This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16 Review: New York, New York, New York

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Often when families face a crisis, the ways people mask their pain stop working, and the results aren't pretty.

That's what happened on This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16.

Randall and Kevin kept fighting with each other over Rebecca, but it was clear there were deeper issues at play.

Walking The Red Carpet - This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16

Rebecca's positive attitude is a bright spot in what would otherwise be a depressing story about her cognitive decline.

Rebecca: My life has been full of next times, things I assumed I would get to eventually. But now I realize I am running out of time to do them. Let's face it, guys, I'm losing my memory.
Randall: Mom -
Rebecca: No, let me finish. I want to spend whatever good years I have left with my family. I want to spend it walking on red carpets. I want to make up for all of my next times.

Ever since her diagnosis, Rebecca has been firm in her resolve to live fully. Carpe diem has become her motto, and it is truly a beautiful thing to see.

And she's right, too -- she can't control the course of her dementia, but she can appreciate the time she has left and do all the things she kept putting off for "someday."

Now if only she can get Randall on board with her philosophy -- but we know that she won't.

Upset Randall - This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16

Randall is completely invested in being the supportive son who is practically a stand-in for his late father.

Randall: Were you trying to set Mom up with that guy?
Kevin: I don't know. Maybe.
Randall: She seems upset. Maybe I'd better go after her.
Kevin: She's a grown woman. My God, Randall. You gonna spend the rest of your life worrying about her?

There wasn't any difference between his argument with Kevin over Kirby and his argument with Kevin over this clinical trial, except for more time had passed.

In both cases, Randall couldn't let go of control, wanted to take care of Rebecca, and was convinced that Kevin didn't know anything about what Rebecca needed.

His anger at Rebecca's decision not to take the clinical trial was disrespectful, though. 

Rebecca is not so far gone that she is incapable of making decisions for herself. Not yet.

But Randall has it in his head that this clinical trial is the only way to "save" her. He has not asked Rebecca whether she needs saving or what that would look like to her and he didn't listen to her explanation.

Instead, this looks like the beginning of the end for him and Kevin, as he blamed Kevin for Rebecca's decision and refused to listen to anyone's opinion but his own.

Randall: All right, Kev, the reason I'm coming to New York is that I have something I need to talk to Mom about in person.
Kevin: And you want to support me, right?

Randall succeeded only in amplifying the resentment and anger that tends to fester between him and Kevin.

A Carriage Ride - This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16

Kevin and Randall's issues go deeper than this disagreement. Randall tends to trigger Kevin's feelings of not being good enough and Randall tends to view Kevin as irresponsible.

None of that is anything new, though it was heartbreaking that Randall couldn't enjoy Kevin's success for its own sake and was only coming to the premiere to talk Rebecca into the clinical trial.

But Randall's feelings that he could have saved Jack from the fire adds a new dimension to this dynamic.

Obviously, Jack's death was a turning point for everyone. Randall became the glue holding everyone together afterward, but he also clearly was trying to make up for not having saved his father's life by saving the rest of the family -- especially Rebecca.

It was interesting, too, that Randall constantly thinks about what life would have been like had Jack not died, while Kevin claimed not to think about that at all.

Just Like Home Alone - This is Us Season 4 Episode 16

I wondered whether Kevin was telling the truth about that. Jack's death hit him hard too, so it didn't seem likely that he really never thinks about his father.

Jack's absence loomed over both of the other trips to New York.

Randall and Kevin fought about whether or not Kevin should have set Rebecca up with Kirby, and her date with Kirby ended badly because of an offhand comment that made her miss Jack.

Kirby was a nice guy, but it probably never would have worked out anyway. It was too soon after Jack's death. 

But at least Rebecca had the courage to try and see where it went, even if it only went as far as Central Park.

Lost in Queens - This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16

And of course, Jack's absence was weighing on Randall's mind as he fought for Rebecca to go to that clinical trial.

Rebecca and the kids were lucky to have that first trip with Jack.

It was sad that he thought Rebecca wasn't enjoying being with him just because she'd been to New York City before.

I can't believe we're lost in New York. All we need is a crazy pigeon lady and I'll be just like McCauley Caulkin in Home Alone.

Kevin

The trip to New York was like most of their marriage. Jack's spontaneity set them back, while Rebecca was the practical one who could get them unlost.

And once Rebecca was able to reassure Jack that she was happy making new memories in New York with him, he was able to relax and enjoy the trip.

Thank goodness for that. Those memories were an important part of Rebecca and Jack's story.

The scene in the carriage was sweet, too. I didn't blame Rebecca for not wanting to continue with Kirby when he put down the whole idea of going on a carriage ride, especially after how much it meant to Jack to take one with her.

Rebecca's visits to the Met -- or non-visits, for the most part -- were the thread that tied the entire episode together.

I loved the meaning of that painting to her, and that she used visiting the Met as a symbol of all the things she was running out of time to do that she was determined to do.

Your turn, This Is Us fanatics.

Hit the SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought about This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16.

Want to see the episode again? You can watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic.

This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.

New York, New York, New York Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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This Is Us Season 4 Episode 16 Quotes

Rebecca: Kevin and his classmates are all going to be monologuing.
Randall: Kevin should be good at that. He's been monologuing his entire life.

Randall: All right, Kev, the reason I'm coming to New York is that I have something I need to talk to Mom about in person.
Kevin: And you want to support me, right?