Episode two, “A Philadelphia Story”, opens in the past timeline just months after Jack’s death. Seventeen year old Randall (Niles Fitch) learns he has been accepted into Howard University while Kevin and Kate (Logan Shroyer and Hannah Zeile) come to terms with their own college plans or lack there of. Each of the kids are grieving Jack’s death in their own way. Randall notices Kate’s anger and poor food decisions becoming an issue, meanwhile Kevin is constantly drunk. When he brings this up to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) she ignores the warning signs and passes it off as their own ways of handling their grief. She goes on to explain to him that simply getting out of bed in the morning is the best that she can do. Randall comes to the conclusion that he can’t leave his family and calls Howard to tell them that he will not be attending in the fall.
Fast forward to the current timeline, everyone is getting ready to celebrate Kevin (Justin Hartley) at his movie premiere. In previous episodes we learned that Kevin is casually dating Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) cousin. Kevin appears to be much more interested in Zoe (Melanie Liburd) than he lets on. He is evidently bothered by their awkward conversation about the two of them not being anything serious.
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) continues his quest to carry on his biological father’s legacy. Deja (Lyric Ross) tells Randall that she feels out of place in her new school. Hoping to introduce her to some new friends, he takes her to the rec center down the street from the apartment complex that he and Beth have started to manage. The center is in need of a lot of repairs so in typical Randall fashion he goes to work. Randall himself is finding that what he struggled with as a child is still a struggle for him as an adult. His attempts at being helpful can come across as privileged outsider. Much like Deja his unique upbringing still makes him feel out of place within the black community.
Kate and Toby (Chrissy Metz and Chris Sullivan) have begun their IVF treatments and despite their excitement have chosen to keep it a secret from the rest of the Pearson family. Rebecca accidently finds out about the treatments and quickly advises that they find another way of having children. The risks involved because of Kate’s weight turn it into a heated discussion but is loudly interrupted by Toby who is physically upset. In one of the strongest moments from this episode Toby tells Rebecca that this is their decision as husband and wife, her opinion is not needed. Last week we learned that Toby’s antidepressants might be a cause of their struggle to conceive and we watched as he flushed his pills down the toilet. Now he is dealing with the withdrawal symptoms, which have caused him to act different than normal. Kate notices that his behavior is out of the ordinary but assumes it’s from the stress of the IVF treatments.
As the third episode comes to a close the family meets at Kevin’s movie premiere. Rebecca apologizes to Kate for letting her weight get out of control when she was younger and explains to her that she only wants to protect her from more pain. When Randall takes his seat next to Kevin the two talk casually about their day. Kevin mentions to Randall about Toby and Kate’s news but says something that seriously bothers Randall. During her argument with Rebecca, Kate said that she is only who can pass on a piece of their father. Honoring his fathers is an important part of Randall’s story. This comment doesn’t bother Kevin since he is terrified by the thought of having children but Randall appears to be shaken by Kate’s words. In the preview of Episode 3, Kate undergoes surgery. While unconscious she engages in conversation with younger versions of herself.