This Is Us returned tonight after a two-week hiatus with the second installment of its “Songbird Road” episode, and though the wait felt long, the payoff was stunted.
“Songbird Road: Part Two” dealt with a lot of topics, but at its core it was an examination of the idealized Jack Pearson as a flawed man — one who lied to his family and allowed them to live nearly 40 years without knowing his brother was alive.
The Pearsons tend to live in denial, which was brought into sharp relief when Kate and Randall discuss a moment from their childhood that had very different connotations for both of them — Kate romanticizes it as a carefree day in which she, Jack, and Randall had a “sequin fight” with arts supplies, while Randall recalls their father yelling and smashing a plate into a wall.
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Kevin, too, comes to terms with his father’s failings, and unfortunately channels his inability to provide his stubborn uncle with the help he needs into a break from his sobriety.
But OK, we’ve talked about Jack Pearson to death (pun sort of intended) — this week I’d like to explore the most off-the-wall moment of the episode: when we randomly met a new family.
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Around half-way through the episode, we find ourselves in a new house, surrounded by strangers. A young girl plays Uno with her grandfather while her downtrodden mom reassures him and her own mother that they’ll be gone in a few weeks. “What are you talking about? We love having you here,” the mom counters, to which her daughter responds, “Dad doesn’t love that his painting studio is now Ella’s bedroom.” The little girl is Ella, got it? And then, delivering what is perhaps the best line of the episode, the father saltily replies, “I love it. I love that you didn’t listen to your father and went off and eloped with a musician and have now returned home at 28 to take over my painting studio.”
Anyway, the daughter is really angry at this point, which is of course when Kate and Randall arrive to take a tour of the house that was built in the place of their childhood home. After being refused entry by the 28-year-old who went off and eloped with a musician, the Pearsons eventually receive an invitation inside from the little girl and then exchange pleasantries with the older couple as they explore their home — but THAT’S IT. That’s the end of this extended family’s drama-filled arc — they just have an explosive fight, welcome Randall and Kate in, and fade to obscurity.
First of all, I encourage you to all sign my petition for NBC to create a spin-off based on this family, because I want all of grandpa’s piping hot tea. Secondly, WHY? Did they just need to fill a couple minutes, or is it meant as an allusion to the D-R-A-M-A the Pearsons also shared in that very spot? Whatever it was, I loved it, and also hated it, but was mostly just confused.
Thank u, next, Pearsons — I think my Tuesday nights deserve a dose of Ella, Ghita, Rohan, and their unnamed daughter.