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The most disappointed man introduces us to a mother, the struggle of two emotionally lost men and two judges trying to do the right thing but never knowing if they are. The Pearson family grows in many directions as families do and with growth comes challenges including the race card.

New family members

Jack and Rebecca have the triplets home from the hospital and a caseworker is visiting them regularly to finalize the adoption process for Randall. While Randall is starting his life as a Pearson we see his birth father, William, go to jail for buying and using street drugs. He stands before the judge, looking broken and numb, and tells him that he is the most disappointed man after losing his son and his son’s mother.

This is why he turned to drugs- which are on every corner of every street where he lives.

Foster father Randall takes an excited hopeful-hearted Deja on a court-ordered visit to her mother in jail but she refuses to see them. Randall fibs to soften the blow and Deja buys it. She isn’t leaving without giving her mother her saved allowance so she has milk money in the slammer. After a talk with Beth, Randall returns to see Deja’s mother in jail. Her face is badly beaten and before he can say more than who he is she stops him, “I didn’t want her to see my face like this.”

Randall feels protective of Deja now but her mother asserts that Deja is her daughter, she thanks him for giving her a temporary home but tells him that she will come for her when she is released. “You’re gonna have to go through me,” he tells her, and she responds, “I’ve been through worse.” Well played.

Randall sees this is a woman who isn’t a junkie or even uncaring. She made some bad choices but is lucid, loving, and sincerely trying to get her life on the right track. He has her call Deja at their home later that evening and Deja is overjoyed talking to her. Both Deja and her mom are becoming part of this home now and Beth is asked to allow and embrace that relationship for everyone’s sake.

Awkward conversations, rings and wedding bells

Kate (chrissy metz) and Toby tell Kevin about the pregnancy. Meanwhile, he’s struggling with depression and addiction and it is taking a toll on his relationship with Sophie. He tries to hang on to it by buying her the biggest diamond ring he can find. Actually, he buys three so she has her pick. Kate suggests to Toby that they quickly get married at the courthouse when he has a panic attack about telling his Catholic mother about her pregnancy out of wedlock. Always eager to please his lady, Toby agrees.

License in hand, Kate attempted to talk herself into how great it would be to avoid the dress shopping, awkward questions about her dead father walking her down the aisle, the money saved by going to a Justice of the Peace, etc.

Toby isn’t buying it and neither are we. He knows his love. In an endearing and awkward one-sided conversation, Toby attempts Jack’s blessing as he talks to the urn on the mantle. Later, in grand Toby style, he gives her a silly sappy romantic on bended knee proposal - with a side of humor. He also encourages her to have the big embarrassing wedding with her mother looking on while her two handsome brothers gush by her side. She said yes to both and Toby re-places the ring on her finger.

Now in Queens via the red-eye, a sweaty Kevin shows up on Sophie’s doorstep and we watch with baited breath for a proposal with one of those rings in his pocket. Instead, he tells Sophie he saw his life with her, as a husband and a father and it was a nightmare for him. Heartbroken, and frankly a little shocked, she tearfully closes the door. Kevin walks away looking relieved, scared, broken, questioning himself and not entirely sure what is next for him. On his downward spiral and not being his true self, Kevin has been acting in roles, acting like who people think he should be, and who he thinks he should be but not who he is. He is the most lost of them all right now.

Judgement day

When it is time to go before a judge to get the adoption papers signed, Jack and Rebecca come up against some resistance. The judge is a black man. They corner him after he dismisses their case citing a need for more information from the caseworker. In his chambers, he tells them, in no uncertain terms, that a white family cannot teach Randall the tools he needs to live as a black man in (1980’s) society. He also is firm that he will not change his mind when they return on the next court date.

Rebecca, not one to give up. sends the judge a heartfelt letter with a family photo, directing special attention to Randall’s correct skin tone, representing a proclamation, that they will not stop coming to his courtroom until he signs the adoption papers. He recuses himself from the case and a new judge, a black woman - beautiful judge Shaw, happily signs the documents 3 weeks later. Randall is now officially a Pearson.

William’s sentencing date is here and the judge asks to speak to him privately, without counsel. His earlier speech touched the judge and he informs William he will give him a chance with the contingency that every time he dares to go down the wrong path again he remember his face and make a different choice. We see William struggle from time to time as the years go by. His final struggle, when he was ready to give in to the drugs again, was his old age after the crushing blow that his cancer was not responding to treatment, the miracle came to save him. It wasn’t the face of the judge. It was 36- year old Randall at his door, “I’m your son.”

'This Is Us' airs Tuesday nights at 9 pm on NBC