This Is Us S2 Episode 12 Recap: 8 Can’t Miss Moments From ‘Clooney’
After last week’s emotionally exhausting “The Fifth Wheel” episode, This Is Us let fans somewhat off the hook this week with a lot less heavy episode in “Clooney.” While it may not have been as emotional of an episode, “Clooney” covered a lot of ground in the Pearsons life from the past to the present and even explored new avenues like the intricacies of friendship that to this point had been set aside for focus on familial relationships instead. Of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of This Is Us without leaving viewers with one major moment. There is a lot to unravel and unpack from the episode, so here is a full recap with 8 can’t miss moments from “Clooney.”
8. Outer Space
For quite some time now Randall has been without a job after his panic attack caused him to reevaluate the stress his work put on his life, and for the first time “Clooney” explored the tension this was putting on his relationship with Beth. The normally completely in-sync couple were off-balance as Beth pushed Randall to take a job interview while he complained about needing work he was passionate about and got his “juices flowing.” After occupying himself instead with a box of William’s old stuff that was found in his apartment, Beth finally confronted Randall after he stopped by her office and made it clear his focus was not on his job interview.“I need you to go back to work,” she explained, adding that it felt like he’s in “outer space” lately. “It’s not about money. I think it will be good for you — for us.”
7. Madison and Kate
While a major focus of the episode was on Beth and Randall and their relationship, the episode was also noticeably without Toby which was unfortunate. Although fans were without Toby, it left the episode open for Kate to explore other relationships in her life: friendship. For several episodes, fans have watched as Kate and the skinny woman in her over-eaters support group, Madison, clashed, but this episode gave a drastic twist to their relationship. After Kate opened up about how she fell off the wagon and turned to junk food after her miscarriage, and said she was ready to get back on track because of the wedding dress she would need for her upcoming wedding to Toby, Madison jumped on the chance to take Kate wedding dress shopping. The experience was paralleled in the past to a Pearson family trip to the mall in which Kate asked her mother to go dress shopping for the Winter Formal with her. In the present, Madison ended up being unbelievably understanding and compassionate as she explained to Kate she wouldn’t have to try a single thing on, just needed to find what she liked, and rented the store out for the appointment so that Kate wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. The happy wedding dress shopping moment however was marred by Madison’s often hidden eating disorder after she binged on macaroons in the shop but excused herself to purge after over indulging, giving insight to Madison’s very real problems that were often joked about by Kate up until that point.
6. Impossible Love
With Randall dealing with William’s memory and tension with Beth, and Kate dealing with a budding friendship with Madison, Kevin was trying to get back on his feet after leaving rehab. His therapist, Barbara, explained her worries for Kevin returning to Hollywood too quickly where slipping up on his sobriety would be all too easy so he decided to go where there was structure, but also work on his relationship with his mom: Rebecca and Miguel’s house. After obviously being uncomfortable with Miguel, Kevin confronted him in the grocery store asking him why he “tagged along” to which Miguel sternly told Kevin he was protecting Rebecca from the blame and guilt and bombs that Kevin has thrown at her lately. Following that interaction, back at the house Kevin sees his mom and Miguel cuddling on the couch watching TV, and after his mom goes to make tea, Kevin outright asks Miguel something we had all been wondering, did he love Rebecca back when Jack was still alive? In response Miguel gave a sweet and heartbreaking answer, telling Kevin it would have been “impossible” to love Rebecca back then. “There was no Jack, no Rebecca — it was just Jack and Rebecca,” Miguel responded. “The notion that I would have been in love with your mother back then would never even occur to me, ever,” Miguel told Kevin as flashbacks of Rebecca and Jack showed on the screen. He then also told Kevin that he does very much love Rebecca now though and he isn’t going anywhere, and in that moment, some of that tension and animosity between the two men lifted, giving way to understanding and acceptance from Kevin.
5. William’s Lady Love
Although Randall was not interested in job interviews, he could not have been more interested in the box of belongings a friend of William’s from his old apartment building found and asked Randall to pick up. In the box Randall found a poem entitled “Lady” in which it seemed William had been in love with a woman from the building. After knocking on doors looking for the woman, Randall was met with stories about how loving and attentive William was to all his neighbors. “When he moved, man, the building felt it,” the super of the building told Randall. “It was like we lost a heart and there was no place for the blood to go.” She then took Randall to William’s old apartment and encouraged him to take a look around. The flashback to William meeting his stray cat Clooney is intercut with Randall finally cracking the code: He sees a Billie Holiday mural through the window and remembers how much his father loved that “Lady.” In the past, we see William singing “God Bless the Child” and writing the poem as he feeds Clooney for the first time. Randall then understands that “Lady” is about his father’s love for the building and then goes to get Beth where he proposes they buy the building together. Earlier in the episode Beth had lamented about losing a spot of the city she intended to turn into a community park to Costco, so Randall suggested they use that building to combine their passions and give the people something great. It was partly a way of carrying on William’s legacy, but it was also an answer to the relationship struggles Beth had been alluding to. It gives them a chance to put their hearts and souls into something, together.
