Beth faced the COVID-related closure of her dance studio, Toby was forced to call his dad for help, and Kevin had second thoughts about his upcoming marriage.
A ton happened on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14, and our TV Fanatics Carissa Pavlica, Sarah Little, Christine Orlando, and Jack Ori have opinions on all of it.
Read on for our Round Table team’s takes on everything from Beth’s next move to what we thought was the most emotional scene of the hour.
What do you think Beth should do next now that she’s had to close her dance studio?
Carissa: I am not convinced it will be closing. We’ve seen the future, and she’s got a successful studio. Whatever she does, it will be only a bridge to larger success.
Sarah: I agree with Carissa.
Beth’s dreams of running a dance studio may look bleak right now, but we’ve seen the future.
We know she comes back around to her dance studio sooner or later; it’s just a matter of when that will be. Maybe she’ll find something else that will fuel her passion, but one way or another, this is not the end for Beth’s dance studio.
Christine: We know Beth has a dance studio once again; it’s just a matter of when. But you could tell from the reaction to her canceled interview that going back to the corporate world felt soul-crushing.
Obviously, if they need the money, she’ll have to find something to tide them over, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I’m hoping Beth gets to do something dance-related soon. She’s had to put this dream aside her whole life; it’s sad that Covid is taking her down that path once again.
Jack: Oh my gosh, I got so wrapped up in this story that I totally forgot Beth has a dance studio in the future!
Hopefully, this bump in the road will be short-lived. It was heartbreaking for her to give up her dream AGAIN, and going back to the corporate world doesn’t appear to be good for her mental health.
What did you think about Toby’s dad? Did he surprise you at all?
Carissa: I was shocked that they introduced his dad, and it’s the dad from Wonder Years!
Very nice. I liked him.
He and Toby have a very relatable relationship.
Parents so often hold you to seemingly impossible standards while still silently cheering you on while proud of what you’ve accomplished.
This relationship fits right into the This Is Us landscape.
Sarah: He did surprise me with his advice to Toby regarding his current unemployment status.
Toby and his father do not have the most feeling relationship, so they aren’t going to sit around a campfire, holding hands, and talking about their feelings like the Pearsons do sometimes.
But it was nice to see Toby’s father try to help his son not only by fixing the leak but also by using it as an analogy to Toby’s mental state during his unemployment.
Christine: I could see Toby’s dad having similar issues with depression as Toby, only that wasn’t acceptable to talk about in his day.
That might be why he’s this strange mix of harshness and understanding when it comes to Toby.
Jack: I was surprised by his advice to Toby too. I was expecting a story about how critical he is of Toby, especially since Toby was so reluctant to call him and only did it because he was too embarrassed to call Miguel.
Carissa, I was so excited to see it was Dan Lauria! I will never stop thinking of him as the father from Wonder Years no matter what, but I always enjoy him in other roles, and this one was similar.
Kate is downplaying how much she loves her job, while Toby is keeping his feelings about being a stay-at-home dad mostly to himself and pretending he fixed the leaky pipe by himself. What do you think this all means for the future of this couple?
Carissa: I think it’s easy to imagine it spells disaster because we’ve seen a Kate-less future with Toby. It might not be that simple.
Kate doesn’t want to add to Toby’s feelings after losing his long-term, successful career. Toby doesn’t want to be seen as a loser just after losing that career.
That seems natural and doesn’t spell doom for the couple to me. It does reinforce that they need to address their poor communication style.
Kate has never been a great communicator, so it’s a significant hurdle.
Sarah: This Is Us has pulled the bait-and-switch before, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Toby and Kate happily married in the future somehow.
But, as of right now, things are not looking good for their relationship.
It’s never a good sign when both parties are keeping secrets from one another, and as Carissa said, they need to do a better job of communicating with one another.
If they don’t, then their marriage could be in real danger yet again.
Christine: Ugh. I wish these two would find a way to be honest with one another because their issues aren’t huge in the scheme of things.
The bigger problem is that they keep these things from one another, and they need to fix that.
Kate and Toby could really use a little counseling to help them figure out how to communicate without hurting one another. They can do it; they just don’t seem to know how to get there.
Jack: I agree with Christine. It drives me nuts that they keep causing themselves these problems by not talking honestly with each other.
They need help learning to communicate, stat, or this is going to snowball into something huge.
Kevin seemed to have second thoughts about Madison after talking with Zoey. Do you think he and Madison will make it to their wedding? Do you want them to?
Carissa: I really want them to overcome Kevin’s jitters.
I think everything between them happened so fast that it’s easy for them to believe there is something better out there, but we’ve seen Kevin with other women, and he’s more comfortable with Madison than any of them.
And think of how Madison handled that paparazzi guy. She’s got his back no matter what.
