Over in the "TV Shows I Am Binging" thread, I noted that I got hooked on This Is Us, which led to a quick discussion over the show's merits and a pledge to talk about the latest episode. We threw out the idea of having that conversation in the "What Are You Watching Right Now?" thread, but I decided to start one dedicated to the show. Although I titled it "Season 4," I'm not going to limit my observations to that season alone,

So far, it's just been me and Jeff, but I welcome anyone else to join in -- especially Tracy! We've seen too little of you here in the Comics Cave!

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Now, that said -- can it work if one half of the couple merely loves the other half, and the other half is in love? Maybe, but Madison is right not to bet on it.

ClarkKent_DC said:

And the flash-forward surprise ending! Which told a lot, but not everything!

  • We're five years into the future, and Kate's getting married? Wha' hoppen?
  • Kate's getting married to Phillip
  • Kevin does have a woman in his life (as evidenced by the bra lying around his hotel room), but we don't know who.
  • Kevin is pretty friendly with Madison; could she be that woman in his life? Just because they called off the wedding doesn't mean they couldn't have found their way to being together.
  • Uncle Nicky makes a crack about "the wife." He's got a woman in his life?
  • Randall gets a profile in The New Yorker calling him a "rising star." At what? He's moved beyond being a mere city councilman, but to what? Mayor? The state legislature? Governor? The House? The Senate? A Cabinet post? Inquiring minds want to know!

One thing I did not notice, but other fans did: Madison is wearing the earrings her mother gave her in the flashback. So there's somebody in her life, too, in this future. Could it be Kevin?

Whereas I definitely think it can, the result is by no means guaranteed.

Then again, there's no guarantee even when both are "in love." 

One of the annoying things often heard about a group of people is them calling themselves a "family," but the actors from This Is Us live up to it. From Deadline: "‘This Is Us’ Cast Gets 7-Figure Bonuses Ahead of Final Season, Raises Parity Issue".

In short, the original full-time cast members got $2 million bonuses for the final season, and Jon Huertas (Miguel) got a $1 million bonus. Huertas was recurring in Season 1 and made a regular in Season 2.

Producer Dan Fogelman and the cast pushed for Huertas to get the same $2 million bonus they each got, but the network wouldn't budge. They then planned to share their bonuses with him so he would be at parity. 

It's wonderful to have friends like that. 

Susan Kelechi Watson takes a hand at writing an episode. From TVLine: "For This Is Us' Final Season, Susan Kelechi Watson Wrote a Follow-Up to Beth's Origin Story Episode"

REMINDER: This Is Us returns tomorrow

A roundup of coverage and commentary on the season premiere from TV Tattle: "This Is Us' Final Season Feels Like Another End of An Era for Network TV"

Last night's episode was titled "One Giant Leap" but it could just as well have been "The Most Awkward Dinner Ever." The dinner scene was very "fictional" in several senses of the term. In one sense, it never would have happened; in another, if it had, it never would have gone on for a long as it did. It's almost as if the writers challenged themselves to the the characters outdo themselves; everything anyone said was more awkward than the last.

The "giant leap" referred to something else.

I'm kind of forgiving of This Is Us and its tendency to sometimes make its characters be unnatural. The dinner scene went left to me when the husband and wife started bickering, but I couldn't say there aren't husbands and wives who wouldn't have in similar circumstances, especially since it was telegraphed that the husband was more unfriendly than the wife. 

I appreciate that they didn't show Sally as being alone and pining away for Nicky the way he was for her; he was a summertime fling she hadn't seen in 50 years, so of course she barely remembered him. 

The reveal of Nicky's future bride was a welcome surprise to me because she was played by Vanessa Bell Calloway, who would have been my choice to play Beth's mother. Glad to see she's aboard anyway!

Speaking of those flash-forwards, TVLine helpfully has kept track of them (more comprehensively than other sites I've seen) and pledges to update its compendium each time some new tidbit is doled out, here: "This Is Us' Flash-Forward: Your Frame-By-Frame Guide to Every Clue"

Of course, the bigger moment was Deja (or "Déjà," as Entertainment More Than Seven Days Between Issues puts it) and her visit to Malik. It was charming. It was sweet. It was heartwarming.

It was, however, based on a bit of subterfuge, as she led her parents to believe she was going to a sleepover with her friend Tiffany, which makes me wonder just how stupid Randall and Beth are supposed to be. (Stupid enough that there never was a circumstance the whole time Déjà was gone for either of them to want to speak to her?)

The promo for next week's episode indicates Randall inadvertently finds out (via a voice text on Déjà's phone, the curse of modern technology!), and I hope he handles it well and wisely. He doesn't have to like it (nor Beth), but I would hate to see him react like Bernie Mac did in Guess Who. I mean, Déjà saw Malik's ex during that trip, and I think she's not looking to add to his harem. Nor is he looking to establish one. There are kids who would, but not them.

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