The good news: this week This is us, little Jack doesn’t climb into a fiery smoker in the backyard like I (or maybe you) feared.
The bad news: he does get injured that involves a lot of screaming, crying and a trip to the emergency room for suturing. And it’s hard to see how his parents ’marriage will bounce back from the incident and everything around him.
Read the highlights of “Saturday in the Park”.
The stream turns into a flood | The episode begins with little Jack lying in bed and listening to his parents quarrel over what Kate called her name on a new job at her school. They immediately throw up an argument when they realize that Jack has woken up, and endow cheerful faces when the three of them go to the park. Along the way, Kate sings very useful alternative lyrics to the Chicago song “Saturday in the Park,” which help Jack navigate their neighborhood. And while he’s on a swing and Kate and Toby are pushing him and laughing, the Damon family is (temporarily) fine. (Note: Um, where’s Haley?)
But happiness is just a stain, as we learn by watching everyone prepare for Miguel and Rebecca’s barbecue for the 10th anniversary at Toby and Kate’s house. Between Kate and Toby everything is very tense and everyone knows what is going on. When Randall and Beth arrive, Kate hugs her brother and starts crying. After she calms down, she asks him to pick up Kevin – who is about to move into his house, but who in the meantime is driving Toby crazy – and take him out of the house for a while so everyone can cool off.
And then the ceiling in the kitchen, which you remember Toby dealing with some time ago, starts leaking again. Miguel goes to block the water in the house. Kate and Toby start yelling at each other. And Rebecca, who is frustrated that no one is allowing her to do anything related to something important, leads Jack to her bedroom to put on her shoes.
In the boy’s room Jack tells her that on Saturdays he walks in the park in the raincoats. (This will become important information later.) He also says it’s sad because “Mom and Dad are very crazy.” My God, this little one is such a good little actor! Meanwhile, Beth brings Toby a coconut drink in the backyard and suggests that it was hard for her and Randall to cross at a distance, but they came out. “I think the difference is that you moved for him, Beth,” Toby says, standing by the smoker. She says she did it for herself, her job … and her marriage, he’s finishing, and she can’t deny it.
MADISAN MOVES | Kevin and Randall go to pick up the twins, but since they arrived two hours earlier, Madison is just about to bring the kids to a music lesson. So the guys stay to talk to Elijah. When Kevin goes to look for him in the house, he finds that he is poking in Madison’s box and holding the size of the ring: Yes, he wants to make an offer.
The news makes Kevin feel “bad,” so Randall tells him they’ll just ride until the thought of grandiose romantic gestures disappears in his brain.
Eventually, when he learns that Madison is thrilled with the prospect of marrying Elijah (she’s pretty sure he’ll ask soon), Kevin feels glad for her. And she assures him that their relationship as parents of twins will last a very long time and she will be by his side as long as he needs her.
NOT AN PLANNED JUBILEE JACK | Let’s stop here for a moment and move on to the flashback, which refers to the time when the Great Trinity was 6 years old. Jack and Rebecca have an anniversary and they are going to go for a sumptuous dinner while the nanny stays with the children. Rebecca is fascinated by the idea of getting dressed and enjoying gourmet cocktails; Jack is more interested in the anniversary sex they will have when they return home and the children are asleep.
Unfortunately, Rebecca drinks only three drinks with inappropriate names before the nanny calls the restaurant: if the kids didn’t like that she called Kate “Grandma Katie,” they locked the nanny in the bathroom. Mom and Dad Pearson rush home; she is drunk and stupid, he is not happy with the behavior of the children. But when Kevin and Randall explain that they were just defending Kate, everything is pretty much forgiven.
Later, when Rebecca is sober and the children are sleeping between her and Jack on her bed, she is satisfied. “This is a momentous moment, Jack,” she whispers, referring to how their children have united against the one who offended one of them. “I couldn’t ask for a better gift.”
VERY CLOSE bell | Okay, back to Damon’s house, which is literally and figuratively falling apart. The leak is making its way through the bedroom ceiling, sending anyone scurrying there to minimize the damage. In the chaos, Toby puts Jack in his room, but doesn’t make sure the clasp on his gate is completely closed – for which Kate scolded him earlier in the episode. And when the plumber comes, Kate does not lock the front door behind him, which will also be a big mistake in a moment.
Little Jack pulls on his galoshes, grabs a cane and heads to the park while all the adults are busy. He sings “Saturday in the Park” to himself and does a great job, but it’s still lucky that he can cross the two-lane road so that nothing bad happens.
When they return home, everyone realizes that Jack is gone, and horror grips the place. Kate, Toby, Miguel, Rebecca and Beth are frantically looking for a place and come true with the neighbors. Eventually, Rebecca realizes that Jack has changed his sneakers for boots from the rain, and shouts that he’s probably headed to the park. While Kate calls the police, Rebecca runs after her grandson.
She gets there right after Jack fell, leaving him with a wound on his hairline – the one his ex-wife Lucy referred to in flash translations earlier this season. Rebecca picks up the boy and comforts him, sighing with relief that he is fine.
KATE AND YOU WON’T SAY WORDS | After a visit to the emergency room, Kate and Toby bring their son home and put him to bed. Then they go outside and fight. She yells at him for not hearing a click in the gate. He would object that she left the door open. The controversy then escalates into larger issues with how each of them thinks about Jack’s blindness. “All you’ve ever seen are his limitations,” Kate says, adding that Toby started moving away from the family back in the distant days when it became clear that Jack’s condition couldn’t be reversed. Toby, angry, claims that Kate does not see any restrictions in their son and it’s irresponsible.
“I’m the only parent in this family, period,” Kate spits. “Yes you want. That’s what you NEED! ” Toby is rejected.
By this time Kevin and Randall had returned from the hospital and were involved in the trial. Kevin manages to support his brother-in-law “and watch you talk to her.” Randall also tells Toby to stop doing what he does. Toby looks at the Big Three and laughs bitterly. “Here it is. It’s perfect, as always, ”he says.
ATTACKS | Toby goes inside, sits by Jack’s bed and cries while the HAIM song “Hallelujah” is played on the soundtrack. Outside, Kate tells Kevin and Randall that Jack said the reason he went to the park was “because there’s a happy mom and dad.” OOF. “I don’t know if Toby and I will make it,” Kate admits, crying as the brothers hold her hands.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of this episode? Sound in the comments!