This Is Us: New Season, Same Problems

[Photo Courtesy of NBC]

By: M.K. Killen

Season two of “This Is Us” premiered Sept. 26, and began in the same fashion as last season: the triplets’ birthday.  Watching each character grow over the past year left fans with a lot of questions and the season premiere did more to pique their curiosity than satisfy it.

The opening sequence was quite powerful.  A poem by William, Randall’s biological father, is punctuated by scenes from both past and present.

The triplets struggle to come to terms with their parents’ decision to take time apart.

Randall, exuding his self-proclaimed baby fever, is thriving in his new role as Mr. Mom, while Beth seems to struggle in silence.

Kate prepares for a musical audition with her biggest fan Toby there to give her encouragement.

Kevin lives the glamorous, albeit lonely, life of an LA actor while his ex-wife turned girlfriend waits back in New York.

Randall’s struggle with adoption and self-identity, while relevant, is recurring and takes a back burner to some of the other developments this episode made.

Kate and Kevin’s borderline obsession with each other reaches a breaking point and for once I was grateful for Toby’s excessively obvious vocalizations. “Do you want your sister to sit across from you, next to you, or right in your lap?”

Kate accuses Toby of coddling her and treating her like a child, which seems hypocritical when she has spent her entire life doing exactly that for Kevin. Kate plucks up the courage to go audition for the band she walked out on because she lacked self-confidence, but after a cringe-worthy outburst she learns that talent is more important than dress size.

It’s supposed to be an empowering moment, but instead it left me feeling disappointed in Kate’s lack of dimension as a character and wondering how she and Toby would ever be a successful couple with Kevin and their weighty issues in the way.

At the end of the episode we get a glimpse at Jack’s death, something the series has carefully skirted around thus far.  Last season I was almost certain Jack’s death would be a lesson in drunk driving, but after a glimpse at a charred house all of my assumptions have been thrown out the window.

With all of this uncertainty what can we count on in the new season?  Kevin will be self-absorbed.  Kate will be full of self-pity. And Randall will make the best of every situation.

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