The longest car ad ever: This Is Us episode 2×15 “The Car”

This Is Us - Season 2
The reflection makes it look like Randall’s wearing a yarmulke and now I want that to be a storyline. Credit: EW.com

Oh god, it’s another This Is Us post. They aired episode 2×14 this past Sunday and 2×15 on Tuesday. That is not nice to those of us (ok just me) trying to churn out some written content. Nonetheless I shall charge forth undaunted so get comfortable because here we go: (also, SPOILERS!)

Who: Me and my mom

What: This Is Us episode 2×15 “The Car”

Where: My mom’s house

When: Tuesday February 6, 2018 8:30pm

Why: Because I like it

Knitting project: Emergency Nickel Cowl by Sunne Meyer

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BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE Credit: NBC
  • We begin, post fire and Jack’s death, with Rebecca sitting in a hotel parking lot honking her horn waiting for her kids to emerge from their rooms.
  • She finds an envelope containing five tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. They’re clearly new to her, so by process of elimination, we can assume that Jack bought the family tickets.
  • The kids come out dressed in black and Rebecca is anxious to get to the cemetery. As the gang gets in the car we have lingering shots of its details from every side before jumping to…
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.43.52 PM
Oooooh Credit: NBC
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.44.06 PM
Aaaaaaah Credit: NBC
  • …the family about a decade earlier going to buy the car.
  • Jack is planning to use the presence of their three kids at the dealership as a way to guilt trip the salesman into lowering the price. Rebecca thinks this is the sexiest thing she’s ever heard and they start making out. It’s a little weird.
  • The kids (and Jack) like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer but Rebecca is adamant it’s out of their price range because she understands math.
  • After ever so briefly glancing at a used car they can actually afford, Jack and the salesman go back inside to make a deal.
  • But guess what?! Jack saunters out and tells Rebecca that he bought the Grand Wagoneer for more than they were hoping to spend but that it’s okay.
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.48.19 PM
Honey, I Shrunk The Budget Without Running It By You. Credit: NBC

Here’s the thing: I know we’re supposed to think that that’s really romantic but I’d be really pissed if my partner and I agreed on a budget for a major purchase and then they went and spent more. Yes, Jack is the one bringing in an income, and yes, it’s 1980-something with all the gender roles that implies, but still. I never like seeing that behavior touted as an ideal (see also to a more sickening degree:  The Twilight Saga, Fifty Shades series, and many others).

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming:

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 11.10.01 PM
We are so cute in this car and you could be cute in this car too. Go buy it. Credit: NBC
  • We get a weird interlude (set in the winter of ’95? That’s the date on the windshield sticker) with Jack and Rebecca waiting for her MRI test results since she’s been very dizzy.
  • She’s freaked out, so Jack takes her to a park to be by his favorite tree to wait for the doctor to call (it’s his favorite tree because it’s the tree where they find out she’s okay. Ugh, now that’s romantic).

I thought this would be a good way to set up any further health problems Rebecca might have, since this show is now looking to the future and then she could have a relapse/medical drama, but it turns out she’s fine.

  •  Instead, this scene is so Jack can tell her that while she will live forever he won’t, and would like to be cremated. Literally this whole plot device is just so we know about his burial preferences *virtual side-eye.
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Clearly a shot that’s integral to the storyline and not at all a commercial. Credit: NBC
  • We leap from there to Jack teaching Randall how to drive with Kevin in the backseat. Who would have guessed that would be contentious?
  • A verbal fight between brothers ensues that distracts Randall, who nearly hits another car.
  • Jack makes them both walk home as punishment.
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I make this car look good. Want one? Credit: NBC
  • Kevin and Randall eventually amble up the drive to apologize to their father for the fight but don’t understand why their fighting is such a big deal to him (aside from the fact that it almost caused an accident).
  • Jack mentions his brother, who I think died during the war in Vietnam, and how close they were. Randall points out that they never hear about him and Jack shuts down the conversation with, essentially, “because he’s dead what’s there to talk about”.

