Memphis, This Is Us, Recap

Mild SPOILER warning

do not continue if you have not watched Memphis yet

If you haven’t watched This Is Us yet, get your stuff together, GET ON IT!

BEST thing you will EVER do for yourself

Just bring a box of KLEENEX with you for EVERY episode



Every Tuesday I am left with an unwavering sense of hope. A hope that even with all of the bad that life throws at you, there is always something worth getting back up for. This Is Us came out of nowhere, it gives me chills and gives me the true perception of what family means.

Now, I go into this show every week not knowing what is going to come. I skip all of the commercials regarding the next episode, I don’t watch the end credits, nothing. Going into the episode I didn’t know who was in it. I was hoping that I would get to see more of Milo Ventimiglia show off his skills as one of the best TV dads this side Sandy Cohen, Danny Tanner and Mitch Leary. I was pleasantly surprised when this episode was focus on William and Randall.

Over the last few episodes it seemed like we were going to get hit in the stomach ten times over with the slow burn that will be finding out what happened to Jack. I am the last person that wants to see this, I know I am going to be one helluva mess when it happens and will probably need to sit alone crying for awhile. Mentally processing the fact that Jack, the hope that it is all a horrible joke, is really gone. It is going to break me even harder if it is Kate that tells the story… yes, I know this is how it’s going to be, I just need to keep lying to myself for a little while longer. But, back to Memphis.

“Man, that was a hell of a thing you did, knocking on my door that day.” – William

It is within the 45 minutes that this show runs for that I wish TV screens could transport me to other people watching it so we could all just hold each other during the commercial break for moral support to get through it. I knew at about the 5 minute mark that I would not last the entire episode without sitting there, looking at my screen in those final moments tears falling heavily. Boy, was I right. I could still use a hug, if anyone is out there, feeling the way I do still… virtual hug sent your way.

There are 3 times you cry during This Is Us and those cries will vary in duration and intensity. This episode gave all three times in a manner of minutes. This episode gave one of the most beautiful send offs to a beloved character and gave another character the most heartwarming release I have ever seen. I welcomed the break from the Pearson family to see William’s entire life play out before my eyes. To see such a broken man find solace within the eyes of his beautiful boy.

Okay, I’m crying again. Breathe with me, just breathe.

Ron Cephas Jones and Sterling K. Brown (not to mention the introduction of Jermel Nakia) gave a performance of a lifetime within this episode. It was moving, it takes your breath away and hits you in places you never thought were possible. You have grown to love these characters like they are apart of your own family, when they fall – you fall. It is so raw, so real that everything is that much more impactful. You can see yourself there, in their shoes, walking their day to day. You don’t question it because you can feel it, you feel it so much. When William steps into his grandbaby’s room and kisses their heads, them looking up at him – his goodbye floating in their air, you somehow seem to understand that this is when it happens.

“I want them to remember looking up at me, not down.” – William

Breathe, just breathe.

As the father-son duo make their way to Memphis, they make a pit-stop. A pit-stop I never even thought would happen. William asks to go say his respects to the man who made his son the beautiful person that he is today, sitting next to him. And the words that come out Williams mouth in that moment, “thank you for doing what I couldn’t, for raising him to be the man he is.  I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to meet you, brother. I would’ve liked to have heard that laugh. I would’ve liked to have met my son’s father,” your heart starts pounding a little harder – he will get to meet Jack soon enough.

Breathe, just breathe.

There are so many beautiful moments within this episode. From Randall telling William to sneak a drink from the segregated water fountains to Randall at the club shouting for job, “you get a cousin. And you get a cousin. Everybody gets a COUSIN!” When Beth calls Randall to check in:

“Everything’s better with a little Beth on it. You’re the chocolate sauce on my ice cream, girl.”

And then you get the flashbacks. Flashbacks of Williams life. A tiny baby whose father sings him You Are My Sunshine, goes off to war and never comes back. A single mother who is pushing a young William to follow his musical dreams, to keep writing his songs. A single mother who has to leave her grown son to take care of her own mother only to get sick, sicker than she led William to believe, herself. William writing songs. William leaving behind his cousin, their band to take care of his mother. William breaking a promise to go back to Memphis because he found love and drugs.

Breathe, just breathe.


This was the perfect episode. Perfect down to the last moments of Randall and William driving together in the car and the advice to just roll down those windows and turn up the music. To the tragic moment in the hotel leading up to the hospital. In that moment, Randall too, became Jack Pearson’s son but he also became the beautiful son of William. Holding his biological father’s face, breathing in their last moments together.

Breathe, just breathe.

We can’t forget the ducks. The song.

Breathe, just breathe.


This entire episode moved me. It was emotionally raw and honest. It once again exceeded all of my expectations… until next week.

I also need to thank the writers for releasing their notes from the end of the script. Because we all should remember what Justin Hartley recited as Kevin not too long ago:

“People will die in our lives, people that we love. But it’s kind of beautiful if you think about it, the fact that just because someone died, doesn’t mean they are not still in the painting.” – Kevin

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