The Pearsons are pretty conflicted about their careers in this episode. Here’s what went down:
Kevin is in rehearsal for the play but he’s not quite nailing it - particularly around a scene that requires grief. After the director lambasts him about his lack of feeling, Kevin’s co-star, Olivia, takes pity on him and invites him to a party. It’s only when he gets there that he realises, to his complete horror, that it isn’t a “party” at all but a memorial service for a stranger. Olivia argues that he needs help uncovering his grief and this morbid field trip is how he’s going to do it. A distressed Kevin doesn’t agree - until he has a moment with the wife of the deceased man. While listening to her talking about her late husband, Kevin remembers his father.
Flashback to a younger Kevin. Jack chats to him about building a model airplane because it’s something they frequently do together and it makes young Kevin happy. In the present, Kevin reveals that after Jack died he threw away all the models they ever built. Now the only thing he has left of his father is a necklace that he can’t seem to take off. The story makes him emotional and later with Olivia, he proclaims that he hated his father for dying. He couldn’t eat or sleep and it was probably the most painful thing he’s ever experienced. Olivia advises him to embrace the pain and not push it away, as it’ll make him a better actor.
Kate’s hired as a personal assistant and it’s all going pretty smoothly until she meets the daughter of the woman she works for: a sullen teenager with a horrible attitude. Kate’s new boss asks her to run a few personal errands, one of them being driving around her daughter. She tries her best with the kid but when she reaches her limit, she kicks the brat out of her car and leaves her stranded in the middle of the street. Later, she apologises to her new boss who confesses that she can’t seem to get through to her daughter, who’s a tad overweight. Unfortunately, she hired Kate in hopes of correcting that, feeling that Kate’s weight issues may resonate with her daughter. Kate realises she’s been comparing herself to her mother since she was a kid and that’s what’s happening with this teenager.
It’s Career Day at school and Randall is offended that his wife and daughters don’t know what he does for a living ( “trading commodity futures based on long term weather patterns”). He decides to spice things up by doing a musical number during his Career Day presentation, but unfortunately ends up embarrassing himself and the kids because he’s never had much musical ability.
In the past, Randall’s middle school teacher tells Jack and Rebecca that their son is extremely gifted and they should send him to a better school. Jack is reluctant to separate Randall from his siblings and is fearful of making him feel even more different than he already does. But after a conversation with Yvette, the mom of Randall’s friends, Jack quickly realises how special Randall is, and a conversation with his son helps him understand this better: “Maybe I don't want you to feel like you stand out, but I need you to know something. I want you to stand out. I want all of you to be as different as you can possibly be, in all the best ways.” Adult Randall puts on his tie in the present, the way his father taught him to years ago and makes an announcement at breakfast: he wants to do what he does for a living because it’s challenging and exciting for him. Also, he’s going to be taking piano lessons. It’s, as his wife Beth puts it, just a little “mid-life crisis”.
Back in the '80s, Jack starts working a desk job to pay the bills and as the years go by he gets visibly frustrated about sitting in a cubicle under a fluorescent light all day. Just when he starts thinking about starting up his own company, more expenses come their way and he’s forced to forgo the plan; instead he accepts a promotion at work. In the present Randall tells his family, “My dad put on a tie every day because he had to.”
This is Us Episode 7 airs Monday 10 July at 19:30. In the next episode, we get a glimpse of Kevin and Randall’s tumultuous brotherly rivalry in high school, that later explodes again in the present during a night out. Watch the promo here.
Learn more about This Is Us Season 1 here.
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