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TV Review: This is Us (Season 2, Episode 4)

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Hitting our screens on Wednesday night, the latest episode of This is Us was not to be missed.

Dealing with issues such as casual racism, anxiety and personal pressures, the show maintained its characteristic poise and integrity. 

Kevin’s plight continued throughout this episode. Still reeling from his recent injury, viewers gained an insight into the Pearson family mentality to never give up. Still scarred, both mentally and physically, from the injury which ruined his high-school football career, Kevin is unwilling to let his most recent set-back put the brakes on his developing career.

Despite his evident pain, and the overhanging prospect that his injury could be life-changing, Kevin refuses to rest. Progressing on from the feelings tied up with the death of his father, his abject rejection of rest reflects that the consciousness of his previous failure is still very much a part of his psyche. Thinking he would be doing himself an injustice by allowing himself to heal, Kevin is on the verge of a breakdown. 

In a similar way, Kate has also upped the pressure on her goal to lose weight. Her perfectionist tendencies, and refusal to give up can be likened to that of both her brothers, suggesting a wider characteristic in the Pearson family as a whole. Despite Toby’s evident exasperation, Kate is determined to fulfil her goal, whatever the cost, even if it means not taking care of her hospitalised sibling. However, as the episode progresses, the realisation emerges that perhaps there is a method to Kate’s relentlessness. The prospect of a new arrival into the Pearson family holds a bitter-sweet sentiment, due to the ever-present absence of one of its key members, Jack. 

 The arrival of Rebecca’s mother into the midst the young Pearson family, recently infected with Chicken-pox, highlights various issues which have not been apparent thus far in the series. The racist views which Rebecca’s mother imparts upon her adopted grandson, although not explicit, are particularly shocking. Jack and Rebecca’s love for and protection of Randall shines through in this episode, and help to reflect where the foundations of love and acceptance which Randall has shown in adulthood, were laid. 

In a touching moment, the potential beauty of the bond between Deja and Beth was revealed. The stress and anxiety of Deja’s situation has manifested itself into alopecia, a condition in which one’s hair falls out. Beth’s sensitive and maternal nature shines through in her treatment of Deja, and her offer to do her hair. However, the fragile nature of Deja’s mental state is reflected when she becomes upset as boundaries are over-stepped.

Although dealing with similar problems to Randall, it is the way in which she deals with them which reflects their difference. The unintentionally naive actions of Beth and Randall reflect just how comfortable their situation is in comparison to many others, a fact which the arrival of Deja is truly bringing home. 

This Is Us: Season 2 airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on More 4.

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