After more than half a season of hurt feelings, harsh words, tears, weirdness and anger, This is us‘Randall and Kevin directly addressed their issues in person in this week’s episode. But did it hour (by the way full of really nice work by Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley) does the Pearson brothers actually bring closer? Read on as we break down what happens in “Brotherly Love.”
DO YOU WANT TO BE MY NEIGHBOR?| Looking back to when the big three were toddlers, Rebecca and Kate are away on a girls̵
After the show, Kevin runs away and Jack has to chase him to find him. So Randall moseys up on the set and sees the puppet Daniel Tiger talking to him about fantasy. “I have imaginary parents,” little Randall admits.
This is traced to a scene from the beginning of the episode in which Randall fantasized that his parents were a television meteorologist (played by Brandon Victor Dixon, Power) and the local librarian (Janora McDuffie, grey’s Anatomy). We’ll find out more about that later.
PARTY FOUL | In another flashback, Randall visits Kevin for the first time in Los Angeles when both are college age. Randall is there with his Model UN team, but agrees to slip away for an evening out with his brother. They drink a lot to foreplay, but then the micro-aggressions start to get hot and heavy from Kev. He gives Randall a fake ID to a much older man and says, “He’s a black guy, you’re a black guy, that’s fine. And later, when they’re in a taxi, Kev is such a disgrace to the driver that it’s black that Randall wants to cancel all evening. Kevin, angry, says he had to drink so much just to be able to be with his own brother. Randall says he drank so much because he is “a drunk.” They start hitting each other a bit and it escalates to the point that the driver pulls forward and orders the two yahoos out of his car.
After they gossip a bit, Kevin can not find his keys. And when he realizes that they are actually in the pocket, the brothers have calmed down a bit. They return to Kev’s apartment, where he unfortunately admits that he is a failure who can not reserve a job. “You have everything, Randall: Beth, a huge future,” says Kev. Randall tries to make him feel better, and in the process, they do not really talk about all the hurtful, racist things Kevin did and said earlier in the evening.
MAIN EVENT | OK, now we are today. Beth and the girls go ice skating for a while to give Randall and Kevin the space and privacy they need, and the guys get right to it when Kevin arrives. It’s striking how much of what Kevin talks about at first, and how much he says he’s sorry IF Randall felt alone, and IF he’s ever played a role in making his brother feel bad. Kevin also points out how Randall’s prom date, Allison, had a racist father and says he’s sorry he didn ‘t say anything at the time.
When Randall says a quiet “thank you” and that he appreciates the mood, Kevin quickly gets annoyed. “It doesn’t really look like you do,” he says. Randall calls the speech a “beautiful monologue” and then steps out to get some air, while Kevin follows and demands to know what more Randall expects him to say. As they sit on the front steps of the brownstones, Randall lets his frustration show, saying it feels like Kevin “apologizes for a miscalculated tweet” and “after all these days, you’re still so tone deaf, man.” Then Kevin’s cell rings – he’s waiting for a call from Robert DeNiro, who he crossed off by leaving the set when Madison went to work – and both realize that the phone is inside the house … and the door is locked.
So they keep arguing. Randall points out that Kevin just wanted the “perception of doing the right thing”, and Kevin spits back that Randall’s childhood was “brilliant” because he was always designated to be special. Randall tells him that all he wanted to do was interfere, but his blackness did not allow it – and Kevin played a big role in giving something else. While Allison’s father was an idiot, “you were just thoughtless and intentional in the dark, which actually somehow hurt more.”
‘WILDLY UNGRATEFUL’ | They go to a neighbor to ask for the spare key she has. While they wait, Randall questions whether they would have the same relationship if he were white. He goes a step further by asking Kevin to admit that he feels sorry for Randall being black and if he had ever considered that the day he became Pearson was also the day he lost his born mother and dad. Kevin shoots out and calls Randall “wildly ungrateful.” But Randall says he is very grateful – but to always have to show that it is “a prison all the time.”
Randall’s neighbor hands over the key and messes up Kevin’s Sylvester Stallone movie in the process (ha!) And tells him he’s better at comedy. The gap has taken some of the heat out of Kev and Randall’s conversation; once they’re back at Randall’s house, Randall tells Kevin about his “ghost kingdom”, aka the fantasy reality in his mind “where you have the life you would have had if you were never adopted.” Yes, the weatherman and librarian are his parents there – “they were the only two adults I consistently saw who looked like me” – but his ghost kingdom also includes Rebecca, Jack, Kate and Kevin “because I felt guilty because I loved you too much. ”
WIDE THROUGH | It seems to get through to Kevin, who offers another – very heartfelt and “if” -free apology for everything he missed when he was growing up and still could not see. It makes Randall cry. “You are my brother and I love you. You’re the only brother I’ll ever want. You are my best man, ”Kevin continues. Then Randall makes Kevin cry. “Dad did not die ashamed of you,” he says. “And the only reason I said that in our match was because it was a cheap shot. Sorry. He was proud of you. I I’m proud of you and I’m sorry I ever made you think otherwise. “They hug and say they love each other.
But we are not done! Kevin talks to DeNiro, who is not angry. Then he admits that he did angry Randall because he considered his brother’s special treatment “mixed with the fact that you were black and I wanted to take you down a notch.” When Randall starts crying again – who could blame him ?! – Kevin apologizes for being super jealous and taking horrible shots at his brother over the years. As Randall wipes his face, Beth and the girls come home and they are happy to see Kevin.
That night in bed, Randall does not dream of WeatherDad and LibrarianMom mashed with the Pearsons, but of Laurel and William cooking in the kitchen, while Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How It Could Feel to Be Free” plays in the background – and that first time ever.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sounds in the comments!