It’s time we, the collective This Is Us audience, gave Miguel Rivas a goddamn break.
Sure, it’s fun to get involved with him. I’ve definitely done it more than once. But Rebecca’s husband keeps popping up, caring a lot and getting things done – and half the time he does so with a ’70s blowout that would make Farrah Fawcett jealous.
This week’s episode isn’t so much a storefront for Jack’s best friend as a reminder that in no way has he waited for Jack to kick her just so he can bring in and romanticize a grieving Rebecca. Instead, he’s a decent guy who helped ease the tremendous tension between the young Pearson and Rebecca’s father on the day Rebecca and Jack got engaged. And he likes small plates!
Read on for the highlights of Both Things Can Be True.
WHO IS THE BEST MAN? (PART ONE) | In a flashback, Jack prepares to ask Rebecca to marry him. He has a big plan to turn her apartment into a carnival – complete with candy apples and twinkling lights – to recreate their first date. Miguel helps him prepare the place and encourages him to practice the proposal, which includes props. Everything runs smoothly … until Jack puts Rebecca’s ring waaaaay on Miguel’s little finger and it gets stuck.
Of course, this is when Rebecca’s father shows up to personally tell Jack that while he won’t bless the marriage, he will do his best to be polite. Jack is ready to accept, but Miguel is not. “That’s not good enough,” he says, and goes into a speech about what a great guy Jack is and how much he has done to make himself a better partner for Rebecca. And when Mr Malone can’t bless the union, “it says a lot more about you than it does about him.” Rebecca’s father seems to reconsider and then announces that he knows a trick to remove the ring with dental floss.
WHO IS THE BEST MAN? (PART II) | Kevin tries to ask Randall to be his best man, but can’t seem to write the email asking him to be. Meanwhile, Miguel’s planning for Kevin and Madison’s rehearsal dinner annoys Nicky, who steps in and says he’d like to help. What he really wants to do is berate Miguel for stealing Rebecca after Jack’s death. “It just doesn’t suit me,” says Nicky. “My brother cuts me out of his life, replaces me with you, and you come with me, you come in and marry his wife.”
For the second time in this episode, Miguel won’t bother with nonsense. He points out that he and Rebecca married 13 years after Jack’s death. And as he speaks on the subject, “There is only one person that I owe and that I explain, and that is the person I can never give one to. I certainly don’t owe you any. “
Later Nicky calls to apologize and Miguel makes something clear: “He never replaced you, Nicky.” He adds that Jack asked him to get up at his wedding, but “he couldn’t call me his best man because I think that somewhere deep down he saved this place for you.” I think these two will turn out to be friends!
Kevin calls Randall, not realizing that his brother spent part of the day in an in-depth group therapy session for transracial adoptees. Even so, Randall happily agrees to be Kevin’s best man but is unwilling to have THE TALK they put off the night the babies were born. Kev fully understands this and instead suggests that they have it in person once they are both vaccinated. Randall is surprised, but he readily agrees.
I could have danced all night | Kate starts her new job at school, but her colleague (direct boss?) Philip (played by You’re the Worst’s Chris Geere) is less than impressed with her. He makes it clear that she is not qualified for the job and is not high on his list, but that someone higher up made it clear that she will get the job. But when she helps a young singer open her performance of “I Could Have Danced All Night” by telling her the story of My Fair Lady, Philip looks slightly impressed.
Tripping on new ground | Tess’ more than one friend Alex comes over to “study”, but when Beth catches the couple in a brief moment (with the door closed!), Begs them both to come downstairs and study on the sofa. So Tess calls her mother a “psycho” and Beth sends Alex home. The whole thing begins with an argument in which Tess makes her mother feel like she is unable to simply give up on the heteronormative fantasy she had about growing up and marrying a man with Tess. Beth complains to her mother that she thought she was going to let go of all of this. “It’s more than letting go. You have to adapt, ”says Mama C, gently suggesting that Beth adapt sooner rather than later. “Time is so precious. You blink and your daughter is an adult and you are hiding in her house to make up for 20 years of misadjusting. “
Later, when Beth tries to straighten things out with Tess, Tess twists the knife in a way only teenagers can. “I know you’re trying. I also know you don’t have to try Annie or Deja, ”she says. “It makes me sad.” And when Beth insists that they’re still around and things aren’t bad, Tess says “OK, Mom” on this “OK, boomer” method that is both angry and disheartening in equal measure.
THE FALL OF THE EX | At the end of the episode, we see three people picking up copies of a gossip magazine that has news about Kevin and Madison’s engagement on the cover – and these are all women Kevin has dated and / or met: Zoe, Cassidy (who was back in the last episode and is therefore less surprising) and Sophie. Of the three, only Sophie looks a little wistful when she records the announcement.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!