Who knew Justin Hartley could look so good in a diaper?
Tonight’s This Is Us took Kevin back to where he was when the show began as he went back to The Manny for a special episode, but it was really just a special episode because it forced Kevin to wear a diaper and crawl around on the floor as he searched for that always-missing baby. Apparently the idea was to think like a baby to find the baby?
Whatever. It was fun, it made Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) laugh, and as Chrissy Metz told him during the aftershow, he made that diaper look good.
Of course, tonight wasn’t all about humiliating Justin Hartley. It was also about tugging at our heartstrings until they nearly burst with a series of heartstring tuggy tales, the least of which involving the fact that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) wasn’t there to attend the Manny taping, and Miquel (Jon Huertas) had to take his place.
Randall and Beth stormed out of the taping as they struggled with the adoption form Randall was supposed to be filling out, but it turned out he was just worried they wouldn’t be able to deal with a kid who was a survivor of abuse, while Beth just automatically said yes to every question on the form.
They worked it out eventually (as they always do), and now even their daughters are in on the plan to adopt.
Elsewhere, the night was all about Kate (Metz), Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and Jack, back when Kate was just trying to win Rebecca’s approval and Jack was trying to keep himself afloat.
“She’s finally having the courage to pursue music and she has that support system with Toby, but then there’s Rebecca,” Metz said of Kate during the Facebook after show. “There’s good old mom, and she’s doing the best she can and she’s trying to help her, but that line of—ooh, that was just even hard to say to her—you wanted me to be the you that you never became. I mean, that is one tough pill to swallow, especially in that scene because they’re both right and they’re both wrong, and they’re just trying to communicate their feelings.”
“Landslide,” the song Kate sang during her gig, came from a list that Metz had given to creator Dan Fogelman of her favorite songs to sing.
“The lyrics so perfectly aligned with everything that we wanted to flash to at this point in the episode, so it was like the perfect choice,” added writer Bekah Brunstetter.
While Jack supported young Kate as much as he possibly could as she worked on her singing for the talent show, he was also dealing with his issues with alcoholism, and it was Kate who he first opened up to. She responded by putting her hands on his face, the way he used to do for her when she was little.
“When we’re filming that scene with Hannah [Zeile], I was always hanging on the words I’m sorry, I never wanted to disappoint you,” Ventimiglia said. “Never wanting to disappoint someone but knowing that you have or knowing that you will, and it wasn’t intended. That is a soul-crushing thing.”
“The idea of like, I never wanted to disappoint you, I think it cuts to the core of everything this guy is and that relationship is. It’s so powerful,” Fogelman added. “The moment when you can’t find quite the words, and you’re stammering, this guy who’s had all the answers in every episode every time this girl needed an answer she could look to her father for it, and he’s almost finding himself without the words to express…
“She makes it all right by putting her hands on his face like she did when she was kid, like he does to them,” added Ventimiglia.
And while Fogelman says not many moments make him cry anymore, “That one got me.”
It got all of us, Mr. Fogelman. And we all have you to blame.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family.)