Episode 12 of the second season of This Is Us explores some pasts and truths of Miguel and William, who haven’t been featured much this season.

THIS IS US RECAP

We start with William, Randall’s biological father, in flashback. The episode opens with a montage of Clooney, the cat William adopted in his later years. In present time, Randall is gearing up for a job interview that he’s not excited about, but that Beth is encouraging him for. She’s worried about him and thinks the job would be good for both of them. Randall also has to visit his late father’s apartment building and collect his belongings.

In the apartment, Randall is enticed by all his dad’s things, and comes across a sketch and romantic-sounding poem, and becomes obsessed with the idea of his father having an affair. He knocks on all the doors in the building to try to figure out who the mystery woman is. He becomes so enthralled with the story in his head that he leaves his job interview to answer a call from Lloyd, an old friend of his father’s, who may have a lead – he recalls William often visiting the female super’s apartment.

When Randall investigates though, the super explains that William was so friendly and everybody loved him, but that she had not had a romantic relationship with him. Finally once back at William’s apartment, Randall realizes that the woman in the sketches was Billie Holiday, one of his father’s favorites. And a flashback shows us writing the poem as he feeds the cat, Clooney.

This brings Randall to discover what he’s been feeling and looking for: remembering William’s presence encourages him to make a plan to buy the apartment building. He gets Beth involved and explains how he wants to help people and change lives, and that this is the way he wants to do that. And he also thinks it will help with the marriage problems that Beth has been worried about.

Miguel in this episode takes the spotlight after he admitted last week that he feels like Jack’s replacement. This week we see Miguel in the past and the present day. After rehab, Kevin decides to move in with his mother so that he can work on his recovery and on their relationship at the same time. Miguel’s presence, however, proves difficult. Everything seems fine and well between mother and son, but when Miguel decides to accompany them to the grocery store, Kevin asks why he came. “She’s been a wreck ever since you got arrested, and then you tore into her at that session,” Miguel says. “So yeah, I’m here right now to protect her.”

Later that night though, Kevin walks in to find Miguel and Rebecca cuddling on the couch watching TV. Kevin says he’s restless and when Rebecca goes to make him some tea, the two men apologize for how they acted at the store. Kevin asks if Miguel was in love with Rebecca when Jack was alive, and Miguel says it would have never occurred to him, but that he is now and isn’t going to leave. The next morning, Kevin asks his mother if she is happy with Miguel, and though it takes her some time to answer, she says that yes, after years of being unhappy, she has finally found joy with Miguel.

We journey to the past to find a sad and divorced Miguel as he runs into Jack and Kevin at the mall. He has just discovered that his ex Shelly is engaged again. Jack tries to stay positive but both Kevin and Miguel are going through their own losses – Miguel, his wife and Kevin, his football career. Kevin gets angry and tells his dad he doesn’t understand, but Miguel steps in and mentions the construction company that Jack wanted to start, but couldn’t because it was too big a risk.

Also at the mall are Rebecca and Kate, who are dress shopping. In the present, we see Kate afraid to try on wedding dresses. A woman from her group, Madison, offers to take Kate to look without any pressure to even try on a dress. At the boutique, Kate confronts Madison about her bulimia, which she at first tries to deny. Later Kate opens up to Madison about her own eating disorder, which she recently relapsed from.

In the final moments of the episode, This Is Us gives us a showstopper that makes you forget the first three quarters. We remember at the beginning in the flashback that Rebecca asks Jack to remind her to buy batteries. Instead, he enthusiastically decides he wants to work on opening that construction company again. When the family returns home, Rebecca asks if they’ve forgotten anything. And then the camera pans up to the smoke alarm – an extremely foreboding sign considering we know that the house burns down, as it did in the season 2 premiere.

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