Well Jack, considering that you then go on a tangent about your alcoholic father and how one day your children will be the only ones who remember you I’m going to guess you have a good deal you should talk about.

  • He tells his sons it’s up to them to mend their relationship and that they should do it before it’s too late.
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 11.15.39 PM
Boys fighting about being men. Credit: NBC
  • Clearly those words have been taken to heart because the boys end up nearly coming to blows at his memorial service.
  • Kevin sees that Randall is wearing Jack’s watch and loses his shit. He stomps over to Rebecca whining that she let him wear it. When he gets no backup from her he tells Randall that he’s not the man of the house because he let Jack go back inside. Randall points at Kevin wasn’t even there before Kate tells them both to shut up and she leaves to go sit in the car. We haven’t heard about the car in six minutes so I’m glad the writers could get that dialogue in there.
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‘Cause I’m a cool dad in a cool car with my cool daughter. Get yours today! Credit: NBC
  • Jump back to Jack finding Kate ditching school to go get a CD signed by Alanis Morrissette. He tells her off before driving her to the record store because he’s irritatingly great. (She’s at the bus stop but is getting a free ride from her dad before she’s already paid. Isn’t it ironic? Dont’cha think?)
  • Kate plays him some of her music but Jack  doesn’t really “get” Alanis so he counters with Bruce Springsteen, which Kate admits she likes. He tells her the family should go to a concert sometime.

And there we have the first scene tie-in. Just like the maybe Rebecca has a brain tumor scene, it’s just so we can learn something about Jack, not the female characters. IS THAT ANTI FEMINIST? An investigation at 10.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 11.29.34 PM
Doc you’re my favorite character please show up more.  Credit: NBC
  • Rebecca leaves her squabbling man-boys to go sit outside. That’s a good call on her part because the doctor who delivered her babies is here! What’s his name? I have no clue but who cares he’s great.
  • He tells her that she can totally do this on her own. She’s says no way and he says “bull crap” and then she cries on his shoulder. It’s so good. Why isn’t the doctor in every scene? He can just be hanging out in the background until they need some wise words delivered in a soothing voice.
  • The family leaves the memorial service and heads to Jack’s favorite tree to scatter his ashes. Rebecca comments that she wasn’t sure she wanted kids and I was like, whoa what revelations are to come, but she meant it as Jack having the foresight to envision them. That’s probably less damaging than telling her kids as they scatter their fathers ashes that she’d rather not be a mom.
  • She then tells her sons that neither of them needs to be the man of the house before turning to Kate and reinforcing that she’s not to blame for her father’s death–“He was a grown man who made a choice” (I’d like to point out that’s what I said in my recap of the last episode so Rebecca and I are the same person).
  • Guess what? The Springsteen concert is that night and they’re all going to go in honor of him.
  • Before getting in the car (we haven’t heard about the car in like eight minutes) she let’s Jack know that the family will be “okay”. She says “okay” several times and all I want to know is:

Can A Fault In Our Stars claim copyright infringement?

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 11.40.40 PM

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Gus-and-Hazel-TFIOS-the-fault-in-our-stars-37181794-306-306
The original “okay”-ers. Credit: fanpop.com

Okay (see what I did there?) it’s not exactly the same, but it immediately popped into my head. The end sequence is footage of Jack telling the salesman that he wants the Grand Wagoneer because he wants his family to be “okay” and can see them being “okay in that car”. Which I guess works because they buy the car and the family is sort of okay?

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 11.44.02 PM
UGH FINE I’LL BUY IT. Credit: NBC

Um what? Seriously, was this just the world’s longest Grand Wagoneer/Jeep ad in the history of the world? Interestingly we got no visuals of the adult children this episode and I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. Now that they’ve revealed the big secret (how Jack died) I’m curious to see how the show builds tension and keeps us interested–I guess it’s a good thing they’ve introduced a future timeline but I’m going to be so mad if we have to repeat this rigmarole for another dead character.

This Is Us is on a break until after the Olympics (which I will be writing about!) and I’m not unhappy to give them a time out.

Now, who’s seen my Grand Wagoneer car keys?

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