By Isabel Jones
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 @ 1:18 pm
NBC

After five fairly uneven episodes, I’m pleased to report that This Is Us is back to its gloriously sappy roots.

This week, “Kamsahamnida” gave us everything we (read: I) had been wanting since the season began last month. Instead of focusing on Jack’s pre-family past (too much, anyway), Us stuck to its strong suits with some good ol’ fashioned sibling bonding, tear-inducing heart-to-hearts, and the takeaway that, yes, despite our current political climate and any debilitating personal drama that may come our way, life does have a way of going on. It’s not all doom and gloom — Randall has the South Korean vote!

I know I’ve griped about Jack’s continued involvement in the series, but if we must keep him around, I think he should operate in the same capacity as he did in this episode: as the lesson-teaching father figure whose deeply affecting conversations with his young children have helped them navigate through adulthood. #FatheroftheCentury.

Anyway, peak ‘90s parenting aside, this episode really allowed its less focal characters to shine. Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) had her chance to properly freak out over losing her job, and express a rare moment of less-than-perfect mommydom when faced with a girl scout cookie meltdown, she tells her oldest to “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” It’s refreshing to see the ever-cool and funny wife and working mom drop the ball just this once, and even more so to see the wise beyond her years Deja picking up the pieces with a Randall-worthy speech.

Another neglected character who finally finds her moment? Kate. Though touted as a lead, Jack and Rebecca’s daughter has been standing in the shadow of Toby’s unnecessarily dramatic depression storyline all season. Now that baby-obsessed Kate is finally pregnant, she’s able to focus on her husband, assuring him in (another!) Jack/Randall-worthy speech that she’s with him “in sickness and health.”

RELATED: Sorry, Milo Ventimiglia — This Is Us Is Actually A Lot Better Without Jack

And, ah, the crème de la crème … Randall teams up with Kevin (whose former sitcom The Manny is No. 1 in South Korea) to wrangle South Korean voters in Philadelphia. Not only does he bond with his bro,’ but he also lands himself a campaign manager.

Everything is working out, exactly as it should on network TV! Thank you, NBC (please don’t take us back to ‘Nam next week).

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