This Is Us Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: "Deja Vu"

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Last week’s This Is Us focused a lot on Kate (Chrissy Metz) and her relationship with her mother. We also saw a lot revealed about Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), his past, and his battle with alcoholism. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) decided to foster a child, and Kevin (Justin Hartley) had some struggles returning to the Manny set.
Major spoilers ahead!
We start of with Jack at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, saying that he’s been there for three weeks now, and he’s really starting to feel like he’s tackling his drinking. He opens up, saying that he’s struggling to talk to Rebecca (Mandy Moore), even though he promised they’d talk more this time.
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We also see a young Randall sending off an ad looking for his birth parents, and then finding a letter back from someone, setting up a place to meet. He tells his siblings on the way to school, and they accompany him to the park (good sib move). Randall instantly walks away, knowing that the woman who appears isn’t his birth mom.
Flashing forward to present-day Randall, he’s “cooking his feelings” according to Beth. The phone rings and their foster child, Deja, is on her way over. Like, right now. She arrives, and says she wants to go to bed. Fair play. Randall is worried, naturally, but the case worker, Linda (Debra Jo Rupp) tells him to take it day by day.
On the set of Kevin’s new movie, Kate is stopping by for a visit and Sylvester Stallone is there (lol). A very starstruck Kate tells Kevin that she really wishes their dad was here, and that he would be so proud of his son being in a movie with his hero. Kevin quickly changes the subject, but Kate isn’t down to let it go. She approaches Stallone and tells him about her father, thanking him for “making my dad feel good”. She then impresses Sly with her very extensive knowledge of Rocky.
Back in the past, Rebecca is out at lunch with Miguel’s ex, Shelly (Wynn Evertt). It’s funny seeing this conversation, especially since we know that Rebecca and Miguel (Jon Huertas) end up together. After talking about Miguel and Shelly’s divorce, Rebecca opens up about her relationship (and bedroom) woes with Jack. Rebecca plans a big date night, telling Jack that she’s “Jack Pearsoning” him (a.k.a. sweeping him off his feet, so sweet).
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Back on set, Kate is hanging with Sylvester Stallone (they’re BFFs now). He starts talking to Kevin about their dad, his relationship with his children, and the past in general. It’s interesting; this is one of the first times we’ve seen Kevin’s character speak about their father. He avoids it a lot, but you can tell that Stallone’s speech and recommending they do this one “for his father” gets to him. He gets stuck on a couple of his lines, and we see some flashbacks of him and Jack together.
During their first night with Deja, the whole Pearson family is struggling a bit. The girls ask if they can “send her back”, Beth finds a pack of cigarettes in her things. But, once we see her reaction to Randall raising her voice, we learn there is a lot more to her past than we were initially told.
Back with Jack and Rebecca, it turns out that Rebecca was working on recreating one of their first and best dates. When she makes a move on him, he tells her he can’t, there is just too much going on. Things are noticeably tense when they get home, but Jack finally starts to open up to Rebecca. He tells her about how he’s tried to escape the “ugly, horrible years” of his life, but now he’s being told to face them. They talk, and then get back into the car to try the whole date over.
Randall is coming to terms with just how challenging being a foster parent is. He says how even when people say something will be really hard (school, marathons, etc.) it never really was for him, but this might be what actually is too much for him. Meanwhile, we see Deja wake up her new foster sisters. She asks the nicest and most valid questions — Who makes the rules here? (Mom), What happens if you break them? (You have to talk about it, you lose your iPad privileges), You have your own iPads? (This house is crazy). We then see a flashback of sweet little Annie (Faithe Herman) convincing William (Ron Cephas Jones) to stay on his first night. William also says “This house is crazy”, Deja ends up sleeping in the girls room, and I’m definitely convinced that things are going to be totally fine for the growing Pearsons.
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Back on set with Kate and Kevin, we’re learning a lot about Kevin and how he’s dealt with his father passing away. He’s very unhappy with Kate for bringing up Jack. She says that he’s unhappy about it no matter who brings it up and she tries to convince him to go to therapy for his grief. Kevin tells Kate that he “doesn’t need to be sad and damaged just because [she] is”, which 100% crossed the line.
Kevin is back shooting his scenes, and the war film is feeling eerily close to the Jack flashback we saw last week. He looks back on some fond moments with his father, but also Kate finding him to tell him that their dad has died. During a stunt, we see him aggravate an old leg injury (Probably the cast we see him with during Jack’s death).
Jack and Rebecca are back in the car for date night, and Jack can’t even handle that Rebecca let Shelly give her advice. He confesses that he borrowed money from his own dad to buy their house (I’d totally forgotten about this). He promises to tell her the truth about everything over time. Then, they find a dog! Cute.
Randall gets Deja’s file, and him and Beth bring her in for a sit-down chat. Randall tells her that he sees a lot of himself in her, and that means everything will turn out okay for her. He opens up about how he felt split as a child, and we also see a flashback to his siblings talking to him about wanting to find his birth parents when they were young. Finally, Randall tells Deja that her mom is in more trouble than normal and probably isn’t coming back for a while.
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The final scene is where the whole episode really sets us up for the rest of the season. Kevin, who is icing his now injured knee, calls Kate to apologise for their “twin fight”. He starts to open up about his dad, saying that it’s really hard for him and maybe one day he’ll be able to talk about it. In super heavy foreshadowing, Kevin opens up his painkillers, while Kate says “he’s just like you” to her dad’s urn.
After two episodes so heavily focused on Jack’s addiction, it feels like we’re really going to see this small plot point expand throughout the rest of the season. Also, we finally learned a lot more about Kevin, which we’ve been lacking since the show started.
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