Last night’s newest episode of This Is Us, titled “A Philadelphia Story,” followed the Pearson siblings on a path to finding their place in the world as baggage continues to creep up on them. 

The episode focuses on the aftermath of Jack’s death, and we find Rebecca and the kids trying to get by. Eventually, Rebecca has to do the one thing she never wanted to do, which is to scout out a new home, as she had rejected the idea of a new house with Jack months before he died. In the episode, we see Rebecca barely hanging on, Kevin drinking alone early in the day, and Kate suddenly eating too much. Things seemed to only be going right for Randall, who received an acceptance letter at the beginning of the episode to his dream school, Howard University. 

Throughout the episode, Randall is still seen grieving William’s death. As Randall settles into his role as the owner of William’s old apartment building, he visits the recreation center where William and his neighbors would host parties and celebrations. There he introduces Deja to Sky, who is the daughter of one of the residents in the building, ChiChi, as an attempt to get Deja involved socially, being that she is struggling in her new non-diverse school.


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As Randall becomes obsessed with fixing the broken pipes and water heater at the rec center, the episode takes a turn by flashing back to William’s relationship to ChiChi. The flashback goes back to when William first saw ChiChi move into the apartment after emigrating from Nigeria with her then baby Sky. William then becomes friendly with ChiChi and welcomes her into the building’s family, giving ChiChi a real sense of home. In the present-day, Randall is seen trying to preserve that, so he tracks down the city councilman and gives a speech about honoring his father’s legacy and preserving the apartment building. When Randall returns, he’s faced by ChiChi saying, “you are not one of us — you brought your daughter to come and play here, but instead of sitting and chatting and getting to know the place, you spent the whole day seeing its problems, trying to fix them.” Randall sees the truth in her message but is hurt by her words and later confines in Kevin saying, “either I’m trying too hard or not trying hard enough. I can never get it right.” The episode then cuts back into the past, where we find Randall celebrating his Howard acceptance at Yvette’s house, where he grew up. Although he is happy there, he still only imagines his white parents, he then calls Howard and declines admission.

As “A Philadelphia Story” progresses, we find Kate and Toby going through IVF treatments. While the family gears up for the premiere of Kevin’s movie, Kate will soon have to face her mother. She worries about Rebecca finding out about the IVF, so she instructs Toby not to say anything, but soon enough the IVF evidence comes to light and Kate is forced to advocate for herself after her mother and sister bagger her about the risks. After it causes a Toby to blow-up, Kate and Rebecca have a heart-to-heart, and in the end, Kate is willing to accept the risks because its what she wants.

The episode ends with, everyone uniting for Kevin’s premiere, Toby is seen reunited with Kate, Rebecca is sitting with Miguel, Kevin gets a text from Zoe, and Randall still can’t seem to shake the feeling of hovering between two worlds.

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