‘This Is Us’ Season 3, Episode 6 Recap: Peel the Wallpaper
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Sure, we’re very familiar with jumping between timelines (thanks a lot, writers), but last night’s episode of This Is Us was an action-packed doozy, and we loved every second of it. From Randall’s campaign to Toby’s mental health, here’s what you need to know about season three, episode six. (But, like, only the important stuff.)
The episode opens on Kate (Chrissy Metz) calling Rebecca (Mandy Moore), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and telling them the good news: She’s pregnant. After bringing food to Toby (Chris Sullivan) in bed, Kate leaves for a walk with her dog, Audio.
At the park, Kate is on the phone with Rebecca, saying how worried she is about Toby. While she’s distracted, Audio swallows a rock and ends up at the vet. (Really? The dog too?)
Kate calls Rebecca (again) and explains the situation. Although Rebecca is happy to offer advice, she tells Kate that she needs to make these decisions on her own, especially when the baby comes. Of course, Rebecca still suggests they bring Audio home, hoping he’ll pass the rock naturally. Kate listens to her mom’s sound advice.
In a flashback, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) comes home wearing an out-of-character accessory: a baseball cap. We aren’t the only ones who noticed, considering Rebecca snatches the hat off his head, revealing a black eye. Jack explains he was boxing a guy at the gym, and Rebecca points out the difference between a punching bag and a person. Touché, Becs.
Later on, young Randall (Lonnie Chavis) pulls Jack aside and says he wants to learn how to box. You see, there’s a kid at school, Dylan, who is bullying him and pushing him into lockers. Since he refuses to be labeled a “snitch,” he wants to learn how to defend himself…just in case.
Right when Randall is getting the hang of things, Rebecca walks in to find them boxing, and she’s livid. Jack runs after her, explaining there’s a bully. She immediately calls the principal, who drops an even bigger bombshell—there is no Dylan at school. (Nice try, Randall.)
Back in present day, Randall heads to a church service in Philadelphia, where he tries (and fails) to blend in with the fellow churchgoers.
It all starts during the service when Councilman Brown takes over the mic. He calls out Randall, saying he’s a visitor from Alpine, New Jersey. Although he’s running against him for city council, Brown doesn’t see anything wrong with Randall wanting to help people, and he couldn’t be more sarcastic if he tried.
Following the service, Randall receives a call from Kevin, who demands they meet ASAP. Since Randall is worried that his famous brother will blow his cover, he meets him at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Korea Town, which completely backfires because—whaddaya know—The Manny is the number one show in South Korea.
When Kevin shows Randall the photo from episode five, Randall seems intrigued at first and then reminds him that Vietnam was a chapter that Jack didn’t want them to know about.
Kevin recalls when they got in trouble as kids for peeling wallpaper. Although the tear started small, their curiosity kept them going. Before they knew it, they had peeled off an entire wall. Long story short, he feels the same way about Vietnam.
“I started peeling,” he says.
Just then, a waiter-cum-Manny-fan arrives with free food for the table, giving Randall an “aha!” moment.
Randall brings Kevin to his campaign headquarters, and after shuffling through some papers, confirms that 50 percent of the Korean population in his region aren’t registered to vote, which means he’s back in the race.
Meanwhile, Tess (Eris Baker), Annie (Faithe Herman) and Deja (Lyric Ross) enlist unemployed Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) to help them sell Girl Scout cookies, and she’s completely out of her element. Not only do they get stuck with the only unoccupied shopping center, but Beth also forgot “the swiper” for credit cards, which means cash only (read: no customers).
When Tess complains that her friend Riley’s mom would never—we repeat, never—forget the swiper, Beth explodes, yelling, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
At home, Deja pulls Beth aside and explains that her biological mom lost jobs in the past. Deja says that if she’s sad, Beth should talk to Randall because he has a way with words. (You know, like when he called her “exceptional.”)
Deja explains, “He loves you like he’s in a Disney movie or something, like he hears tiny forest animals singing or playing kazoos or something whenever you walk into a room.” Well said.
Back in Korea Town, Kevin is wearing a Randall Pearson campaign T-shirt, taking photos with fans and encouraging them to register to vote (natch). When a young man criticizes Randall’s intentions, he turns to the man’s grandmother and—with the help of a translator—explains why he’s running for office.
Randall says he saw empty storefronts and theft while examining the area, and although he doesn’t know what they need, he’s willing to listen. (Even if he only knows one Korean word: “kamsahamnida” or “thank you.”)
Later on, Randall is at the office when the young man appears out of nowhere. He says his grandmother can’t stop talking about the man with the “nice hands.” Although she has never voted, she registered today because she thinks a politician cares about her.
Better yet, the young man was a political science major in college and wants to be Randall’s campaign manager. Randall welcomes him to the team before asking for his name: John.
In another flashback, Jack confronts young Randall about nonexistent Dylan. Randall says he wants to learn how to box because it means so much to his dad, but he didn’t have a good reason. He’s trying to be more like Jack, since he’s not his “son son.” *Grabs tissue*
Jack reminds him that he is, in fact, his “son son” before saying that he has something greater than a badass uppercut—he has a brain.
Later on, Rebecca presents Jack with brand-new—drumroll, please—boxing headgear. She says if boxing is that important to him, she wants him to be safe. Jack then reveals boxing is a pastime he and his brother enjoyed.
Nevertheless, Rebecca saves the day with a predictable This Is Us move: “All right, you win. Teach me how to box.”
Back in present day, Kate is shocked when she returns home from the vet to find Toby showered and dressed. (Don’t worry, Audio just needs monitoring.)
Although Toby thought it would make him feel better, it didn’t. He apologizes for putting her (aka his pregnant wife) through this and says he’s afraid she’ll leave him.
Kate stops him as he’s heading back to bed and suggests he come on a walk with Audio. He hesitantly agrees, and we’d do anything to give him a hug. Outside, Kate confronts him for thinking she’d leave him. “For better or worse,” she says.
Right on cue, Audio does the deed. (#Success)
The episode concludes with two key events. First, Kevin crashes Zoe’s (Melanie Liburd) spa day and gives her a visa application for a trip to Vietnam. Sure, they haven’t dated for very long, but he wants her there, and all we have to say is…predictable.
Second, Randall shows up at Councilman Brown’s office with a well-rehearsed speech. He thanks him for being gracious at the service, even though he made it clear that Randall doesn’t belong.
In a flashback, the Pearson family is watching a boxing match on TV. When young Randall asks why the fighter is smiling, Jack explains that he doesn’t want his opponent to know he’s hurt. (You know, like a poker face.)
Cut to present-day Randall displaying a huge smile for the councilman, saying, “I’m going to win Korea Town.”
At home, Randall tells Beth the campaign manager news, but she’s not herself. She reveals that she’s pretending she’s fine, but she’s not. After dropping a line about being the “horseradish to my Bloody Mary,” Randall suggests she join his campaign, promising it’s a no pity job.
“Let’s win you an election,” she says.
This Is Us returns to NBC in two weeks. (We can do this.)