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Who is “the most disappointed man” in This Is Us? Is it William, who claims the title as he’s being arraigned on drug charges, just weeks after abandoning his son at the fire station? Is it Kevin, decades later, who’s spiraling so hard into addiction that he can see only misery in his own future? Is it Toby, who didn’t get to stage an homage to Flashdance this week?

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There’s a lot of disappointment to go around this week, is what I’m saying. Here are my thoughts and feelings from episode seven, “The Most Disappointed Man.”

1. Is Bombay Bicycle Club’s “Fairytale Lullaby” going to be the new recurring theme for flashbacks? Because much as that Jackson C. Frank song from last season was lovely, the show also really beat it into the ground.

2. Oh lord, okay, it’s a William episode. I was already feeling emotionally fragile this week, so this should go great for me.

3. “The woman’s a criminal.” Hmmm, okay. I know that Randall is incredibly straitlaced and controlled, and would for sure disapprove of Deja’s mom’s criminal lifestyle, but this feels a little overdone to me. The parallels between Deja’s mom and William are so clear that it’s hard to buy Randall missing them.

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4. “These beans don’t grow on trees. You know, actually they do. I mean, technically, it’s not a tree…” Can Randall’s Ramblings be a podcast? It would 100 percent be the most soothing podcast in your feed.

5. Alexandra Breckenridge is so endearing as Sophie. (Seriously—remember last season, when the show was trying to pretend Olivia was an appealing human being?) Sure, Sophie doesn’t have a huge amount of depth yet as a character, but she’s so natural with Kevin and it just emphasizes that while everything is going his way, he’s still in freefall. Because addiction doesn’t care how well your life is going!

6. There are enough things going on in the world for me to hate right now, so I am going to try and come around on Toby. I’m going to like him this week. I am. (But, oh God, these “BABY” shirts are so extra and you just know they were his idea because he can’t announce anything like a normal person urrrrrgh.)

7. The fact that Kevin just stared blankly at their “BABY” arrow shirts is… concerning. He’s on another planet, and it seems like nobody around him notices.

8. Deja’s mom isn’t even coming?!?!?! How on earth is it possible that they would get this far into the process without realizing that she had opted out? Did she just decide she wanted out at the last minute? And Deja has been saving up her allowance for her mom? This is killing me.

9. Okay, Linda the foster-care lady. You can tell Randall all the self-righteous stories you want about deaf children, but this situation still sucks, and you are handling it very poorly.

10. For a twin, Kate seems to have a very, very poor handle on Kevin’s mental state. She just vaguely says, “Huh, did Kevin seem a little off to you?” and then immediately brushes it off. I think this is deliberate, though, because we’ve seen, right from their childhood, this family attitude of ‘Kevin’s fine, he can take care of himself.’ But…he isn’t!

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11. At some point, I’m going to need a role-reversed version of the scene from last season where Kevin runs to Randall. In that episode, it was Kevin who finally noticed that Randall was desperately not okay, so it would be very lovely if Randall were the one to notice that Kevin clearly needs help this season.

12. “Let’s just go to the courthouse and get married!” I mean…sure? Nothing about Kate and Toby’s engagement really makes sense, which they’re at least acknowledging, and I get Kate not wanting to deal with the dress shopping and the father–daughter dance and everything else that comes with a big wedding. But is this show really going to pass up the opportunity for a big wedding? A big wedding that could potentially play out in the season finale, in parallel with Jack and Rebecca’s wedding, which we still haven’t seen? I don’t think so!

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13. Judge Bradley disapproving of Jack and Rebecca adopting Randall is so complex and uncomfortable, as it should be. Sure, he’s allowing his personal experience to sway his legal opinion, but he’s also objectively right that there are things about a black child’s experience that these well-meaning white people are never going to understand. Does that mean he should let Randall go into the foster system instead of being adopted by the Pearsons? I’m inclined to say, Hell no.

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14. “All of our diamonds are conflict-free.” “Well, that’s good news, Sophie hates conflict. Hates it.” I laughed so goddamn hard at this line. Let’s give Kevin the benefit of the doubt and assume the drugs are making him extra-dumb.

15. “Whoosh? Is that the sound that marriage makes?” Wait, did I just laugh out loud at a Toby line? I did. That just happened.

16. “You picture this face, and you make a different choice. Can you do that? Can you find me a different ending to your story?” This is just heartbreaking, because we know William must have pictured this judge’s disappointed face a lot throughout his life.

17. I don’t love the heavy-handed dialogue in this scene between Randall and Deja’s mom. This storyline feels like it’s in real danger of cliché, and when not even Randall and Beth can sell it…that’s not good.

18. Toby has never been more endearing to me? Turns out all it takes to win me over is an attempt to have a conversation with the ashes of your girlfriend’s dead father!

19. Of course Toby and Kate are going to have the big white wedding. I knew it! And of course it’s going to be the most extra thing you’ve ever seen, and of course it’s going to be intercut with Jack and Rebecca’s. That is now my firm prediction for this season finale, let the record show.

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20. Sophie is a nurse, and even she doesn’t notice that there’s something physically wrong with Kevin? Is he emitting some kind of force-field that prevents people from seeing his true broken form?

21. God, this Kevin/Sophie blowout is brutal. “When I dream of our future together, it’s a nightmare.” How does this relationship ever recover?

22. “Recused? Is that a good or a bad thing?” Ha. Remember a time before 2017, when the word “recuse” wasn’t an essential part of every American’s vocabulary?

23. The Lost/This Is Us comparison has been drawn before, what with the various twists. But this ending in particular, with the two judges, reminded me of those little Lost asides where you learn that two characters briefly interacted in the world before the island. It makes sense that the judge handling Jack and Rebecca’s adoption case would interact with the judge handling William’s case, since they’re in the same area, but still, a cute final beat.



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