This Is Us
The show has adapted with the times, once again captivating audiences everywhere. (Image via Google Images)

Is This Us? ‘This Is Us’ Confronts Changing Times in the Fifth Season’s First Episode

The award-winning show touches on current events and the Black Lives Matter movement in the opening episode of its fifth season.

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This Is Us
The show has adapted with the times, once again captivating audiences everywhere. (Image via Google Images)

The award-winning show touches on current events and the Black Lives Matter movement in the opening episode of its fifth season.

“This Is Us” is a TV show that touches on “the complete garbage can that is the world right now.The series follows the lives and personal struggles of two parents, Jack and Rebecca, and their three children — Kate, Kevin and Randall, who was adopted into the family as a baby. Throughout the show, “This Is Us” does a phenomenal job of portraying how everyone has their own personality and approach to events that impact their life.

In late October, the fifth season started with an episode called “Forty.” Viewers can see that the show has become much more pertinent to the world of today. During this unprecedented time, “This Is Us” decided to change directions, and is “tackling both the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial reckoning.” In “Forty,” the characters seem to all struggle with their identity, as well as the recent events occurring in the world.

Rebecca’s Memory

When Jack passes, Rebecca has a hard time raising the kids on her own. After years have passed and the kids are old enough to understand how hard it must be for their mom, she marries Miguel Rivas, one of Jack’s coworkers and best friends. Rebecca is also diagnosed with mild memory loss toward the end of Season 4. With Miguel by her side, everything seems to be fine for a while — until the siblings’ 40th birthday. As part of their tradition, they go up to the family cabin to celebrate. Rebecca goes out to buy a cake, but soon forgets what she is doing and takes a detour, roaming all around town. She is eventually found by the cops and taken back home. The family tries to figure out what is wrong, finding it to be a side effect of her allergy medicine. Although some of them understand the seriousness of the issue, others deny the truth in fear that they will have to accept that they’re losing their mom or wife.

Madison’s Pregnancy

Throughout the show, Kevin gives off the vibe that he might not know where he’s going in life. He has also been with many women, but he has dumped each and every one of them. In Season 4, he hooks up with Kate’s friend Madison, despite not knowing her that well. After spending more time together, he starts to develop feelings. Madison confesses to Kevin that she is pregnant, and he says that he is ready to support her every step of the way. In the episode, we see the struggles of a pregnant woman with twins, and her horrified reaction when she falls on Kevin’s suitcase.

Kate and Toby’s Adoption

After Kate meets Toby at a rehabilitation club for obese people, she regains joy in her life and decides to marry him. They soon decide to have a baby, but realize that the probability of getting pregnant is unlikely due to her health problems. After a lot of research, the couple takes immeasurable steps in order to have their first son. After their difficult delivery, the couple turns to another option and decides to apply for adoption. In this episode, they receive the news that they are eligible to adopt and are so happy to hear the news.

Randall’s Rampage

Because of current events, series creator Dan Fogel explained how he felt it was important to deliver this episode right away, “not because they are political but because I think they are difficult and they are hopeful.” Before this episode, Randall was struggling to find himself. He had just run for mayor in his town, and was also seeing a counselor to fix his panic attacks. In this episode, he begins to watch the video where George Floyd is killed, but quickly becomes overwhelmed and consults with his wife, Beth, to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, Rebecca is missing at the cabin, so Kate calls him. When Randall arrives, Rebecca is found, but as he is still in a fight with Kevin, things get awkward fast.

There is a moment when Randall is alone with Kate where he confronts her and the whole family for never discussing the subject of race with him. Kate apologizes, but he just announces that he is going back home. On the way back, he calls his counselor and tells her that he is going to find a different one who is Black.

This recent episode shows how timely and serious “This Is Us” wants to be taken. It was actually the first broadcast episode aired by NBC that mentioned the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. I personally love this show for its realism and encourage you to watch it.

Writer Profile

Laura Song

Biola University
Journalism and Integrated Media

Hello, my name is Laura and I am a junior at Biola University. As a child, I enjoyed reading Highlights’ magazines and that is when I became interested in writing. I am passionate about my writing and plan to continue writing after graduating.

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