[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 5 of This Is Us, “A Long Road Home.”]
Fans of This Is Us were left in the lurch following Season 5’s last episode, which aired in 2020, their patience has been rewarded in the show’s latest installment, Episode 5’s “A Long Road Home.”
Kate Confronts Her Past
Picking up where the story left off, Kate confides in Toby about her abortion, explaining that she never told her family or anyone else about the decision. She tells her husband about the abusive relationship with Marc and he wishes aloud that he could hunt the man down himself. The discussion leads Kate to look up Marc online (as if seeking out an ex is ever a good idea). The next morning after Kate’s reveal, she tells Toby about her online stalking and asks if he’ll join her in finding Marc, who now lives in San Diego.
Pulling up to a sidewalk where an adult Marc takes a smoking break outside of the record shop he’s supposedly working at, Kate approaches him and reintroduces herself. Marc seems happy to see her at first, but Kate starts asking tough questions, like what he remembers of their relationship (he thinks they were in love, but too young). But it’s when he tells Kate that she was broken in all the right ways that she snaps.
In a moving monologue, Kate essentially tells Marc all of the harm he caused her, not mentioning the abortion, interestingly enough. She concludes the epic telling-off by saying that she’s putting all of the baggage and trauma on him now, and turns her back on the unchanging slacker. Yeah, we cheered.
The Real Story Behind Kate’s Secret
Switching to the past, it’s revealed that Kate (Hannah Zeile) goes to an abortion clinic while her mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) visits Kevin (Logan Shroyer) in New York with Randall (Niles Fitch). After learning that her procedure will be the next day, Kate seeks Marc (Austin Abrams) out at his apartment. It’s the first time she’s seen him since the dreaded Pearson family cabin trip and while he’s apologetic, it’s obvious Marc will never change.
Despite making her breakfast and saying sorry, Marc gets annoyed when Kate wants to have a serious discussion, asking if they can just watch TV instead. Kate agrees but wants to watch Airplane! when they turn the TV on and it’s playing, she recalls her parents laughing at the film in her memories, but Marc’s obvious indifference reminds her why he’s no good and she ditches the situation. The next day she has her abortion and Rebecca arrives home to find her curled up watching a movie and crying.
Rebecca wonders what’s wrong, especially since Kate didn’t answer any calls she had made while away. Kate chalks up her emotions to a sappy movie.
Randall’s story picks up just after he becomes a viral sensation for his Zoom dance captured in the last episode. He enters the councilman’s office to find his coworkers clad in fake muscle shirts and dancing in boxers. Jae-won (Tim Jo) gets down to business though, revealing that Randall’s received an email from a man named Hai (Vien Hong), who claims to have known Randall’s mother Laurel until her death in 2015. Yes, you read that right, she’s dead, which means Randall won’t be meeting his long lost mother, but there’s definitely the sense he’ll learn more about her.
Randall now grapples with the fact that this information contradicts the story his father William (Ron Cephas Jones) had told him. After talking it through with his therapist (played by Keith Powell), Randall decides to seek out Hai to learn about Laurel so he can better understand himself. With Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) by his side, Randall rings Hai and bluntly relays the story William told him about Laurel’s supposed death.
Hai reassures Randall that William didn’t lie and it’s safe to assume his father told the most accurate version of events that he would know. Overtaken with emotion, Hai wishes aloud that he could show Randall all of the things about Laurel that he knows and thankfully Randall agrees, suggesting that he and his family plan a visit to see Hai and learn more.
Kevin (Justin Hartley) continues on the road to parenthood with Madison (Caitlin Thompson) as the pair prepare to interview potential nannies. When Kevin receives a call about his latest project moving production to Canada he’s torn. If he goes, he risks not being around in the final weeks with Madison before the birth of their babies, and if he stays, he forgoes a great career opportunity.
Madison insists that he goes, and seems OK with the situation, but tension spills over during one nanny interview when Kevin asks if she’s prepared to travel. Madison makes it clear that they plan to be in California most of the time, but when they’re alone, Kevin says that he doesn’t plan to miss out on acting gigs after working for 20 years to get where he is.
We then switch to past, with Rebecca’s visiting Kevin in New York, where he gets a call to visit California for pilot season shortly after marrying Sophie (Amanda Leighton). Randall wonders if it’s a good idea to leave and Kevin assures his brother that it’s fine. We know otherwise, of course. Will Kevin’s choice to film in Canada backfire?
Leaving Madison behind at home with a kiss and farewell, he gives Randall a call on his way to the airport for some advice, telling his brother that he’s wondering “what would Randall do” in this situation.
Randall admits that it is a nice thing for Kevin to say, complimenting his judgement, and it almost seems as if they’re on the verge of reconciliation, but the writers of the show can only give fans so much in one week. Will Kevin turn his car around and reassure Madison that he’s all in on their arrangement? Can Kevin and Randall finally put the past behind them? Tune in next week to find out.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC