Let’s Discuss ‘This Is Us’: Mother’s Son Is Going to Be President
If he doesn’t let Mother’s looming death get in the way, that is.
Oh, Councilman Brother. You did not ask for this life. Found abandoned at a fire station shortly after your birth, you were brought to the hospital, adopted by Mother and Undead Father, and ushered into a life of dealing with all of their bullshit. At least you love Mother so dearly, Councilman Brother. Yes, at least you are obsessed with Mother in a way that seems slightly inappropriate. Of course, though, aren’t we all? Let’s check in on her, while we’re thinking about it.
HAS MOTHER DIED?
IS IT STILL THANKSGIVING?
AND COUNCILMAN BROTHER … IS HE WELL?
His constant state of inner turmoil is carrying on as ever, and that may be as “well” as Councilman Brother can get. So I suppose yes. We have arrived at his episode now, and for today, the spotlight is on Councilman Brother. Or should we say Senator Brother? Or should we say … President Brother???
In the past, Councilman Brother is at the pool. He is the only child who can swim. In the last two episodes, we followed Actor Brother and Sister’s experiences during the same pool day — afraid to swim and coddled by Mother and Undead Father in a way that set them up for disaster later in life — and now it is Councilman Brother’s turn. He swims, and is an excellent swimmer. But Councilman Brother can’t help but wish he were more a part of his loser family, who are all crying and having a bad time. Oh, why must Councilman Brother be cursed with competence?
In the present it is Thanksgiving, just as it has been for the entire month of March. At the family cabin, Councilman Brother is upset with Mother because she put Sister, rather than Councilman Brother, in charge of eventually killing her. That was Councilman Brother’s dream job. Now he has to settle for being President of the United States! (In the future.) (We’ll get to it.)
Councilman Brother’s Eldest Daughter is upset, too, with Councilman Brother, because she found out he instructed Eldest Daughter’s Young-Father Boyfriend to break up with her. (A daring tactic to free Eldest Daughter’s from the grip of getting her GED rather than attending a four-year university.) She steals away in the night to Harvard, and the next morning Councilman Brother and Mother set off to find her.
On the way, they get a sandwich and take selfies. “This is my life now,” Mother says after taking two pills, and we as an audience are forced to confront the thought that, well, that doesn’t seem so bad actually. Just taking two pills? After Eldest Daughter calls to confirm that she is safe (though is anyone under the influence of the Ivy League truly safe?), Mother convinces Councilman Brother to give Daughter some space, at least until tomorrow. Instead of picking her up, they go to a bar and have some disgusting wine.
At the bar, Mother exhibits fan behavior toward Councilman Brother. She pulls out an interview he did with a magazine, the contents of which she has memorized: he likes Chianti and read a book. Wow! :) Later, he explains the interview is part of an ongoing campaign to increase his national visibility, because he may have the opportunity to run for Senator; an opportunity he has been somewhat avoiding due to Mother’s impending death. Now that he knows Mother wants her children to not ruin their lives on account of her illness, he feels free to try to be a Senator. Where will that choice eventually lead him? Mother knows. As does Councilman Brother. As do we. (President.) (He was the subject of a New Yorker article about it that we saw in a flashforward last season.)
The next day, Daughter calls Councilman Brother and asks him to come pick her up. She has forgiven him and has decided that breaking up with Young-Father Boyfriend was ultimately the correct choice. Well, well, well. I guess things worked out after all, didn’t they? That is just how the world turns on This Is Normal Councilman Brother and His Nice Family.
Oh, and in the medium-past Teen Councilman Brother gets Teen Actor Brother and Teen Sister out of a scrape with the police by telling a cop that their dad died recently, and also he’s going to be President in the future and can’t have an arrest on his record. Hm. Would this have worked in reality? That’s not for us to consider.
MAY I ASK … WAS THERE ANY RESOLUTION REGARDING MOTHER’S DECISION TO PUT SISTER IN CHARGE OF HER DEATH?
Oh yes, she told Councilman Brother that he’s been taking care of the family for too long, and that she didn’t want to put this decision on him, too. Seems different from what she told Sister (that she chose her because she was her best friend) but that’s Mother’s cross to bear.
Next week: We move on from Thanksgiving.