'This Is Us' recap: Another ominous clue about Jack's death

Hoo boys, guys. Did you, too, get suckered in by the deceptively lighter tone of this “This Is Us” episode? I feel your pain.

First, a brief recap of what came before: Everyone threw out a crap-ton of heavy emotional stuff during Kevin’s family therapy session in rehab. Accusations were leveled and rebutted and finally accepted. An uneasy peace was attained. There were cheese fries and beer.


And now, onward. If you’re not all caught up on “This Is Us” avert your eyes -- there are spoilers below!

Otherwise, grab your slice of Sbarro and a glass of champagne so we can dish about “Clooney”!


Present Day...

Do you guys remember Clooney, William’s cat? Did you ever wonder where he went? This episode is for you!

It’s like a little piece of William has survived. A little furry, ugly-as-sin piece, to be sure, now wandering the streets, and guys, if a cat can strut, that cat is strutting.

But first, let’s check in with the Pearsons.

Kevin is leaving rehab, with Barbara cautioning him against returning to Hollywood first thing. Kevin agrees, so he goes to stay with his mom — and Miguel, whom he refers to as “a small problem,” and see, right there, Kev? I kind of want to slap you.


Rebecca is thrilled to have him home. She’s stuffed the fridge with all his favorite health foods. And Kevin responds with “I’m completely off that stuff and eating sugar now.” And the slap-urge — man, I’m fighting it, I promise.

Kevin's stint in rehab prompts a family therapy session with the Big Three and Rebecca, and emotions run high to say the least.

At the grocery store, Kevin acts like a jerk toward Miguel. But Miguel does not, for once, just grin and bear it. He says he’s there to protect his wife from any more emotional bombs her eldest son decides to lob at her. Kevin protests that his mom doesn’t need any protection from him -- he’s her son!

“I’m her husband,” Miguel points out.

“My dad was her husband,” Kevin snots back.

Miguel smiles tightly and walks away, as I resist slap-urges Nos. 3 and 4. A two-fer. Kevin, you are on my last nerve, son.

Later, Kevin apologizes to Miguel and finally asks the question I guess he’s been swallowing for years now: Was Miguel in love with Rebecca when Jack was alive? No, sir, Miguel says. That was a non-starter. It would have been impossible. But you best believe he’s here now.

Meanwhile, Randall goes to William’s old building to collect a box of his father’s belongings from a man named Lloyd. He took care of Clooney, but the cat took off a few weeks ago, Lloyd says.

Randall looks through the items in the box, especially a composition book filled with poems, including one in which we get to hear in William’s voice. It’s dedicated to a neighbor “Lady.” There are also sketches of parts of a woman’s face — eyes, the curve of a chin and a cheek, full lips…

Randall is nine kinds of intrigued! But when he pops in to Beth’s office to tell her about this new mystery, she makes it clear she’s not interested in playing detective. She admits she’s deeply dissatisfied with her own work, feeling disempowered and ineffective, unable to make any kind of meaningful change in people’s lives, but maybe if Randall is employed again, it will help them both get back on track.

So Randall goes to the interview but he’s clearly not jazzed about this cellulose something-something … y’all, I don’t even know. I don't blame him.

He’s so bored that he excuses himself in the middle of the interview to take a call from Lloyd. Lloyd, who is ALL about the gossip, tells Randall that his dad used to be in and out of the super’s apartment at all hours. Maybe she’s the Lady?

Randall goes to see the super, who gets the best line of the episode: “When [William] moved, man, the building felt it, you know? It was kinda like we lost a heart, and there was no place for the blood to go.” Oof. Yeah, we know.

She says she and William actually butted heads all the time, with William haranguing her to fix all the many things wrong in the building, and her reminding him she had no money for repairs.

She takes him to William’s old apartment and urges him to take a look around. We hear William reciting the “Lady” poem, while Randall looks out the window to see a mural of the Lady in question.

The famous Lady Day, Billie Holiday. Mystery solved.

Finally, let’s check in with Kate, who is at her weight loss support group, confessing her sins and admitting her fears about shopping for a dress. It’ll be a hurdle, she says.

Thin Madison surprises us all by offering to take Kate dress shopping. She swears they’ll drink champagne and let the staff treat Kate like a princess. She won’t even have to try anything on. “Let me help you clear this hurdle,” she pleads, and you guys, I don’t know what kind of sorcery this is, but just like that, Madison is my favorite character for the episode.