I foresee a conversation with Randall reminding Kevin about what matters.
Sarah: It’s completely natural for Kevin, and even Madison, to second guess their wedding. But I highly doubt that Kevin will go running back to Sophie or that he’ll end things with Madison.
This is just going to be another thing that tests their relationship, but I believe they are stronger than that and will make it to the end of the aisle.
I wasn’t Team Madison at the beginning of the season, but I sure as hell am now, so This Is Us better not take them away from me!
Christine: Considering how their relationship got started, I think Kevin and Madison’s second thoughts are normal.
At some point, you have to wonder if you’d be together if it weren’t for the kids, but the truth is that they’ll never have that answer.
Zoey pointed out a bad habit of Kevin’s; he forgoes what he wants to make his relationships easier. He needs to figure out why he does that and when to fight for what he really wants.
But I think Kevin is the most himself with Madison. He seems truly happy with her and their little family, and I can’t wait to see them get married.
Jack: I agree that it’s natural for them to have second thoughts, but Kevin’s getting cold feet irritated me.
He walked off set for Madison and the twins. He came back from Vancouver convinced he wanted to spend his life with them.
He finally has the family he always wanted, so can we please keep it that way?
Kate told Rebecca she was a good mother and that she knew she wasn’t an easy daughter to raise. React!
Carissa: I hope that shows that Kate is learning many things about herself, which will, in turn, help her marriage, as well.
Kate was difficult. She had a hard time finding her place in the world.
Kate will always have that conversation with Rebecca, and it will carry her well into the future when Rebecca loses more of herself. It was a good moment.
Sarah: It’s really beautiful to see how far Rebecca and Kate have come over the course of five seasons.
Kate was always a daddy’s girl, so she was never going to be a mama’s girl.
But, despite that, they have moved past their clashing personalities and hardships and have formed an amazing mother-daughter relationship in the present.
And it was very big of Kate to acknowledge the role she had in making her childhood difficult for her mother.
Christine: That was a huge moment for these two, but I liked how they didn’t play it like that. It was a simple conversation, but it meant a lot.
Perhaps knowing that her mother’s memory is declining and now being a mother herself gives Kate a perspective that she never had. But something as simple as this can alleviate a lot of regrets moving forward.
Jack: This was my favorite moment of the hour!
I thought it was extra poignant, considering that we know how severe Rebecca’s cognitive decline becomes in the future. I was glad that Kate had the opportunity to have this conversation with her now.
Discuss anything not covered above.
Carissa: Everything about Kevin’s career was interesting.
When they initially met, it almost seemed that the director didn’t want Kevin anywhere near his movie. Now he believes Kevin made the movie. And Kevin, who was so eager to work with him, is mortified at the result.
Seeing how various moments in Kevin’s career made him look like a diva, he’s in a spot of trouble.
And hey, Kev. There’s nothing wrong with returning to television. It’s THE medium. Get a grip, man!
Sarah: Yes, Carissa!
Kevin’s distaste of returning to TV made me scoff. There are worse things than being the star of a television show, sir.
Also, I absolutely love every single scene between Randall and Deja. They truly make my heart melt.
Christine: I love how Deja kept looking out for Beth. Randall had this overwhelming desire to fix things, but that wasn’t possible.
Deja was able to get through to him that Beth didn’t need a hero; she just needed him to be there for her when things were falling apart.
Jack: TV work can be hard work, but also would be steady income at a time when Kevin is having trouble getting any decent work. He’s going to have to be less picky for a while.
I also loved the Randall/Deja scene. Also, this is a minor thing, but I loved how Beth needed Annie to help her set up her Zoom the way she wanted it. That was a very realistic moment.
What did you think was the most emotional moment on this week’s This Is Us?
Carissa: Randall wrapping Beth in his arm for a dance in her seemingly defunct studio. Very sweet.
Sarah: This question should really be, what made Sarah cry the most this week?
And the answer would be Kate’s choir singing “Big Yellow Taxi” for Rebecca. It was a very nice gesture that perfectly summed up how far they have come.
Plus, I’m a sucker for whenever This Is Us features Joni’s music.
Christine: I loved every interaction between Madison and Rebecca.
Rebecca was perfect when she told Madison how special she truly is after her dad bailed on the wedding. Madison needed to hear that.
And when Madison told Rebecca and Kate, “Thank you for making me finally feel like part of a family,” I wanted to come through the screen and hug Madison.
Jack: LOL Sarah! I teared up more than once during the hour too.
I found Rebecca and Kate’s conversation to be the most emotional. It was so good to see how far Kate has come, especially knowing, as I said above, that Rebecca’s time being lucid enough to have this conversation is so limited.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics!
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.