Let's Discuss 'This Is Us': Don’t Even Ask About Father

Father is not here. He is working!

THIS IS US -- "Four Fathers" Episode 603 -- Pictured: (l-r) Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Kaz Womack as Kevin, Isabella Rose Landau as Kate, Ca’Ron Jaden Coleman as Randall, Mandy Moore as Rebecca -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
Let's Discuss 'This Is Us'

Can a father make a good memory with a child? That is the central question of this week’s This Is Us, and the answer is no, plus now Undead Father’s mother has died. Hope you’re happy. Maybe next time don’t ask so many questions. Let’s see what else.


Not main Mother, no — not yet.


Sister has returned, yes, and Sister’s Husband has surprised her with a purse and a gift card to get a blow out. It’s a big night, you see — Sister’s Husband is in from his far-away job, and they’re going on a date to Sister’s work in order to watch children give a recital, and then they’re going to get frozen yogurt. My, my, my, how did Sister get so lucky?

Well, not so fast; Sister’s Husband has messed up the children’s sleeping schedule because he only spends 30 hours with them a week, and the babysitter is incompetent. So, Sister’s Husband has to stay home with the children during their big yogurt night, while Sister is comforted at the recital by Guy From You’re the Worst aka Sister’s Future Husband.

But don’t worry — Sister’s (Current) Husband has a way to bring their small family back together. He wants to buy a smoker, so they can have barbecues. Okay. In the future, we see Sister’s Adult Son using that very same smoker, and Sister’s Adult Son’s Wife points out that his continued use of that smoker is odd, given that it was so deeply involved in his parents’ divorce. Ahh, very interesting … we’re picking up clues here, yes. The inciting divorce incident, we also learn, involves screaming, a crash noise, and Sister’s Adult Son ending up with a scar on his forehead. Oh, Sister’s Husband … what have you done in future’s past?


Well, Councilman Brother is teaching Eldest Daughter — who betrayed him by secretly visiting Eldest Daughter’s Boyfriend last week — to drive. Unfortunately, Eldest Daughter’s bluetooth connected to the car’s speakers and betrayed her by reading aloud a spicy text from Eldest Daughter’s Boyfriend, right in front of her Councilman Brother Father. Now Councilman Brother Father knows everything — about the visit, about the non-traumatic young sex. Now she must be punished for her lustful sins!

Yes, her iPhone is taken away, and Councilman Brother has a talk with her about his feelings. Well, that wasn’t so bad. It seems all may be well once again in Councilman Brother’s household.


Not well. Actor Brother, now starring in a reboot of The Manny, is sad to be missing out on so many milestones in his daughters’ lives. At first he is upset with Actor Brother’s Children's Mother for getting to be the parent who is there for all of the big moments, but she has vomit in her hair, so she is forgiven. At the end, Actor Brother calls Jennifer Morrison, an old friend who — I must admit — I had thought until this moment was Keri Russell.


Undead Father has been dealt the worst hand of all, I’m afraid. After working all week, he takes his children to the movies and falls asleep in the theater, and Young Actor Brother runs away to the mall food court. (The movie theater is in a mall.) Younger Mother has to retrieve him from the mall security office, which is embarrassing for Undead Father and — he fears — quite traumatic for Young Actor Brother. Luckily Younger Mother has a solution: give the day a new memory. So they all watch a movie and have ice cream at home. Ahh, all is settled, correct?

Incorrect. Now Undead Father gets a call right before bedtime that his mother has died. And now next week we have to spend a lot of time at her funeral. We didn’t even particularly know Undead Father’s Dead Mother when she was Undead Father’s Alive Mother, and now we’ll be submerged into grief about her? Great. I suppose it’s lucky that we like emotionally manipulative television that quite often feels like punishment.