THIS IS US delivered one of the most devastating, true-to-life episodes of the season. I know, I know. Aaron and I have been tag-teaming reviews all season. We have continually said each show was well-written and well-played. This week was no exception. 

“The Big Three” have gathered at the renovated cabin with their spouses, Kevin’s children, Madison, Elliot, Nicky, and his wife. It was time to decide where Rebecca (Mandy Moore) should live out her final days. She is losing her battle against Alsheimer. This is the hardest, most important, family meeting of their lives. 

The problem within any family dynamic is how difficult it is to see your siblings or parents as they are in the present. We all carry so much “baggage” from the past. How do we let go and stop thinking about those “versions that no longer exist?” When does Randall (Sterling K. Brown) stop using the phrase, “Don’t Kev me!” Maybe everyone needs a “therapy cat” to speak the words they need to say. 

The writers did a brilliant,  creative job of emphasizing the differences from Rebecca as a “Super Mom” throughout her children’s lives to who she has become. The pacing, the music, the makeup, and the hair all added to these stark images of strength versus the end of life. 

This story brought me to tears again. I have been in this same place when I was dealing with the “business of dying.”  Hardcore considerations had to be made when it was my parent’s time. I remember filing my Mom’s nails, putting lotion on her hands and feet, cleaning their dentures, or changing diapers. I can still see myself riding in the hospital transport van as my Mom was transferred to a nursing home. I can hear both my parents asking to be taken home to die. I had pushed these moments into the back crevices of my mind until I watched THIS IS US. All families face these times. What impressed me the most was how well they supported each other and their extended family. Not everyone is as lucky. 

THIS IS US strikes such a familiar chord with all their insightful montages of the family then and now. In the beginning, Moms and Dads watch over us. They offer strength and guidance as they hover nearby. By the end, there is a reversal of roles between the parent and “child.” It is truly the “circle of life.” This show opens doors for families to hold that “therapy cat” and begin having these conversations. We all will miss this incredible series.  There are only two episodes left. This is “must-see-TV.”  

THIS IS US is available to stream on NBC/Hulu.

Esta Rosevear

Esta Rosevear has been a Theatre Arts teacher and director for 35+ years, published Children’s author of the Rebecca series, and is passionate about playing her violin, walking, gardening, and reading murder mysteries.

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