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Where's the Power of the Big Three?

Gettyimages | NBC
By J. Atkin

This week's episode of "This Is Us," titled, "The Dinner and The Date," centered around fan favorite, Randall, in both of the show's main timelines. The episode worked through questions on race in the past, as Randall's teacher joins his family for dinner in the Pearson house, and questions of class when adult Randall has his daughter Deja's boyfriend's family over for dinner.

The episode was incredibly well balanced, a tear-jerker as always, and very trusting in particular of its youngest actors. But, while the episode alone was very well done, it highlights a question that has plagued this season as a whole since its beginning. What happened to "the Big Three"?

"The Big Three, as Jack calls his children, have spent an incredibly significant amount of time this season apart. While many episodes in previous seasons have focused on one Pearson or another, those used to feel much more like the exception than the rule. Randall, Kate, and Kevin have always lived at least some distance from one another (season one seeing Randall on one coast at the beginning and his siblings on the other) but their lives never felt quite as separate as they do this season.

Part of the magic of this ensemble cast has been created not just by the ensemble acting but the ensemble storytelling that went along with it. Like most families, they were in and out of each other lives constantly. It was messy, it was upsetting, it could be beautiful, but it was constant. Now viewers are no longer sure that Randall or Kate would even know how to get ahold of Kevin if an emergency came up. Maybe they are aware he's out in the wilderness with Uncle Nicky, but that doesn't seem like enough.

The most family interaction we've seen this season has put Kate and Rebecca together to discuss or babysit baby Jack, but not even those scenes have been much more than conversations at the door. It's early, it's only the beginning of November, there's still a lot of season, and thus a lot of story to come. But it was the family, the interaction of "The Big Three" that made "This Is Us" stand out from the crowd when it premiered back in 2016.

Will the siblings come together as always? It's certain, this show is always building to something (usually more tears). But can we all hope that it will be sooner rather than later? Certainly.

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