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This is Us - (S01E04)


Rebecca and Jack take Kevin, Kate, and Randall to the community pool on a hot day and quickly realize each child is going through their own struggles. Kevin auditions for his first Broadway play in New York and meets a determined actress who is less than impressed by him. Toby runs into his ex-wife while at a restaurant with Kate, which sends Kate into a spiral of self-doubt. William is mistakenly reported as a loiterer in Randall's predominately white neighborhood, which exposes deep-rooted issues of race.

Episode Title: The Pool
Airs: 2016-10-18 at 21:00
  • Vicki Hyman

    This Is Us (from "Crazy, Stupid, Love" screenwriter Dan Fogelman) methodically weaves four seemingly disparate stories into a believable and emotional whole through tiny telling details, relatable moments, and conversations and confrontations that are funny, tender or painful, or all three at once.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    A 21st century thirtysomething for a TV generation that likes a splash of high concept in their shows and isn’t afraid of melodrama.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Gwen Ihnat

    The hour accomplishes what it set out to do. It creates characters so compelling that we compulsively want to tune back in to see them again.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Dave Nemetz

    With emotionally resonant dialogue and top-notch performances, This Is Us should fill that Braverman-sized hole in your heart.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    The pilot is beautifully shaped, the themes of building your own meaning in life are smart, and the actors already seem to know their characters.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    This Is Us is what TV people refer to (usually more in delusional wishfulness than real belief) as "relatable," meaning that you'll recognize the characters and their quandaries and triumphs from your own life. Full Review
  • Amber Dowling

    It’s a unique blend with four very distinct but compelling stories, proving there’s plenty of drama to be mined from real life. It doesn’t hurt that each of the actors is perfectly cast in his or her role, driving home the beautifully written scenes that often pose pertinent and universally relatable questions.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    These characters feel real. Relatable. Sympathetic. Their stories are compelling. They interact in unexpected ways. And the Big Plot Twist in This Is Us feels right. And sets up what could be an outstanding series.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Anyone still missing "Parenthood," or "Brothers and Sisters" before that, should grab the tissues and settle in for tonight's This Is Us.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    This looks like a drama with a heart, a pulse and also the ability to skip a beat.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Wile I’d like to see another few episodes to make sure, there’s something comfortably gooey right away about This Is Us, reminding us once more that amid all the high-functioning detectives, emergency-rescue personnel and secret-agent superheroes covered in cryptic tattoos, there are very few network dramas aimed at viewers who are simply interested in everyday people and how they feel.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    There's so much, and so many, to love in This IS Us, which even at its corniest somehow becomes four-hanky popcorn TV. [10-23 Oct 2016, p.18]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Fogelman's charmingly intricate pilot benefits from strong performances.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    All the acting is equally good, something you can’t say about most ensemble-cast shows. Basically, This Is Us is a well-designed emotion machine that, by the end (for the record, I freely admit I didn’t see the end-twist coming--you might, because you’re smarter than me), had me eager to see how this is all going to shake down in Episode 2.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Kevin Fallon

    It’s a lot of exposition, sure, but it goes by breezily. The scenes are all incredibly short, packing emotional jabs in rapid sequence all of which, after an hour of using your heart as a punching bag, leaves its intended bruise.

    The Daily Beast Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Created and written by Dan Fogelman, This is Us manages the tricky task of telling emotional stories without getting too saccharine. And in each story, the characters are quite relatable.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Megan Garber

    This Is Us has settled on an effective solution: It has made characters who are flawed and surprising, and therefore relatably human.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Jen Chaney

    It’s unclear right now whether Fogelman’s effort will fully match Parenthood in terms of quality. But for viewers looking to TV for comforting fare that doesn’t sacrifice intelligence--in other words, for a show whose cast and creators don’t appear to be settling--This is Us might be just what the kindhearted baby doctor ordered.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    It’s a lovely and lyrical premiere, studded with everyday detail, from the realities of soccer parents to the long-term effects of the Challenger disaster. If creator Dan Fogelman (“Crazy Stupid Love”) seems addicted to turning-point sentiment, the performances and the pacing keep each story from getting stuck in the stickiness.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    The first hour works its way efficiently through an economy-size box of tissues with cleverly turned dialogue and well-inhabited performances.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The performances are nicely detailed and fully credible, contributing to the level of credibility necessary to keep the conceit of the show from seeming gimmicky.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    There's a great deal of humor and heart on display here, and a sense of empathy that draws you into all of the characters. You also get a wide range of fine performances, from Metz’s humor-tinged refusal to give in to self-pity to Brown’s expertly played conflict over how to deal with his father.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Saccharine by jaded prime-time standards, this show still just might be the kind of sentiment lots of viewers crave at the moment.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Michael Starr

    This Is Us has an appealing cast, solid writing and pathos aplenty.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    As far as pilots go, it’s not instantly engaging or worthy of praise higher than the somewhat tampered one I’m giving it now, but it is uniquely clever with much more going on under its surface than first glances allow.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    It’s off to a good start.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    Fogelman's pilot introduces the pieces necessary to become a show that will make viewers laugh and cry and also relish the performances from Brown, Ventimiglia, Moore, Hartley, Metz and the rest, but it will need to settle into its identity.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    This Is Us brims with some mighty acting. ... Creator Dan Fogelman’s script, however, takes the sting out of some major moments with some minor humor. There’s a huge twist in the final moments tonight that might have you rethinking everything you’ve watched, or might have you feeling like you’ve been played.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    Once you start looking at the individual characters’ storylines--Jack and Rebecca are going to be parents, Kate struggles with her weight, Kevin wants his acting career to have meaning, Randall tracks down his biological father-- they feel less like actual stories than like placeholders, characters to be filled in later. It’s hard to hold too much of this against the show when the characters are played by great actors, and when the pilot has a script as emotionally adroit [as] the one crafted by Dan Fogelman. Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    Though a final reveal in the pilot feels a little gimmicky, it’s also a signal that the real drama (and tears) can start to flow. If you were a Parenthood fan, this series appears to be in a similar vein. Mark it one down as the most likely candidate for the guilty (or perhaps not so guilty) obsession of the fall season.

    Collider Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    "It all works out" seems to be the main takeaway from the pilot, but where things specifically go from here is one whopping question mark. Perhaps if this was an episodic anthology series with new characters flooding in every week and new arcs every season, This Is Us could repeat the mysterious highs of its subjectively mediocre pilot (depending on how you like that ending).

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Daniel D'Addario

    The show has promise, but its cynicism in terms of trying to evoke an emotional response is both what viewers will be tuning in for and its least accomplished aspect. If it could work to wring out a real response, not just an easy one, this might be a show worth watching each week.

    Time Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    The show is almost good, or at least exactly the sort of emotional drama networks should be trying to make these days. But it is so sure it is special, so convinced it has something to say that it sullies its basic achievements with self-satisfaction.

    Slate Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    It’s deceptively difficult to build a surprising and complete story in just 40 minutes with so many characters. Yet This Is Us manages to both craft an intimate series of portraits and stitch them together. ... But at the same time, waves of cloying sentiment threaten to submerge everything.

    Variety Full Review