This is Us Episode 17 Recap: “It’s My Fault My Dad Died”

This Is Us - Season 1One more episode after this one!

Okay, I have a little bit of rage right now. Why oh why is our show not continuing on into May like the Good Lord intended? I mean, MARCH??? This will mean a SIX MONTH span of time wondering about Kate and Jack and the triplets and Toby and Sophie and…you get my drift.

That’s just too long, folks. Right?

Anyway, I better start recapping before my angst derails this whole blog! Because this was a mighty fine episode, wasn’t it?

Mighty fine. 

Also a fine conduit for some waterworks! Wow. We lost Doyle’s dad in November, and so the POSTCARD kind of threw me right over the cliff. But we’ll get to the postcard in a bit. But you should know if you saw me right now it wouldn’t pretty. My eyes are a little puffy if you know what I mean…

We are thisclose to knowing how Jack died…


1. William was a sight for sore eyes! I knew these writers would bring him back (and they will continue to, if they know what they are about, which they do.) I loved his letter to his granddaughters, requesting that they, not the grownups, plan his memorial and make it fun. In all seriousness, what a beautiful expression of a child’s grief. Balloons, a big breakfast, Hawaiian themed paper products (tee hee). And then walking in William’s steps on his daily stroll–perfection.

2. The mailman’s tears slew me. How like William to skip all the pretenses and surface crap and truly, authentically CONNECT with humanity. That was his gift to the world. Listening, hearing, noticing…that’s why William is beloved.

3. Jesse’s line was spot on: “(William) was a soft armrest for weary souls to lean on.” Beautifully said.

4. Sophie continues to grow on me as she and Kevin graduate from “cautiously” dating to “exclusively” dating. “You’re kind of sexy when you’re loyal,” she says to Kevin. Cuteness. But no more slinking around in the backs of theaters, Missy. Time to face the ex-in-law music, Sophie!

5. I cannot tell you how glad I was that Beth’s grief was addressed. We could all tell she had formed an important bond to William, and it didn’t seem fair that he didn’t say goodbye to her (of course, he did, but we don’t know that until the end). Nobody thinks about the grief of the daughter-in-law or son-in-law. Why don’t they? Beth refilling William’s pills said it all. “He’s part of our fabric now.” Love that so much.

6. The FUN-eral is a huge trigger for poor, traumatized Kate. Her pain leaks out in a teary driveway outburst as she thinks about Jack. I get it. Griefs are interwoven. Fresh mourning unearths old mourning. Losing my father in law, for example, excavated all kinds of stuff about losing my dad ten years ago.

I did love how Randall comforted her. He is a very sweet brother.

7. Randall’s dream, that Jack and William met and were laughing their heads off at Randall stories? I can’t even. It brought to mind a visual of my Dad and Dad C, talking and laughing about me and Doyle and their mutual grandchildren. Comforting, wondrous, but oh dear, my eyes just got puffier. 

8. Randall’s Line O the Week: “Now a man where the Manny once stood.” Smile! Keep that brotherly love, comin’…

9. The Postcard. Yeah, a bit much for a girl who just lost her father-in-law. Incredibly lovely, though, and a sweet tribute to the depth of Willaim and Beth’s relationship. I adore the trajectory of it–her initial skepticism and his wariness transformed into an endearing, enduring forever link.

10. “My dad’s death was my fault,” Kate wails to a listening Toby. OH NO. Of course, she’s terribly wrong. Dear girl needs WAY more therapy if she still pins the blame on her teenage self. The writing is on the wall, of course. And I hate it. I’m almost dreading next week. Can I somehow clamp myself to Jack’s leg and beg him to never leave us?


SO MUCH TO DISCUSS, Ussies. Comment below!

What do you think about the way Jack will die? Is it consistent with his character to fall to pieces and drink and drive? I really need to be convinced, and the writers have one more week to convince us all!

(Here’s Recap OneRecap Two  Recap Three, Recap Four and Recap Five if you missed them. Also, my first #Us post, “10 Adoption Thoughts About This is Us.”)