4. Are You Happy?
After Kevin’s moment of openness and understanding with Miguel about his relationship with Rebecca, Kevin also had a similar, heartfelt moment with his mom. Recent episodes have given older Rebecca some great moments, and this was most certainly one of them. It was short and subtle but greatly impacting as Kevin asked his mom if she is happy with Miguel. Rebecca took her time to respond as she explained to her son that after Jack’s death she had to let a lot of things go and “happiness was one of the first to go.” She then explained that after so many years of deep unhappiness, she was able to find joy with Miguel, and told Kevin about how he makes her laugh. After so much time, the episode gave fans not only a moment of understanding between Kevin and Miguel after a lot of tension between the two men, but the first real understanding for audiences about how Miguel and Rebecca operate as a couple, how it is different from her relationship with Jack, and how they got to where they are now.
3. Kate’s Admission
As Kate (and audiences) gained a deeper understanding of Madison, her storyline took a more serious turn as everyone realized her issues with eating were a lot worse then previously thought, and even dangerous. After becoming angry with Kate for “ruining” their wedding dress shopping day by confronting her about throwing up the macaroons, Madison ended up calling Kate in a panic. When Kate arrived at her house she discovered Madison crying in her bathroom with a gash on her head and explained to Kate she fainted after eating too much and then purging heavily. As Kate worked to help Madison, the two had a heart-to-heart where Madison explained she had a problem with eating and purging when she was younger but it had resurfaced just recently and said she knows Kate thinks she is crazy. In response, Kate revealed that right before her dad’s death she became very skinny by only eating baby carrots, and we saw flashbacks of teen Kate shopping for a Winter Formal dress and see she did fit into a dress that she told her mom didn’t fit, and in the dressing room took off a size 7 to instead try to zip into a size 5 and become frustrated as it won’t do up as adult Kate explains for the first time, “I was more comfortable being fat because I liked being mad at myself all the time.” After their revelations to each other Madison snuggles up to Kate and proclaims how happy she is to finally have a best friend as Kate looks shocked to know that is how Madison sees their friendship.
2. Thank You, Dad
Along with teen Kate shopping for a Winter Formal dress, the flashbacks in the episode showed Randall also on a mission at the mall, to ask a cute girl who works in one of the stores to the dance, while Jack took Kevin to shop for suits for the dance. While out and about, Kevin and Jack run into Miguel who laments about his ex-wife being engaged to her new boyfriend and as Jack tries to give his “classic pep talk” Kevin tells him to just give it a break and sometimes a guy just needs to be bummed out. As Jack restrains from trying to uplift Miguel’s spirits, the three grab lunch where Miguel reveals to Kevin that his dad did have a passion, starting his own business called Big Three Homes, but gave up the dream in order to keep his more secure job to provide for Kevin, his siblings, and Rebecca. After the revelation, as Kevin and Jack are shopping for suits, Kevin takes a moment to look his dad in the eye and say “thank you,” which was for so much more than simply helping him pick out a suit.
1. What Did We Forget At The Mall?
Out of many This Is Us episodes, “Clooney” seemed to be one of the most disjointed and erratic, with much less cohesive intercutting between the past and the present, all framed by William’s stay cat, Clooney. While that is not common for such a fluid and smooth series, it seems it was all on purpose by the end. Once again, the episode left fans with one final moment that rendered much of the rest of the episode unimportant. With everyone home from the mall, Jack explains to Rebecca that he wants to pursue Big Three Homes again, and as he put it off with the birth of the triplets before, it seemed never to be right time as they were about to head off to college. Instead, Rebecca agrees he should pursue his dream, and then asks him if they forgot something at the mall. Then, the camera ominously pans out from the two on the couch to the fire alarm with its batteries hanging out and audiences are reminded Rebecca had asked Jack to remind her to get batteries when they went out. As fans know that Jack’s death is closer than ever, and also know that the house burns downs, the fire alarm without batteries is just another piece to the puzzle that is Jack’s death which is becoming clearer and clearer.