With a special appearance from Uncle.
Will Actor Brother ever know the horrors of war? It feels safe to assume that he won’t, although I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him getting cast in a Ron Howard war movie. Still, he is surrounded by veterans, and he is learning about their ways. As much as This Is Us is a show about the Vietnam War, we must also remember it is a show about the Iraq War. It is also a show about Mother. Let’s see if she died.
HAS MOTHER DIED?
IS SISTER WELL?
Sister wasn’t really in this one, nor was Councilman Brother. This Is Us has begun a project similar to Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog, or a triptych of the sea you might purchase on Etsy. Each sibling is getting their own episode. This episode is Actor Brother’s.
ACTOR BROTHER, THEN … YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING ABOUT WAR?
Well — okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Actor Brother is being a single father for this episode. He takes his two babies on a plane, for example. He tries to get them to go to sleep. At the beginning of the episode he’s bad at being a single father, but by the end of the episode (I think three days later?) he’s good at it. Whew … that was close.
Actor Brother and the babies had to take the aforementioned plane in order to visit the family cabin in Pennsylvania. There waiting for them was: Uncle (hello Uncle!), Uncle’s Girlfriend, Not Keri Russell, and Not Keri Russell’s Son. Not Keri Russell and Uncle are supervising the building of the woodland home Father wanted to build for the family before he died, now funded by Actor Brother. Not Keri Russell seems to be the lead contractor, and Actor Brother notices immediately that she has made a mistake.
Yes, the foundation’s concrete was poured incorrectly. Oh, god. Actor Brother is upset to find this, because it will set back the project’s completion date and, as you know, Mother is dying. We have to get her in there to die ASAP!!!
In a very poetic twist of fate, Actor Brother of the past is also talking about “foundations.” It’s crazy how life works sometimes. In a flashback to his late teens, Actor Brother worries that he doesn’t have a “solid foundation,” unlike Father, Sister, and Future Councilman Brother. He is a burgeoning alcoholic, he’s just cheated on his wife (he got married young and then divorced), and he isn’t famous yet. Will he ever be a good man? Should he quit acting and go into construction, like Father?
No, as we know, he doesn’t quit acting and go into construction, like Father.
Or does he?
DO GO ON …
At the end we find out he might. It seems like he has plans to start a construction company named after the Big Three that employs veterans.
MAY I ASK WHY VETERANS?
Well … God, there was a lot of plot in this episode. Not Keri Russell, who served in the Iraq War, is having a hard time. Uncle picked up on this, as he served in the Vietnam War and is having a perennially hard time, but Actor Brother, who has only ever “served” the creative vision of the creator of The Manny, did not. After the cabin gang has dinner, listens to music, has a generally pleasant evening, and goes to sleep, Actor Brother gets word that Not Keri Russell left the house and was in a car accident from which she had to be hospitalized.
While Actor Brother is relieved to find there weren’t drugs or alcohol in Not Keri Russell’s system, as she is a recovering addict, Uncle understands the situation is more dire and instructs Actor Brother to stay at the hospital with her overnight. Actor Brother uses this time for some much-needed self-reflection — wondering: Is Actor Brother a good man? Or is Actor Brother just acting like he thinks a good man would act? — and the next day Not Keri Russell explains to him that her divorce and her memories of war are making it such that living is often unbearable, and the car accident was an attempt to stop the pain.
Ha-ha … ah, well … Actor Brother has problems too, you see … there’s this thing about how he doesn’t know if he’s actually a good man …?
Actor Brother is quiet while she talks, though, so it’s actually sort of a win for him.
Back at the construction site he re-learns the crew is made up of skilled veterans (Not Keri Russell had already told him) and gets to thinking: Why not build more cabins with these guys, now that I know they are skilled at building and also carry deep trauma? So that’s what he’s going to do.
Fun show …
AND ACTOR BROTHER’S GUITAR?
He gives it to Not Keri Russell’s son, thank god.
Next week: Sister pays for her crimes.