Tuesday night’s new episode of “This Is Us” is entitled “The Pool,” and in many ways, it could be a perfect microcosm of everything that this show does best: It tells a series of stories all themed around a public pool, which is theory a relatively innocent place where families can bond and enjoy one another’s company.
However, on this show the scenes there end up becoming incredibly complex. There are issues about race and body image that come out of Randall, Kevin, and Kate being at the pool as children, and we’ll see some of their struggles then relate, as usual, to some of what is happening in the present. Thematically, executive producer / creator Dan Fogelman offers up the perfect explanation of the stories to come to Entertainment Weekly:
“You actually have eight stories going on in this episode, in that all three of the kids have a story in the past, all three have one in the present, and then Rebecca and Jack have their stories, so there’s a lot going on in the episode … There’s a lot of firsts in the past; it’s the first time Randall explores being a black kid raised in a white family. It’s the first time Kate is becoming aware of body image issues with other little girls at a public pool wearing a bikini, and we watch this confident, brassy little girl go inward for the first time, which is heartbreaking for her parents. And for Kevin, it’s the first time we watch this beautiful towheaded boy start getting the short end of the stick of parental attention, with the attention being given to either the adopted child or the child suddenly with body image questions. That will obviously have lasting effects on him as he gets older.”
It is definitely possible that there will be another surprise or two buried within this story, much akin to Jack not being with Rebecca in the present or Randall’s real name being Kyle. The beauty of this show at this point, though, is that it has transcended the point in which in needs to rely on twists. It’s a show with enough powerful story that it just needs to continue along that trajectory to be successful in the end.
To preview the next new “This Is Us” episode further, be sure to head over here to take a look at a promo. (Photo: NBC.)