*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
1. Episode 13 Recap
In This Is Us season four, episode 13, we close out the trilogy of episodes depicting a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in the life of the Big Three. The final chapter focuses on Kate (Chrissy Metz) as she struggles to get Toby (Chris Sullivan) involved in his young son’s life. As you may remember, she surprised him with tickets to a retreat for parents with sight-impaired children but Toby tells her he’s too busy to join her. Rebecca (Mandy Moore) takes his place and though she and Kate have had their differences in the past, they really connect. Rebecca opens up to her about her memory loss diagnosis and Kate speaks candidly about the fissures in her marriage and insecurities about her weight. They even sing an “Isn’t It Ironic?” by Alanis Morissette karaoke duet and face Kate’s fears with a dip in the pool (preceded by Rebecca’s iconic line, “You’re fat. I’m ancient. We’re gorgeous.”). When Kate returns home, she asks Toby if he’s ready to be the father and husband he needs to be, to which he halfheartedly replies, “I want to.” Feeling frustrated and claustrophobic in her marriage, Kate agrees to meet Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) at the cabin for some Big Three time.
Despite the positive momentum in her relationship with Rebecca, we also gain a negative look into Kate’s relationship with her first boyfriend, Marc (Austin Abrams), in the episode. He polices her diet and body-shames her, flying off the handle for the randomest of reasons and even disrespecting Rebecca to her face. He even blows up at Kate as they drive to the cabin to write music and ditch Rebecca’s birthday dinner and leaves her in the freezing cold at a gas station where she nearly tells her mom what’s going on. But he returns, bearing a blanket and pretending to be her white knight. Their relationship is toxic to the core and Rebecca feels it. So, she cancels her birthday dinner, gathers the boys and heads up to the cabin to rescue her daughter.
2. Episode 14 Theory
Next week, in episode 14, the Big Three will gather at the cabin once again, under similarly heartbreaking circumstances. Kevin is lost and desperate for stability, Kate’s marriage is crumbling and Randall’s untreated mental health issues are threatening to take over. But there’s another issue looming above them: Rebecca’s memory deterioration. At this point, Randall and Kate know, but Kevin doesn’t. As we’ve learned in previous seasons, any time the Pearsons pull a Jack-level grand gesture and make an effort to get together, there’s something painful that comes to light. (Think back to Thanksgiving, Jack’s birth, etc.) This upcoming episode will be no different.
This Is Us executive producer Isaac Aptaker shed light on the crisis brewing between the Pearsons in an interview with Entertainment Tonight saying, “That’s something that’s more going to be growing and building over the course of our remaining five episodes. But we’ll definitely see some of the beginnings of that next week.”
On the subject of Kevin being the only one that doesn’t know about his mom’s diagnosis, Aptaker added, “There is much more of the story that we don’t know. But there’s certainly a brewing tension that we’ll see over the next handful of episodes surrounding Rebecca and her mental health.” He also mentioned that we’ll gain further insight into whether Kate and Toby’s marriage will withstand this hurdle.
With conflict a sure thing, now we’re left to wonder if the Big Three will butt heads over Kevin’s tryst with Madison (Caitlin Thompson), Randall’s reluctance to seek treatment or Kate’s potentially impending divorce.
More will be revealed when This Is Us returns on Tuesday, February 18, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.