An Intense Pearson Family Therapy Session On 'This Is Us' Explains So Much

by Ani Bundel

This Is Us returned this week, and now we know why they decided to delay it from Jan. 2 to Jan 9. Because even with an entire week back to the usual grind, these were fireworks that fans weren't ready for. Ladies and gentlemen, you could've been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in front of the TV. Are you ready for Pearson Family therapy? This post contains spoilers for This Is Us Season 2 Episode 11.

Beth sure wasn't. Beth 'bout ran the hell out of that room the second she was given the opportunity. There was practically sparks flying from her heels they clicked the ground so hard. She may have a lot of resentment about the way the Pearson clan is run, but Beth is also smart enough to know that she doesn't want any part of watching this family experience a therapy session for the first time.

Personally, I have no idea what Randall, Kate and Rebecca thought was going to happen. A few rehearsed apologies? (OK, check. So rehearsed, the shrink looked less than pleased.) Did Randall really think he could just say "We're here for you Kevin" between increasingly clenched teeth and get it over with? (Every time he said it, the phrase got about 1,000 times funnier.) Did they think this would be a few platitudes on not doing drugs? This isn't a DARE class. This is when families stop being polite and start getting real.


Let's start with Kate walking in waving a Big Red Flag. We didn't need Toby finding the squashed box of fried chicken in the trash before they left. Kate's issues were screaming loudly:

I took my eye off the ball. You're the ball.

Wow, girl, way to subsume your entire life for someone else, like it's just the way things are.

But before we could continue that "would take up several weeks of therapy sessions" train of thought, Kevin opened his mouth.

Now, I know it's been about a month since This Is Us was on the air, but let us recall the last three episodes leading up to this were, in order "Number 1," "Number 2," and "Number 3". Who was Number 1? Kevin. And now here Kevin his telling Number 2 and Number 3 that *he* feels like the fifth wheel?

But before we could continue that "would take up several weeks of therapy sessions" train of thought, Kevin opened his mouth again. "We are a family of addicts."

He's right. The proof is in how *fast* the walls of denial went up. And those walls were high walls. We're talking Westerosi Wall Levels of High.

A reenactment of Kevin's attempt to talk to his family on This Is Us (HBO)

Kate, of course, has just been established as a continuing food addict, chalked up in large letters for the slow people in the back. But she wasn't the only one. Randall flipped too.

Make no mistake: Randall is an addict. Psychology Today talks about the "Addiction To Perfection." Most wouldn't consider it an issue, because if you and your life are perfect, what's the problem? That's how we end up with Randall on the floor in a complete state of nervous collapse.

Rebecca did do her children a disservice. She's not some evil monster for not warning her children and saying, "you carry this gene." That's a side issue. Her mistake was in allowing them to believe, (even Miguel!), that Jack was a perfect human.

One of the central tenants of growing up is learning that parents are humans with failings, and forgiving and loving them anyway. Kate, Kevin, and Randal were never given that with their father, and they are paying for it every day.

In the end, the show wasn't ready for the Pearsons to break the walls down. Rebecca broke in one place, on her resentment that Kate and Kevin left her after Jack died, and that was deemed good enough for TV.

But this week revealed just how deep the rabbit holes go. Let's hope they consider taking another peek, and soon... because I could watch these therapy sessions every week.