This is Us Episode #20 RECAP: Clooney and Randall Are Turned Into Verbs

This Is Us - Season 2

Credit NBC

First of all, guys, this was episode TWENTY! On the one hand, it seems like a whopping number but on the other like just a mere handful of stories, with hopefully 20, 40, 60 left to go!

And secondly, everything just felt EXTRA skillfully wrought and finely crafted this week. I especially noticed and marveled at the craftsmanship that went into the weaving of Kate’s performance of “Landslide,” with Kevin attempting to Clooney his way through wearing a diaper, with Jack punching the ever loving dinglehopper out of that punching bag. All the strands were braided so lovingly.

What’d you guys think? 

Well, there’s time for those questions later. Right now, here is my recap for Episode 20, #2 of the minty fresh new season!

1. “My wife? She’s like Mary Tyler Moore and Farrah Fawcett smushed together,” gushed Jack. If you were born before 1975, this is a pretty rad compliment.

2. On Kevin, examining his abs for…fat cells? Not sure, because everything looked pretty lean and mean. Then he expressed his deep desire to be loved as much as George Clooney was loved upon his return to “ER” after becoming a movie star. Not quite the same thing, Kev, but that’s okay, Sophie’s not having your silliness anyway. (“You know this is your least attractive side, right?”)

Well, she’s having it; she’s just not letting you get away with it. (Do you guys think Justin H gets overlooked for his acting chops because of his looks? Because I think he’s really good. Subtle. Compelling.)

3. As my fellow adoptive mama friend Meredith pointed out, foster work paperwork cannot be accomplished on a 3-hour plane ride. Try 30 hours. Essays about your innermost self and closest relationships…Long essays! No wonder Randall was Randall-ing.

4. Yes, Beth turns Randall into a verb. “You’re Randall-ing again,” she says when he stomps out of “The Manny’s” taping to freak out about all the things that might go wrong with the fostering of an older child.

Verb: Randall-ing: to freak out, worry obsessively, overthink, and generally go into a tizzy of anxiety.

5. Kevin returns to “The Manny” and its all kinds of #awkwardsauce. Casey, the annoying producer, attempts revenge on Kevin for quitting his show by making some last minute changes, changes which involve Kev sporting Manny-sized Huggie. Ugh. But it’s Sophie to the rescue as she urges him to take the high road. I am starting to like her more and more–you guys?

6. More Randall-ing: “Are we trying to bite off more than we can chew?” Yes, yes you are. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t chew anyway. Countless foster kids need families.

7. Speaking of chewing, or gnashing, how about Kate and Rebecca’s delicate, supercharged relationship? Did you wince when Rebecca tried to coach Kate in her singing? How about when Kate ran into the shower and saw her mother’s skinny body and angelic voice and just shrank into herself? OUCH. As my husband–he of the sitting-on-the-couch-half-listening-yet-gleaning-insights said: “There’s always a ‘but’ (with Rebecca). ‘You sing beautifully but…That’s a lot of buts in 37 years.” I don’t think Rebecca is THAT critical, but she should probably keep her coaching to herself. So hard to do when you as a parent know more!

8. Rebecca and Toby leave “The Manny” to support Kate in her first ever singing gig. However, Kate’s not thrilled to see her mama there and she freezes ever so slightly. Luckily, she shakes it off and sings a sweet and earthy rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

9. Toby wins his future mother in law over with one line: “I am Team Kate For-Ev-Ah.” Nice boundaries, Toby! Rebecca was going for some insight, not going for Toby siding with her, but in picking Kate Toby proved his loyalty to Rebecca’s daughter. I also loved “Shall we commence the awkward car ride home?”

10. No insights into Jack’s death this week, but we know more about his drinking problems and some of the underlying causes or issues. Vietnam (a biggie). Jack’s abusive, alcoholic father (even more of a big deal). Wasn’t it sweet, though, how teenaged Kate responded to her dad when he told her he had a drinking problem? Bittersweet, because we know he’s going to die within days, weeks, or months…

Okay, tell me everything you are thinking and feeling right now. Because I want to know. I want to converse. Discuss. Let us process together, #US crazies!

What do you think about Randall and Beth adopting an older child?

Sophie? Is she growing on you like she is me?

How can Kate and Rebecca get past their issues to a healthier, less fraught relationship (ie: one where Kate will not throw a “throw fit” before her mother’s imminent arrival)?


(PS: If you need a refresher on last seasons’ doings, here you go!)


  1. Meghan says

    I desperately want redemption and healing for Kate. Her self worth is so wrapped up in Jack and whatever happened with his death that she can’t receive any kind of love from her mom, even (especially?) as an adult. I’m hoping that as this season processes Jack’s death, Kate will too, leading her relationship with her mom to a healthier place!

    • Lorilee says

      Good insight, Meghan! “Her self worth is so wrapped up in Jack…” I am wincing at my TV a lot when it comes to Rebecca and Kate. I’m hoping for some healing for them, too.

  2. says

    Lorliee, your posts totally got me hooked on this show! I got a 1-month free trial on Hulu this summer just to watch Season 1. Such great storytelling. I love how they’re growing Kevin’s character, and I agree. I think Justin may not be getting the credit he deserves. He plays this part so well. And the blowup between Kate and Rebecca…whew. That was hard to watch, but at some point in time, what mom and daughter haven’t felt some friction. I hope we get to see Kate work through this. And from the preview for next week….whooo looks like we’re going to see Randall and Beth go deep. I love their relationship.

    • Lorilee says

      Look at you, Huluing for free just to catch up! I am impressed! I agree with everything you said. Kevin is a favorite of mine and I hope the actor starts to get some credit!

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