'This Is Us' Season 4 Episode 14 Review: 'The Cabin' has a message from the past and a glimpse into the future

'The Cabin' connects the past, present and future in a beautiful, poignant way


                            'This Is Us' Season 4 Episode 14 Review: 'The Cabin' has a message from the past and a glimpse into the future
(NBC)

Spoiler Alert for 'This Is Us' Season 4 Episode 14 — 'The Cabin'

If only one could reverse it, turn the past into the future and catch it on the wing… As humans, we love to romanticize about the past and go back in time. This week's episode of 'This Is Us' does just that in a beautiful, poignant way that will tug at your heartstrings. 

The tale begins as the Sad Three — Randall Pearson (Sterling K Brown), Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) and Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) — make their way to the family cabin. Putting lost pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, the episode cements the siblings' bond.

It dives into Kate’s traumatic relationship with Mark (Austin Abrams) and addresses Randall’s lifetime of anxiety. Kevin, meanwhile, struggles with his feelings for Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) and that one night with Madison (Caitlin Thompson). There is a big discussion about Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) deteriorating memory — and yes, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) still holds everyone together.

Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Lonnie Chavis as Randall, Parker Bates as Kevin (NBC)

The Time Capsule

In a heartwarming flashback, young Kate, Randall and Kevin sit on a log as their father introduces them to a box. "This is the time capsule," Jack tells the three kids as they gasp in admiration. The three ponder for a long time what to put inside. Kevin quickly pins down on a photo of him and Sophie but Randall struggles to choose something that will “withstand the test of time.” 
 
Meanwhile, Rebecca catches Jack sketching a house he wants to build atop the hill. He has chalked out a plan for him, Rebecca, the kids and his future grandkids. He is doubtful if it will ever come true, but Rebecca is sure the house will be there. And that loving moment shows how the two support each other in all their dreams. In the present day, the Big Three are at the cabin for their Sad Three retreat when they decide to dig up the time capsule.

Mandy Moore as Rebecca and Milo Ventimiglia as Jack (NBC)

As they come across the box, Kevin's picture falls out, so does Kate’s M-A-S-H game where she planned to marry actor Joey Lawrence and live in a mansion with two kids. Randall, meanwhile, chooses Jack's eye from the puzzle owing to his indecision. The objects reflect their lives even in the present day and help them address the crippling anxiety, lack of commitment and relationship woes.

After they shed their baggage, two more things fall out — Jack’s dream house drawing and a tape recording. “By the time you guys hear this, you’re gonna be teenagers and probably harder on us than you already are," Jack says in the recording, adding, "so, let me just remind you that your mom is the kind of woman who buries a crappy doodle because when it comes to people that she loves, she does not mess around.” And just like that, 'This Is Us' does what it does best. Makes you grab another box of tissues. 

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack (NBC)

Kate's Traumatic Past

The episode also joins the dots to where it left Kate and Mark last time. The two make up and finally reach the cabin. Mark apologizes again for their fight and the two have an affectionate exchange. Meanwhile, Rebecca gets Randall and Kevin to drive down to the cabin but they are delayed due to a storm. Back at the cabin, Kate makes coffee and asks Mark to collect the mugs.

An old mug sparks memories of Kate's father in her and she asks Mark to pick another one. Without understanding her sentiments, Mark plays with it and even deliberately breaks it. When he calls it an "accident," Kate taunts him for being an "unemployed" store cashier. That's when things go awry and in return, Mark locks Kate out of the cabin — that too, in the freezing cold weather.

Later, when the family reaches the cabin, they see everything's fine between Kate and Mark. But Randall notices a broken window and figures what happened. "It was freezing outside. How long were you out there?" Randall asks. Infuriated by the fiasco, Rebecca orders Mark to disappear right away. "Get the hell out of my house. Today is the last day you are going to see my daughter," she gives him a stern warning. And that scene brings back the side of Rebecca we love to see — the one who can go to any length to protect her close ones.

Justin Hartley as Kevin, Chrissy Metz as Kate and Sterling K Brown as Randall (NBC)

Secrets and Emotional Baggage

In the present time, many secrets resurface. Kevin's secret comes out in the open when Madison calls Kate. Ridden with guilt, she confesses it over a bunch of voice messages. Kev, meanwhile, tries to play it cool. "Give me some credit for not sleeping with Sophie," he says. Ha! Sure, Kev. Meanwhile, addressing his anxiety, Randall slips out how he was in LA for a day. That's when Kevin's alarm blows off.

He asks Randall why he was in LA. Initially, Randall tries to cover it up but finally, both, Randall and Kate, tell Kevin about Rebecca's deteriorating memory. Obviously, Kevin gets angry. He storms out of the room, saying, "Just give me a minute." However, the three cool down and confide in each other their worst nightmares later.

Toby's struggles with baby Jack are also strewn through the episode after Jack chokes on food. When Toby takes the little one for a check-up, the doctor tells him how his son is lucky to have a father like him.

Justin Hartley as Kevin (NBC)

Fast Forward to the Future

In the future, Kevin gets out of his car to get into the same house Jack had sketched out. Beth welcomes him and tells him everyone is in with his mother. 

An old photo, a game of M.A.S.H, a missing puzzle piece, a sketch of the future and a recording from the past — if that was not enough for you to choke up — the scene where Kevin enters the house will make you scream out loud: "He built the house!"

But like always, 'This Is Us' leaves with another trunk of questions. Will Kevin and Randall's issues be sorted in the future? What really went wrong? Again, it hits right at the core of the heart with a melting pot of emotions. Only time will tell what the future holds for the Pearson family.

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