Tonight, This Is Us season 3 episode 12 offered up the end of the “Songbird Road” saga, and we would call the end results here bittersweet.
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First and foremost, we do think that anyone who felt like Nicky Pearson was going to suddenly be reformed after two episodes with the Big Three was sorely disappointed. This is a man who has lived the same exact way for decades. He struggles with his mental health, with drinking, and with reliving the past traumas in his life. He did agree to go to at least one meeting at the Veterans’ Center and allowed Kevin to help fix up his trailer. That was the best thing that anyone can hope for at the moment. We don’t think that Nicky’s story is necessarily over, but from here the show could turn the page and focus on some other things.
The most lasting consequence of this saga is going to come from Kevin, who in the midst of his frustration over Nicky and facing the pain that he couldn’t “save” him as he had hoped, decided to go back to the bottle. He relapsed within his trailer and by the end of the episode, he hadn’t told anyone about what happened. This was a man who was used to being somewhat detached from his family (we think that was the purpose of the baseball-card-themed flashback, alongside also showing how far he would go for people he cared about), but this is a completely different sort of problem. He could’ve killed one of Randall’s daughters last year when he got into that car. If he continues to spiral, odds are that he could end up ruining his life or the lives of those close to him.
There is still a sense of jeopardy for Kevin — remember that we have not seen him yet within the flash-forwards. His status within that world is not entirely clear.
So while Kevin may have failed in his mind to help Nicky, he needs to remember that his life still holds great value. He needs to figure out how he wants to take the next step forward and be careful with it. His problem is still confronting a sense of emptiness, given that his two siblings both have specific responsibilities and a sense of what’s to come.
For Kate within this episode, she was forced to confront the idea that her perfect memory of her father (one in which she and Randall had a sequin fight with him) was the aftereffect of what happened with Jack and Nicky. The only reason he was home with the two of them that day was because Rebecca went with Kevin to the baseball-card signing, going against the original plan. Meanwhile, Jack ended up smashing a plate when he lost his temper, something that Kate always interpreted as an accident but Randall thought otherwise. He saw more of the darkness in his father and how, on that specific day, he was struggling with something. The sequin fight was a way to mask it so that the family could get through the afternoon.
For Rebecca, she at least had a nice moment with Nicky, as he told her that the family he had with her was all he’d ever wanted. He also told her of the time in which Jack built a playhouse and just how crafty he was — giving her one memory that she did not have before.
Out of all of the purposes for Nicky’s return, we didn’t anticipate Kevin’s sobriety being one of the consequences. It was a reminder of how much he was putting on trying to connect with his uncle and the sense of failure that he felt when it wasn’t what he wanted it to be. We would say that Kevin needs to be a little bit more patient with him, but being sober doesn’t quite work like that. The urges and the addiction comes and goes, and at this moment Kevin struggling.
What did you think about tonight’s This Is Us season 3 episode 12? Share some of your thoughts right now in the comments. (Photo: NBC.)