This Is Us Review: The Game Plan (Season 1 Episode 5)

This Is Us delivers another painful, sweet, heartbreaking hour of family struggles, the path to finding yourself, and shocks with not one, but two deaths, or at least the announcement of those.

This Is Us Season 1 Episode 5, “The Game Plan,” finally answers the question of Jack’s whereabouts in the present day, seeing as Rebecca is married to his best friend, Miguel. Where is he? Well, he’s on a shelf in Kate’s house. At least his ashes are.

Yes, what we’ve predicted since Rebecca showed up at Randall’s house with her new husband is true: Jack is dead. It was pretty evident due to the fact that she was still wearing the necklace he got for her after their enormous fight; why would you keep that on if you ended up divorced? No, Jack and Rebecca lived a much too short life of true love.

Not only that, but William died, too. Looks like he died in his sleep, probably as Kevin was delivering that much too well-written speech about life and the colors we all leave behind. A sad, but perfectly fitting ending to a sad life. William left the world making a mark on not just four, but five lives, including Kevin’s.

As Mandy Moore promised, this episode destroyed us. Kate keeping up her Sunday night football traditions with her dad, even after his death, while Randall and Beth potentially were ready to introduce another member to the family.

Instead, they lost one. Will this lead them to actually trying to have another baby now? They seemed pretty happy with the test’s results, but it’s possible the test got it wrong. Refreshingly, their problems were much needed to keeping the development going.

Beth and Randall are clearly the best couple on this series, but they’re humans, too. Seeing them struggling with each other, or with the events in their life like Randall almost putting a chemo pill into the smoothie, helps put them in a normal light and not the light of a propped up, too-good-to-be-true television couple.

And while they decided not to have a baby, past Rebecca and Jack decided to have a baby. Who tells their kids that they were conceived in a bar bathroom after the Steelers won the Super Bowl? Clearly Jack did that, and Rebecca probably punched him for it, let’s be real.

Kevin was the most surprising, though. Telling Randall’s girls about death and being so horrified by what was coming out of his mouth was just an amazing scene, and cringe-worthy. He messed up.

But that’s what Kevin does. He messes up. He’s always had Kate to fix his mistakes, though she clearly wasn’t able to fix whatever happened between Randall and Kevin that has them actually so put off by each other, however now he’s on his own.

Who would’ve thought that William would be the one to wake Kevin up and inspire him? Perhaps he always needed an outside view, and it’s really no surprise he doubts himself. Kevin and Kate both doubt themselves.

Randall seems to have been given reassurance throughout his childhood on everything so he wouldn’t feel out of place, which Kate and Kevin didn’t. Just like Kevin didn’t receive the attention he needed, driving him to be an actor.

The Pearson family isn’t perfect, but they’re the perfect example of a family that struggles to get it right. We watch for their real lives, their mistakes and struggles, but also for the happiness when it just goes right. After tonight, who can’t wait for the inevitable family reunion in the present day, excluding Jack obviously?

Who knows, maybe we’ll see him there in spirit.

This Is Us continues Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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