This episode of 'This Is Us' is the second in a three-episode arc, all directed by director/actor Ken Olin. And y’all, it. Is. A. Doozy.

In a terribly chic boutique, we find out Madison was not lying! The saleswoman is every bit as low-key and friendly as advertised, gossiping about Hanga, the designer. She plunks champagne flutes in the ladies’ hands (Madison needs something to wash down all those macarons with!) and says “follow me.” And, hand to God, I have no desire to get married again but for a hot second, I want to be engaged just so I can go visit Hanga’s store.

But in the middle of debating the finer points of flesh tone versus blinding white fabric and empire waists, Madison begins to look super uncomfortable and goes to the bathroom. Both Kate and the saleswoman exchange worried looks.

Later, Kate confronts Madison about her eating disorder. Madison is not ready to talk about it, though. She gets upset and leaves, telling Kate to find her own way home.

But then Kate gets a phone call, and just like that, she’s over at Madison’s house where she finds the woman sitting on the bathroom floor with blood on her face. She thinks she fainted. Again.

The two women finally talk for real. Madison admits her eating disorder. Kate confesses that right before her dad died, she lost a lot of weight, but the weird thing was that she’d begun to need that self-loathing voice so she began sabotaging herself again.

Randall brings Beth to William’s apartment building. He tells her this strange day’s evolving plot led him back to her, the woman who creates beautiful spaces -- and it’s inspired the idea that absolutely gets his juices flowing again: He wants to buy this building and make it a better home for all the residents there, the people he got to know in a single day while he was chasing down William’s Lady.

As he explains his vision to Beth, the camera pans up and we see a little boy putting a bowl of food in front of Clooney, who looks quite at home.

I hope you got enough inspiration and positivity from this segment of the recap, ‘cause … well ...


… Back in the Day

Kate interrupts Jack’s entertainment-center construction to ask her mom if she’d go to the mall with her to get a dress for the winter formal. Jack decides he needs a suit, Rebecca says they need batteries, and Kevin, despite his self-pitying moping session on the couch, also needs a new suit. Randall wants to go to the mall, too.


(If this confused you, kids, a mall was a place where … you know what? Google it. There are pictures.)

And at the mall, they run into Miguel. He’s bummed because his ex-wife just got engaged. Of course, Jack is trying to give him the patented Pearson Pep Talk, but Kevin does something completely unexpected: He makes a good point.

Sometimes, he points out, you gotta wallow. So off they go to the food court together, to wallow. (Man, is anyone else craving Sbarro and some Orange Julius right now? Just me? OK, then.)

As they talk about deferred dreams, Kevin claims that his dad never lost anything he really wanted. So he’s stunned to learn of “Big Three Homes” — the company his dad always wanted to launch but never did, because he had to provide a stable income for three kids and a wife.

Kate and Rebecca aren’t having nearly so much success. Rebecca is over the moon to be shopping with her daughter. Her daughter, however, is sneaking out of the stores. She tells Kate it’s because the dress she liked didn’t fit. But the reality, as Kate informs us in the scene with Madison, is that she was so used to being hard on herself that she took off the perfect-fit size 7 and got upset that the size 5 was too tight.

"This Is Us" is all about Kevin, aka "Number One," this week.

Meanwhile, Jack buys a suit for himself and one for Kevin. And Randall takes a Magic 8-Ball to the cute redhead we saw briefly in the season premiere and asks her out on a date - showing her the ball, which has been doctored to read “Don’t overthink this, Allison.” She smiles and I’m guessing that’s a definite “yes”!

Back at home, Jack and Rebecca mull over the successful shopping trip. And Jack finally admits it. He hates suits. He hates his boss. He wants to launch Big Three Homes.

Yep. Right now. Right before three college tuition bills will be coming due.

Rebecca says, “Well, that’ll make it really exciting then, huh?”

As they smile and anticipate the future, Rebecca suddenly frowns. “Babe, did we forget something at the mall?”

“I don’t think so,” Jack says.

And the camera pans up to the smoke detector on the ceiling.

The one without a battery.

So, apparently, that spell I cast a few weeks back to stave off the “Jack dies in a house fire” episode we all know is coming didn’t take. Sorry, guys.

Since this recap ran a bit long, I’ll skip the “Fun Twitter Facts” this time. Also, I need to go find some macarons and champagne with which to drown my sorrows. See ya next week.

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