This Is Us Season 2, Episode 4 Recap: "Still There"

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Last week on This Is Us, we looked a lot into Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) relationship with his father, as well as his relationship with his father’s death. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) also met their foster child, Déjà (Lyric Ross). The end of the episode left us hanging as we watched Kevin taking pain pills for his knee, Randall and Beth having a tense interaction with Déjà, and Kate (Chrissy Metz) ending a rough conversation with Kevin.
Spoilers ahead!
It’s winter, and we’re at the video store (ultimate throwback) with the whole Pearson clan. Alarmed by Kevin’s whining and fever, they head to the hospital, and it turns out it’s time for the Big Three’s bout with Chickenpox. Randall doesn’t have them yet, but is told to try and get them. Rebecca’s mom (Elizabeth Perkins) shows up to help take care of the kids, and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) are not cool with it. Grandma has brought presents though, which sounds great until her gifts to Kate and Randall are problematic af. Thankfully, none of this sits very well with Jack and Rebecca who quickly excuse whatever Rebecca’s mom is saying.
Rebecca’s mom literally just keeps getting worse — telling Randall she'd see his project when it’s finished, telling Kate about how she had to correct her kids’ English when they had a Black nanny so they didn’t talk like “street kids”, I could go on and on. It becomes very evident why Rebecca dislikes her mom so much. Oh, also, Jack has measles now.
Back in 2017, Randall and Beth are working through their new relationship with Déjà. While they’re struggling to get her to wash her hair during the past two weeks, Randall is nervous about alienating her by saying something. A few hours later, Randall takes the kids bowling, and two girls are talking about Déjà’s hair literally right behind her back. She confronts them and pushes them. When the girl's father quickly comes for Randall, he jumps to Déjà’s defense. Déjà lets the man know that Randall is not her father though, and they quickly leave the bowling alley.
At home in L.A., Kate is working out in the living room, and Toby (Chris Sullivan) brings up that he’s a little worried that it’s not happening in a healthy way. Meanwhile, Kevin is on set in a full throwback lewk. Someone on set calls him out for his knee, which is looking very painful. He’s sent to the doctor, who tells him he has a large tear in his meniscus which likely happened when he tore it 20 years ago. He needs surgery, but he’s down as long as he can get back to work next week and finish up the movie. Post-surgery, Kate is rushing off to yoga and Kevin is rushing through his recovery leaving a very worried Toby.
We again see Kevin get a script where it’s pretty evident that the changes don’t mean good things for him. Kate walks into a drugstore and heads to the weight loss section. She tries on the dress she’s been planning on wearing for her first paid singing gig, and looks worried even though she looks incredible.
In the morning, Beth goes to talk to Déjà and she’s packing her bag, thinking they’re kicking her out. Beth has a really nice conversation with her, and as she’s leaving Déjà asks her to do her hair for her. Beth discovers some patches in Déjà’s hair, and begins telling her about how her sister has alopecia and how she thinks her foster daughter might have the same thing. Déjà begins to open up to Beth, telling her about how it “gets worst when bad stuff happens” and how her mom has really pretty hair. Beth offers to braid her hair in a way that will cover it up, and Déjà agrees.
Back in the past, Rebecca’s mom is now referring to the kids as “the twins and Randall,” and Rebecca finally breaks. She’s angry with her mom about how she’s “most certainly going to give Kate a complex about food, and Kevin is going to think that his only value in life comes from how he looks”. Mostly, though, she’s angry about how her mother treats Randall. She’s always wondered if her mother didn’t bond with him because he’s adopted, but now she’s made it “alarmingly clear that it’s because he’s Black.” Rebecca pulls up a handful of examples of her mom’s racism throughout the years. Then, right as she kicks her mom out and tells her flat out that she’s a racist, Randall walks in showing off his first signs of the chickenpox. Rebecca tearfully takes her sick son upstairs to take care of him. Afterward, Jack and Rebecca have a tough conversation with Randall about race, explaining that racism doesn’t always happen in people saying outwardly mean things.
Back in the present, Randall apologizes to Déjà for the bowling alley. He tells Déjà about his nervous breakdowns, and invites her to go running with him saying that it helps him out when he’s stressed. Déjà isn’t impressed that Beth told her husband what she had said in confidence. Before breakfast, Déjà cuts her off braids and walks downstairs to the kitchen. Beth is visibly upset when she notices the change.
Kevin is on the treadmill now, which is most definitely not what he should be doing right after having knee surgery. Toby unplugs the treadmill on him, and Kevin says that he’s not going to let his knee “mess up the rest of [his] life again.” A confused Toby (and everyone watching) is like “again?” He confronts Kevin, who tells his future brother-in-law that he was “great” at football, had big future plans with it, until his knee ruined all of that. Kevin goes on to talk about how he found purpose again in acting, but he feels like his knee is about to ruin it right before his blockbuster film.
Later, Kevin is working on his knee while watching old game footage. In it, Jack is so proud of his son, and Kevin is getting visibly upset watching it. He walks over and takes the pills he was given from the doctor, which earlier he had refused. Right after, we cut to Kevin driving a car into the set. Personally, this has me really worried that it won’t be Kevin’s knee that hurts his career.
Back in the past, Rebecca goes to tell her mom that Jack has unblocked the car and that it’s time for her to go. Her mom tells Rebecca that she’s “trying”. When she says goodbye to the kids, Randall hits her with the “Took ya long enough” after she tells her grandson what a special kid he is after seeing his impressive science fair project.
In the final scene, Kate is at the hospital, where the doctor tells her she’s impressed by her commitment to her health. Turns out, she’d been buying vitamins at the store earlier. Kate tells the doctor that she just wants to be as healthy as possible because she’s pregnant! The doctor confirms with an ultrasound that she’s 6 weeks along, and Kate looks so happy.
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