Warning: Spoilers ahead for season three episode two of NBC’s “This Is Us.”
If you’re a frequent viewer of NBC’s “This Is Us,” you’re no rookie to the emotional roller coaster that comes with every episode. The show travels through multiple time periods that slowly reveal the answers to our most pressing questions. (Who could forget the torturous feeling of not knowing how Jack died for what felt like eternity.)
But as a loyal fan of the tear-jerking show, I’ve found that the idea of home and family are entirely interwoven—especially in Tuesday’s episode, “A Philadelphia Story.”
During it, there’s a flashback with Rebecca and Jack checking out an open house, a month before their current home burns down and Jack goes into cardiac arrest. But it’s the conversation that occurs between the couple that strikes an emotional cord with the importance of how we feel about home—and, more importantly, who we share that home with.
Rebecca is quick to dismiss the home that her and Jack are seeing to potentially invest in, saying “Okay, we saw it. Can we go?” before even completing the full tour. She continues to express why she is against the idea of a new home, saying “I love our house, Jack. Even if it’s old and too small and doesn’t get enough light and there isn’t any room to grow basil. It’s our house.”
And Jack doesn’t put up too much of a fight, agreeing moments later that they could stay in their current home forever. While it’s not spoken between the two, there is a sense that they are comfortable where they currently reside, and therefore have no need to bring change into the equation.
However, Rebecca will soon feel an eternal sense guilt for not giving the new house more thought. Just one month later, Jack dies as a result of the fire, and Rebecca is left wondering what their lives would have been like if she agreed to a new living situation. Maybe Jack would be alive.
It becomes extremely apparent that Rebecca’s idea of “home” has shifted in the blink of an eye. It’s not the physical space that makes that word come to life, but the people who reside there alongside with you.
Rebecca relives this interaction with Jack while she’s explaining to young Randall why she hasn’t been herself lately, which takes place about a year after Jack’s death. “Did you know that your father took me to look at a new house a few months before the fire?,” she asks Randall. “Sometimes, I think about where we would all be right now if we bought it.”
We’re all human and can easily become attached to living spaces where we’ve spent a significant amount of time and have created priceless memories. However, Rebecca’s quick change in thinking makes it apparent: It is the people who make a home, not the other way around. And we shouldn’t be afraid because of a physical change, as long as the emotional aspects still remain the same.
The relationship between home and family is an overarching theme explored throughout “This Is Us”, with more sure to surface next week. Until then, stock up on your tissue boxes.