This Is Us recap: Season 2, Episode 13, “That’ll Be The Day,” Aired Jan. 23, 2018
This episode of This Is Us is by far the second to most brutal episode that you could watch. You are basically watching the final day of Jack Pearson’s life and, you guys, I was not ready and still am not ready for this. The most heartbreaking part of this is you get to see what each family member was up to during this day and it helps you see how the events that occurred shaped each of the Pearson children as they grew older.
Randall is so keen on getting started on the building project that he doesn’t do a great job listening to Beth. As usual, he gets overly excited and wants to begin fixing things now even though it’s a process. Then Kevin comes along in order to help and, well, maybe having two eager brothers together was a disaster in the making. Even if they both looked very good while doing manual labor.
When cockroaches enter the building, it causes the tenants to have to move out until the exterminator can come. Even though it’s an inconvenience for everyone involved, it does lead to a touching brotherly moment between Randall and Kevin. Randall is realizing he’s outliving Jack and making a new career. He can’t imagine growing older and outliving their dad. Kevin does his best to cheer him up, although it is clear he is as affected as well.
Kevin is still going through his journey of making amends with those he hurt due to his addiction. We see that Randall’s name is at the top and in this episode, he works on the building with his brother. Even though things don’t go as planned, he still gets the chance to work with Randall and bond with him. They may not talk about the things they should be discussing, but the memories of their father is what holds them together in this episode.
After not seeing her for weeks, Kevin goes to see Sophie to make his amends with her. Sophie feels guilt for not seeing how broken he was, but she wants to move on and just remember the good times as they were younger.
It was sad to see them apart, but I think for Kevin it was for the best. He needs to keep working on himself and focusing on healing. There is still pain resonating deep within himself and he needs to find the strength to be happy if anything were to happen with him and Sophie once more.
Teen Kate has adored having her dog, Louie, but in this episode we find out that adult Kate is no longer a dog person. When she discovers Toby looking at shelter dogs online, she wants to make him happy and decides to try and find a dog to adopt. However, even though she makes it there and falls for an adorable dog named Audio, she can’t do it.
Why isn’t Kate fond of dogs? We don’t know. That’s a piece of a puzzle that we can only begin to speculate on. There is a possible reason and it could have to do with the night Jack died. Could Louie be the reason Kate lost her father?
Kate eventually does decide that she wants to see Toby happy and she brings the dog home. Personally, I think Kate did a great thing here. She saw past the pain she has been holding for 20 years and did something she knew would make Toby happy. And just maybe having this new dog will help Kate find the healing that she has been seeking since that night.
That night appears to be the night of the Super Bowl. We see the Pearsons preparing to spend the day together, or at least Jack and Rebecca are. The kids are off in their own world. Kevin is not very happy since Sophie is going away to college, Kate is nervous about getting into college, and Randall is in his own world in his new relationship.
It turns out to not be a night Jack and Rebecca planned, but they do their best to make the most of it. They make decisions about flipping houses and even have an intimate moment together.
Those final moments
While watching the scenes from the past, I was focused on Jack’s interactions with all of his kids. In different ways, you can see how his final moments with them shaped how they coped after his death. With Kevin, you saw a sulking teenager who didn’t want anything to do with anyone and he makes a decision that will forever alter his life. It’s likely Kevin has internal guilt over not taking that chance to talk to his father.
We see in the episode adult Kevin going over his list of people he is making amends to. Having gotten his beloved pendant back after losing it at Charlotte’s, we see he has also written his dad’s name. Kevin never got to have that closure he should have received after losing his father. The guilt over those final moments can leach on to you for years and never let go.
Kate has a hard time listening to Jack’s advice over how she looks. She has plenty of insecurities that have festered within for years since childhood. It was hard for her to hear those same loving words from her dad. However, when she watches a video her dad took of her singing and sees the way he looks at her, it makes her change her mind about how he encourages her.
This was a beautiful moment between the two, but also sad when you realize what is coming. Kate knew her dad saw something special in her and wanted to keep hearing it from him. The video he took of her showed her that. Who else is hoping that video somehow survived? Anyone?
Now, Randall, my sweet Randall. He followed his usual pattern of being in his own world. He was very excited about his new relationship and wanted to spend time with Allison rather than be home. However, he does return after his date and he has a chance to have his own time with Jack.
Randall was the last one to see Jack before the moment that would change their lives. How this later affects him is not known. It could be that getting to have that time with his dad could have helped him as he mourned.
That’ll Be the Day
The title of the episode comes from a brief mention from an elderly man named George, who is talking to his wife as they prepare to move and get rid of their things. It turns out George is a neighbor of Jack and Rebecca’s from when they were first moving into the home. He gifts them with his slow cooker, which at the time was two years old.
Fast forward nearly 18 years and they still have the slow cooker, but the switch is faulty. Having cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and gotten ready for bed, even leaving a note for Kevin, Jack makes sure to turn it off. Or at least he thinks he turns it off. The cooker catches fire and because there is no battery in the smoke detector, none of the people in the house know what is about to happen.
No new episode will come next week but we will see exactly what happened the night Jack died after the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. Then there will be another new episode just two days later on, Feb. 6.
What are your thoughts on what will happen? How do you think Kate’s guilt plays into Jack’s death? Tell us in the comments below or follow us on Twitter!
Tune into This Is Us Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC
(Featured image via Ron Batzdorff/NBC)