  1. says

    1. Why can’t we all take lessons from the girls and their FUNeral? How perfect. It’s harder to do in practice but many cultures do honor more than we do, when someone passes.
    2&3. Examples of how far of a reach people have and they don’t even realize it. Not only did William reach the mailman and the athlete that was talked about…he affected them deeply. He mattered and they have him to thank for some happiness in their life. It was a “WOW” moment for me. Think of the “druggies” you see on the street….will they be a “William?” Can they be? What do we need to pray for them to be able to live the end of life (or full life) like he did?
    4. Sophie – be careful girl. And now what…he just claimed she was the reason he came to NY…oops. Well, how can he resist this movie opportunity??? Very sticky. I am torn for him!
    5. Beth – one of my favorites. It’s like she is the one that just has to hold it together and then finally realizes, no she can’t. She is affected, too, more than she thought at first. Oh that postcard – like a golden ticket. She was right when she said they were friends. I love her example as a wife – supportive, challenging but knows when to stop challenging (“Really? when you haven’t taken a vacation in 3 years?” … but then she knows Randall doesn’t want to get into it. She walks away.)
    6. That is why people hate funerals. Not just for the person who died but for all the persons who have died and all that will die. People don’t want to have the pain from the present, re-visit pain from the past or think about pain in the future which WILL happen to them or those they love. No one wants to cry or feel that pain in their heart.
    7. dream. Oh this gives me peace – thinking about what those have passed are doing. Yes – you want them to be happy and connecting with others and just not sad or in pain. What a happy visual for them.
    8. Awesome line – Randall I love how you are coming back to being a human and being there for your siblings. You have relaxed that stiff, tough exterior and are allowing others to be with you and you be there for them. Love the hat.
    10. Yes, I am so afraid for what’s coming. Of course a teen/child would blame themselves somehow, it’s just part of grief and trying to figure out whose fault it is and how it could have been prevented. Poor thing. It IS outside of Jack’s character to do this – no doubt.. Not outside of him to chase after her (or shoo away the office flirt) but he’s human and people make bad decisions that seem out of character because they are afraid…his kids are needing him less, now his wife doesn’t need him as much either and is potentially being taken care of by another…his fear…don’t do it Jack. We think you are perfect but that is life – people are not perfect. We love people and then they make a mistake, sometimes horrible horrible mistakes. …..

    Best show on TV in a loooong time

  2. Pam G. says

    Love your take on this series! You always seem to point out things that I may have missed or skimmed over in my mind!

    Can I just say, I bawled through the entire episode! Usually there are one or two scenes that get you, and this week it was just one after another! So amazingly good!!

    Loved that the girls were in charge of the memorial! And such thought that they put into it. Especially thoughtful of them to have Randall wear William’s hat. (and did you notice, after being hesitant to wear it, he continued to wear it to the theatre and to the office. – PERFECTION!)

    The mailman? So special to see how William made an impact on others without Randall even being aware of it. “This neighborhood will miss him”. What a change, remember when he was stopped by the police/security because he didn’t “belong” in the neighborhood?

    Sophie – not sure why she feels uneasy to reconnect with the Pearson clan. Sounds like Kevin was the one who caused the divorce. Looking forward to learning why she has such a soft spot for “Miggy”. Especially since she has been there since day one, and knew Jack.
    ** How about that phone call from Ron Howard?? All after Kevin came to the realization that “I came back for you Sophie” — now what?? It’s RON HOWARD for God’s sake!!! Oh, the pickles Kevin gets himself into! Can’t wait to see how he deals with this one! Can their new relationship survive? Please oh please!!

    The moment when Randall comforted Kate with the story of his dream. So sweet. And to remind her that Toby was wanting to be there for her. She is a hot mess of grief and emotion. I hope she lets Toby in and is able to find some peace.

    Jack – oh Jack. Thank you telling that little office tramp that she was embarrassing herself and him, and that he is a married man! Pushed him right into getting on the highway to Cleveland to find his Rebecca.
    The drinking and driving – I think we might see that he had more of a drinking problem than has been revealed before, but it is the 80′s, and such behavior was a little more “acceptable”. You know, when the cops would just pour it out and send the driver home. We have advanced a lot since those times.
    If it is a drunk driving accident that takes his life, do you think Rebecca keeps that fact from the kids to protect them, and Kate will find out now that it wasn’t her fault after all?

    Rebecca – how brave of her to face Randall and explain her secret fears of the past. Randall as always full of grace and forgiveness. Glad to see they are on their way back to each other, especially since he is her favorite!

    Randall – quitting his job! So strong, and taking on William’s legacy with gusto! Can’t wait to hear what Beth has to say about it. I’m sure she will be supportive as always. She is amazing, and I think their marriage is my favorite relationship.

    Looking forward to the next episode, other than the fact that I will have to start over at the beginning after next Tuesday and watch all of the episodes again to keep me from falling into the abyss!

  3. Ron says

    I may be the only man to comment on here but I love this show! Your recaps of the episodes are awesome, keep it up!!

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