This is Us Season 3, Episode 8 Recap: Six Thanksgivings


Happy Thanksgiving This is Us fans!

This is Us strayed a bit from its typical format, interweaving a flashback with events happening in the Pearson’s current lives.

Tonight’s episode showed six different Thanksgivings across all spectrums of time and involved almost every character on the show.

The Pearsons’ last Thanksgiving

For once we see the family in great spirits. It’s the Thanksgiving before Jack died and their house burned down. As Rebecca cooks dinner, the kids talk about Randall’s college essay in which he must choose one person that has had the most significant impact on his life.

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Kevin and Kate think he should choose the fireman that gave him to Jack and Rebecca, but Randall insists the question is flawed because more than one person impacted his life.

Meanwhile, they are expecting Miguel for dinner. But Rebecca thinks they are traitors to her “best friend” Shelly. But as Jack explains, she took the kids with her, and he would be alone otherwise.

It’s clear Miguel is having a hard time. Amidst the commotion of dinner, he excuses himself from the table. He’s afraid Shelley is turning his kids against him (which we later find out to be true). But Jack encourages him to fight for his family.

Miguel’s “lovely” family Thanksgiving

Miguel does fight for his kids. But after a while, he gave up.

Shelley decided to spend Thanksgiving with her husband’s family, so Miguel’s kids invite him a Rebecca to their Thanksgiving. His daughter just adopted a baby boy, and Rebecca seems excited to see them. Miguel, on the other hand, is a nervous wreck.

His kids are cold to them. Typical Rebecca tried to break the ice with her kindness. But when their son-in-law nearly goes into anaphylactic shock from eating nuts in the sweet potatoes (I’m exaggerating), his son says something along the lines of “First you steal our father from our mother then you try to kill my brother-in-law.”

You can just see Rebecca’s heartbreak.

Miguel stands up for himself and for Rebecca and basically tells his son to F-off. He tried for a long time to connect with them, but it’s a two-way street. Don’t take it out on his wife. His daughter, realizing how wrong they are, reaches for his hand across the table.

Finally, the show’s punching bag gets a win.

A Vietnam Thanksgiving

During Nicky’s two weeks at the river with Jack, they get to “celebrate” Thanksgiving

The woman in the picture, who’s wearing the necklace that Jack eventually gives to Kevin, gave the necklace to Jack as a thank you. The woman’s son cut his foot on the barbed wire fence. After Jack orders Nicky to fix it and he won’t, Jack dresses the wound himself.

Nicky is way more broken than we imagined. He refused to help the kid because he’s convinced the kid will grow up just to kill them or sell them out. He tells Jack about his first commanding officer, Bones, who looked out for him and was well-liked around camp. Bones ends up being killed because one of the old ladies sold him out. Nicky warns, “They’re not just women and children.”

William’s Thanksgiving

We get to see a cameo from the Emmy-winning Ron Cephas Jones as William. YAY!!

This Thanksgiving is when he meets his boyfriend Jesse (Denis O’Hare) while William is playing the piano at their community center. They get to know each other more after they run into each other at a convenience store and Jesse’s trying to buy wine. (FYI, you can’t buy alcohol in stores or markets in Pennsylvania. It sucks, and it’s inconvenient.)

Later, William invites Jesse to a musical gathering where they flirt and continue to fall for each other.

I’m not sure what this section had to do with the story, except for maybe it’s setting up Tess’ storyline. But it was nice to see William again.

Thanksgiving in Philly

Randall, Beth, Annie, and Deja head to Philly to give out Thanksgiving food to the less fortunate.

I have to say it since I live here, but if they are coming from North Jersey, they would be coming down I-95 from the east side of the city to North Philly. But the stock footage they showed was of I-76 and the west side of the city. There’s no way they would have taken that way to get to North Philly. Come on This is Us showrunners, get it right!

Beth is now Randall’s field director, which isn’t sitting well with his campaign manager Jae-Won. They don’t agree on much. Jae-Won is trying to win Randall votes by turning this into a photo-op, while Beth is against it.

Randall has no choice but to side with his wife, not because her ideas are better but because she’s his wife. Jae-Won is frustrated, and Beth feels like Randall hired her because of pity.

Thanksgiving with Kate and Toby

With Randall and Beth in Philly for the day, Kate and Toby are left to make Thanksgiving dinner at Randall’s house. While Toby tries to stay stress-free while following Randall’s recipes, Kate is trying to keep him calm. He accidentally walks in on Tess carrying feminine products and Tess is mortified, maybe almost as much as Toby.

Tess got her first period, but luckily, Kate was there to help and support her. When Kate implies this is the first of many teenage milestones for her, like kissing a boy for the first time, Tess confides in Kate that she may like girls. And Kate handled the news like a pro! She was supportive and loving. She’s going to be a great mom.

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Meanwhile, Toby meltdown in the kitchen and ruins the dinner. So, he goes out and gets Popeye’s. I, for one, would be pissed if I didn’t get to enjoy stuffing on the only day of the year I eat it for greasy fried chicken.

Overall, a good episode. But I’m excited about the fall finale next week!

Read last week’s recap and Watch This is Us anytime.