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Finally, the moment has come. How many times have you heard some variation on this sentence? “Yeah, I like This Is Us, but honestly I just wish the entire show were about Randall.” That pretty much summed up my feelings about the show throughout its first few episodes last year, and though I’ve long since grown to appreciate the entire ensemble, the prospect of an all-Randall episode is still pretty exciting. And “Number Three” did not disappoint, though it did make me cry three separate times, which is excessive even by This Is Us standards.

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Between Deja, William, and goddamn Kevin, this was a true emotional rollercoaster for Randall, and for all of us. Let’s get into all of my many, many thoughts and feelings.

1. Of course Randall can walk and talk at the same time. Always been an over-achiever.

2. “Why did the iPad go to the dentist? It had bluetooth.” Never change, Randall. Never. Never ever.

3. This scene with Deja’s mom is infuriating. I understand she’s desperate to get her daughter back, but does she not see how disruptive and upsetting it is to Deja for her to just show up like this and make a scene?

4. Deja having to be the adult here is heartbreaking. I have a real trigger point when it comes to children being forced to grow up too fast, and act like parents to their parents. She deserves better than this.

5. Having said all of that, Randall and Beth threatening to press charges feels like the wrong move. It’s understandable that they’re protective of Deja and feel they can take better care of her than her mom, but it’s really not up to just them.

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6. “So, there are like…no white people?” I don’t remember whether we knew Randall’s alma mater before this, but Howard is such a perfect choice. That judge who tried to block his adoption did at least have an inkling of what might happen, in the sense that being raised in an all-white family has clearly been rough on Randall psychologically.

7. Poor Jack. I totally get why Randall doesn’t want him to come along on the tour, but he looks so crestfallen. I don’t know why Jack just makes me so sad in this era…oh, right, I do know why. Because he’s going to die soon.

8. Wait wait wait, is that pretty girl who smiled at Randall meant to be young Beth? Actually, nope, I guess not. Which is good—they need to save Beth and Randall’s first meeting for its own episode.

9. “He thinks we have a case.” Randall and Beth pursuing legal action against Deja’s mom feels wrong. It’s well-intentioned, but it feels like they’re punching down. They might be better parents to Deja in some respects than her real mom, but that’s not all family’s about.

10. WILLIAM! Oh God, this sequence where young William is imagining what might happen if he knocked on that door, imagining spending Christmas with the Pearsons…I can’t. I can. Not.

11. “Who was I to insert myself into your life against your mother’s wishes?” I’m gonna be honest. I’m not doing well over here. 20 minutes in might be a This Is Us tear-jerking record.

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12. “I hesitated. But not because you’re white. Because you’re old.” OMG. Bless quippy Randall for lightening the mood on this otherwise very sad moment.

13. Jack taking Randall to the Vietnam memorial is so powerful. He really never, ever talks about the war (or his long-lost brother, hello, no I have not forgotten) so the fact that he’s letting Randall in on this part of himself feels huge. It’s nice that he got to share it with at least one of his kids.

14. “You’re gonna make a lot of choices, and I’m probably not gonna be around for all of them.” Yeah, thanks show, I DID NOT REQUIRE THIS MORBID REMINDER. (Since this is the mid-season finale, is another twist about Jack’s death coming?)

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15. I’m glad Randall and Beth came to this conclusion on their own. The same conclusion that William came to—who are they to keep Deja from her mom? I mean, I can’t lie, there is a huge part of me that wants them to fight this and keep Deja around, but Deja’s mom deserves a chance.

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16. “Baby…what are you talking about?” Beth speaks for us all, although I’m actually really enjoying Randall’s weird Pacman/Sisyphus/life analogy.

17. “My foster dad helped me with that.” Yup yup yup I’m fine no I’m doing fine just fine.

18. So now we get to see Kevin’s phone call to Randall. And their whole interaction makes more sense—Kevin didn’t really give Randall any indication that anything was wrong, just said he was showing up early, which is kind of rude and annoying. And given everything that’s happening with Deja and then the sudden phone call from Rebecca, it makes sense that Randall was distracted and would assume Kevin’s “I need to tell you something” was about Kate. I remain extremely upset by nobody noticing that something’s wrong with Kevin, but at this point it’s clear that’s deliberate. He’s everyone’s blind spot.

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19. “I think we’re good from here.” Wait, really? Deja’s mom is just straight-up not going to let her ever see Randall and Beth again? This seems cold as hell.

20. Randall crying = me crying, every single damn time. This entire goodbye scene with Deja is rough, and the first time I watched this episode I had to pause it and rewind because I could not see through the tears.

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21. Uh, yikes, Kevin. Just slamming that vodka right into his morning juice. It really feels like he’s daring Randall to notice something is badly wrong.

22. “You look like hell.” Alright, so it’s pretty clear to me from the way Sterling K. Brown is playing these small reactions that Randall does know something’s off with Kevin, but I guess he just…doesn’t want to deal with it? The Deja thing just happened and now he has to call Kate post-miscarriage, so in fairness he can probably only focus on one family crisis at once.

23. “There’s another kid out there who needs us.” I mean, it might be Kevin, the wounded clammy man-child in your kitchen. I’m just sayin’.

24. So…is Deja really gone for good? If they’re already introducing the next little boy Randall and Beth are going to foster, I’m guessing so. There’s always the potential for her to come back in a future season if things don’t work out with her mom (not that I’m rooting for that, because that would make me a bad person).

25. OH. SHIT. Is Kevin about to get into a drunken car wreck? That feels a touch too melodramatic even for this show, but—WAIT. NO. TESS!

26. If Kevin wrecks this car with Tess in the back seat I swear to God…okay, and no. We’re fine. He just got a DUI. These thirty seconds have been a real rollercoaster for my blood pressure.

27. And on that stressful note, we’re out! So many questions here: Is this Kevin’s rock bottom, or does he still have further to fall? Will Randall and Beth forgive him when they realize he didn’t know Tess was in the backseat? Why did Tess say she hates her house? That house is amazing! Has she seen the kitchen island? Lots to mull over during the hiatus.



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