vietnam experience, so (disclaimer!) his cameos in this week’s installment are scarce.
The new episode picks up where we left off, with Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) city council campaign, Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) IVF treatment, and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) antidepressant medication (or lack thereof).
So, how did Toby’s mental health issues originate? And will it affect his plans to start a family? Here’s what went down in season three, episode five of This Is Us.
The episode opens on young Toby admiring his Ghostbusters costume in the mirror. When he hears his parents fighting in the other room, he turns on the fan to drown out the noise. After it subsides, his mom enters his room and reminds him not to bite his fingernails “down to the nubs.” (Easier said than done.)
Cut to present-day Toby chewing on his fingernails while Kate hangs a family photo on the refrigerator, featuring herself, Toby and eight empty faces (natch). After they receive a phone call from Dr. Jasper (Sumalee Montano), Kate changes the photo to a “Three Amigos” poster, since only three of the eggs are viable. (No “Big Three,” really?)
Unfortunately, the celebrations are short-lived. The montage concludes with another call from Dr. Jasper, followed by Kate and Toby admiring a photo of a single egg.
“One embryo, Tobes. We’ve got one shot,” Kate says. Gulp.
The (Teenage) Big Three
Meanwhile, teenage Kevin (Logan Shroyer) is complaining about, well, everything, and Kate (Hannah Zeile) is still hating life sans Jack. Why? It’s prom night, and she’s refusing to go.
Right on cue, Miguel (Jon Huertas) shows up with a piano for the Pearsons’ new space. Although Rebecca (Mandy Moore) agrees that it makes the place “feel like home,” Kate says it makes the room look smaller, and she has a point.
Just then, the refrigerator makes a loud banging noise, prompting Miguel to offer to fix it. Here we go…
Back in present day, it’s a big week for the Pearsons. Not only does Randall have his first-ever meet-and-greet for the campaign, but Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) also has a job interview.
Although Beth seems confident, Randall is hiding his nerves by rambling on about what he can do for these people. She reminds him not to get emotional during his speech, because no one wants to see a rich man crying. (#Truth)
When they arrive at the event, the support is underwhelming. Picture Randall going around and introducing himself to a restaurant full of elderly people, who are only there for the free food. Can you really blame them?
During his speech, Randall does his best to hold back tears while he explains that his biological dad, William (Ron Cephas Jones), is the reason he wants to make things right in the community. Although he nails a few well-rehearsed dad jokes, the crowd isn’t having it, and we’re not surprised. People walk out, it’s awkward—you get the picture.
Unsurprisingly, Randall is flabbergasted. Why is he not being well received by the community? The owner of the restaurant, Mr. Jones, has our answer.
“Go back to where you belong,” he says before explaining the current councilman, Saul Brown, has done leaps and bounds for local businesses. “We owe him our lives,” Mr. Jones adds.
Later on, Randall is beating himself up so much that he nearly forgets about Beth’s interview, which she—of course—nailed like the badass that she is.
Well, that’s what Beth says, but the flashback tells an entirely different story. When the interviewer asks about her old company, Beth chokes up, gets flustered, asks for a minute alone and then leaves the interview without looking back. Whoops.
After writing the email in episode four, Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe (Melanie Liburd) embark on a road trip to meet Jack’s Army buddy Don Robinson. (You know, the one who lost his foot.)
The excursion proves to be a true test of their relationship, thanks to Kevin’s unfiltered commentary. When Zoe realizes she forgot her silk pillowcase, he makes fun of her for being “fancy,” since she’s refusing to sleep on a cheap hotel pillowcase. Zoe brushes it off, but the annoyance is real.
Robinson greets them at the door and offers a drink to Kevin, who admits he’s sober. (Oh, how things have changed.) When Kevin asks about his dad, Robinson reveals that Jack wasn’t a mechanic in the Army like he said he was. In fact, he was a squad leader, “and in October 1971, your dad saved my life.” *Shivers*
Kevin says Jack was “haunted” by the war and never liked to talk about it, which is why he wants to speak with someone who was there. Unfortunately, Robinson doesn’t have the answers he’s looking for, considering he was airlifted out of Vietnam before the real haunting began. After apologizing, he reminds Kevin that some things are buried for a reason. Or so they say…
In the kitchen, Zoe is confiding in Robinson’s wife about Kevin’s aloofness during the road trip. Not only did he assume she’s “fancy” for needing a silk pillowcase (it’s for her hair, Kev), but he also didn’t notice when the gas station cashier was racist toward her.
Back in the hotel room, Zoe is surprised when a silk pillowcase arrives at their door. Kevin casually says he ordered one since it meant so much to her, prompting Zoe to fill him in on her frustrations. Why? Because he’s worth it. And we can only hope it lasts.
Toby is in a daze (yet again), while Kate is rambling on about how she thinks she’s pregnant but doesn’t want to jinx it. You see, they get the results of whether or not she’s preggers today at 4 p.m., so they’re keeping themselves busy by going to work. Kate—as a singing Adele-o-gram (get it?); Toby—who knows.
In a flashback, Toby’s dad is packing his bags and assuring his son they’ll spend the weekends together. Before he leaves, he reminds Toby that his sadness comes from his mom’s side—not his—and we’d do anything to slap the guy.
Flash-forward a decade or so, and Toby’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Josie (Natalia Cigliuti), is packing her bags and complaining that all he does is play Xbox. He promises to get back on his meds, but she refuses to change her mind.
A few months later, Toby’s mom walks into his room and finds him lying in bed. She’s checking on Toby because he said some worrisome things to his brother on the phone.
After encouraging him to get up and shave his beard, he finally musters the strength to do just that, right before heading to a weight-loss support group, where he meets Kate for the very first time. Surprise, surprise.
Back in present day, Toby is playing arcade games when he realizes it’s 3:45 p.m., and he’s late.
At the apartment, Kate is playing the piano when Toby bursts through the door, apologizing for his tardiness. She says the doctor already called, and—drumroll, please—she’s pregnant. *Cue the confetti*
Toby responds by running to the sink, chugging a glass of water and breaking down into tears.
Later on, Toby is lying in bed when Kate walks in and tells him the doctor wants to adjust his meds. (If the scene looks familiar, you’re not crazy. We previously saw it in the season two finale without context.)
Flashback to prom with the Big Three (minus Kate). While Kevin’s night is consumed with the flask in his coat pocket, Randall’s prom is cut short at the last minute.
When he gets home, Randall tells Miguel, who is still fixing the fridge, that Allison’s dad freaked out when he saw the color of his skin, so he didn’t go. Miguel proceeds to make the conversation about himself and dives into a pointless story about his Puerto Rican heritage.
Later on, Miguel returns home and finds drunk Kevin outside his house. He helps him inside and then calls Rebecca, assuring her he’ll take care of him.
“You’re too good to us, we don’t deserve you,” Rebecca says. *Eye roll*
Just then, Miguel recalls a memory of Jack filling out forms for his life insurance. Although Miguel says he doesn’t need it, Jack disagrees before joking, “If I get hit by a bus, you’ll look out for them, right?”
The episode concludes in the present day with Kevin, who is surprised to see Robinson waiting in the hotel lobby. Robinson admits that Jack would want Kevin to know his story and then gives him a stack of envelopes, containing letters and Polaroid photos, including one of Jack and the Vietnamese woman from last week’s episode. And—you guessed it—she’s wearing the famous necklace.
All we want to know is…does Rebecca know about the other woman? This Is Us returns next Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.