Sylvester Stallone made an appearance on This Is Us this week for the third episode of season 2.


The show tried to introduce Stallone as naturally as possible, but his presence made that difficult. Kevin and Kate come to the Ron Howard movie set where Kevin scored a gig, and he is made to recite a monologue to Stallone in a scene. The monologue oddly fits Kevin as well as his character. The moment Stallone enters the scene is just when Kevin is doing his best impersonation of the actor – not the best start on set. “Not bad,” Stallone quips to his new scene-mate.

Kate opens up to Stallone about how much he meant to her father, Jack. “You could help him forget a 102-degree fever or a bad day at work. I just want to thank you for making my dad feel good,” she tells him. And Stallone is instantly moved and invested in their family drama. Kevin tries to shrug it off, clearly uncomfortable. He tells the actor it happened a long time ago, but he pushes: “In my experience, Kevin, there’s no such thing as ‘a long time ago.'”

When they go to read their lines, Kevin is thrown off by the conversation they just had, as memories of Jack creep into his mind. He completes the scene, but finds Kate in a fit of rage and tells her she shouldn’t have said anything about their dad. She’s upset that he never talks about their father’s death, but Kevin pushes. “I’m not like you. We’re different people. I don’t need to walk around and be sad and damaged just because you are.” He leaves Kate in tears.

In an action sequence, memories of Kevin’s busted leg as a teen crop up, as his bad knee aches trying to life a car off of Stallone’s character. “He’s like a father to you, and he’s going to die on your watch if you don’t save him,” Howard directs, only making things harder for Kevin. Later, he apologizes to Kate over the phone, admitting that the loss of their dad still weighs very heavy on him.

Elsewhere, Randall and Beth welcome their foster child, Deja, 12, hence the name of the episode being “Déjà Vu.” Her mother had been arrested and Deja has been in and out of the system her whole life. Beth and Randall are ecstatic for their new child to enter the family, but Deja is scared. The show smartly puts this scene from the perspective of the 12-year-old, where she hears the adults speaking in almost incoherent blather, evoking feelings of confusion and fear.

For a while, things don’t run too smoothly for the new family. Deja doesn’t like spending time with her new parents, and snaps at Beth and calls her a “bitch” when Beth finds cigarettes in her room. She later apologizes for the outburst and explains that the cigs are her mothers, and she wanted to hold them for when she gets out of jail. Randall steps in, but his raised voice causes alarm in Deja and she retreats, an obvious sign of past abuse.

The déjà vu kicks in with a few flashback scenes of teenaged Randall attempting to track down his own birth parents. He remembers the hurt he felt when he failed, and how his adoptive family helped him through the process. “My whole childhood, I felt split inside,” he tells Deja. “I’ve got this big, amazing extended family — I’ve got this big, amazing, beautiful life. And if I’m seeing me in you — if seeing you is giving me that sweet, sweet déjà vu feeling — I think that means it’s going to happen for you too.”

The episode ends with flashbacks of William’s first night in the Pearson home and a conversation he had with Annie, when she found him trying to sneak out of the house. He explains that he’s afraid to let them down, and she assures him he won’t. The scene strengthens the bond of extended families on This Is Us, and harkens back to Deja’s feelings of her new home, and what she can look forward to having with Randall and Beth.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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