Let’s Discuss ‘This Is Us’: What to Do About Mother

Oh good, this should be fun

THIS IS US -- "Family Meeting" Episode 616 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chrissy Metz as Kate, Justin Hartley as Kevin, Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
Let's Discuss 'This Is Us'

Mother’s special friend has died, and now we don’t know what to do about her. She has Mother’s special full-time nurse, of course, but some of us aren’t exactly sure that leaving Mother stranded in the woods with a lady she doesn’t recognize is the best course of action. It’s difficult. And it’s interesting that we (you and I) have decided to “take this on” when in fact our plates are kind of full already, and we were never obligated to engage with this family in the first place. After all, they are not our family. This is not our burden. And yet here we are. Before we do anything, though, we have to check Mother’s vitals.


No. But her death is imminent.


We are, as you know, an unknown number of years into the future, and Actor Brother is about to have his final table read for the reboot of The Manny. Judging by the ages of Actor Brother’s children, I would guess the year is around 2029, and judging by the lush greenery around the family cabin and the family’s wearing of light sweaters, I would guess the month is May. “The Big Three” have not aged, however, and nor have their partners, and the family’s wealth has seemingly shielded them all from experiencing the effects of future climate collapse.

Actor Brother is at the Poconos cabin, along with Senator Brother, Sister, and their families. They’ve been there since the death of Mother’s special friend, which was seven days ago. Mother doesn’t understand where her special friend has gone and is only becoming more and more disoriented, and yet Actor Brother believes they should all just abandon her in the cabin and go back to their normal lives, even though we see, in flashbacks, how Mother has cared for them since they were babies. And this is how Actor Brother wants to repay her?

Alas, Actor Brother thinks this is what Mother told them she wanted when she instructed them to not “make their lives smaller” because of her illness, and when she instructed him to build this woods house for her. Oh god, we hear so much about how he built the woods house for her. Actor Brother, we get it — “you” (veterans you hired) build the woods house. That doesn’t mean you can leave Mother there, like some hard seltzer left in the fridge by former inhabitants of an Airbnb. Think, Actor Brother.


Senator Brother wants Mother to move in with his family, in Philadelphia. Actor Brother doesn’t think this is a good plan, because Senator Brother has a lot of senator meetings he has to go to all the time, and some of them are even in D.C.(!).


Sister takes a bit of time to build up the courage to tell her brothers what she thinks, due to her familial trauma and feelings of self-doubt, even though she is the one technically in charge of this decision. But here is what she thinks … the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Sister’s big verdict: Mother should move to either her house in Los Angeles or an assisted living facility nearby. Oh. All right. Not the grand plan we were expecting, but I guess that would work.


No. Actor Brother swoops in at the last moment and offers to move to the cabin with Actor Brother’s childhood ex-wife, to whom I assume he is at this point married again. And you know who else is gonna move nearby there? The mother of Actor Brother’s children and her nerd husband who, surprise surprise, is originally from New Jersey. They’ve been wanting to move closer to his nerd family, they explain; the only reason they’ve been sticking around Los Angeles was because of Actor Brother’s high-paying Manny career. We see in flashbacks that this is a good full-circle moment for Actor Brother, due to how he tormented his mother with bad behavior for his entire life. Plus he almost left her in the woods to die — alone!


He was. I think he lives there too, actually.

Next week: Mother dies in the woods (not alone).