The long anticipated second season of the NBC family drama “This Is Us” was a let down… until the last five minutes. The episode, entitled “A Father’s Advice,” premiered on Sept. 26. Those first 40 minutes were exactly what you would expect from a show that had a very successful first season, but couldn’t deliver the second time around like ABC’s “Quantico” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”
There were some mildly touching scenes between Randall and Beth as they considered adopting another child, a lukewarm inspiring scene with Kate as she embarks on her resurrected dream of becoming a singer and a few vague and scattered moments about Kevin’s boring relationship. Still, it felt like there was something missing; as if the well containing the genuine, tear-jerking moments that characterized the first season had run dry.
However, just when I’d thought that I would drop “This is Us” from my Hulu watch list, Jack and Rebecca – the first characters viewers were introduced to and who they likely fell in love with – stole, or should I say saved, the show.
Last season ended with Jack and Rebecca, a married couple who seemed like they could endure anything, agreeing to take some time apart. When Rebecca showed up at Jack’s doorstep begging to set things right as opposed to Jack going to Rebecca, things began to look up. Jack is normally the show’s go-to for inspirational speeches.
The writers of “This Is Us” won me back with the next five minutes as if they remembered how to be truly genuine. First, Jack, who had expressed his need to reunite his family throughout the entire episode, shamefully admits that not only had he been hiding his drinking problem from his entire family for years, but that he needed to take some time off to set things straight. The episode appears to come to a close after Jack closed the door, the screen cuts to black and you hear Jack let out a shaky breath.
Then, the door opens.
Here, I began to realize that I had woefully underestimated the directors and, in doing so, had fallen right into their trap. They gave me exactly what I thought I would see, only to reel it all in in the last five minutes. Like a magician’s sleight of hand, I was thinking about the predictability of the plot of the episode while missing all of the cues that something big was going to happen and it was going to happen to the very first character we saw in the very first episode, the one who always tried to hold the family together: Jack.
What better way to start of the season by ending the episode with the night Jack died, thus, taking away the one thing that felt untouchable. Despite knowing that Jack had to die at some point, I personally didn’t think that they would choose to introduce that night in the first episode. By ending the episode in this way, the writers leave us wondering how it happened. did things go back to the way they were like Rebecca said they would? And when is the next episode?
Alexis Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org