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This Is Us Reveals Zoe’s Heartbreaking Trauma

We may be just about a centimeter closer to learning more about the backstory Jack kept so close to the chest, but asThis is Usdelves deeper into his history, it also peels back the layers of another elusive character who’s been trying to navigate her own trauma: Zoe.

Here’s what we learned in this week’s episode, "Sometimes."

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The chain necklace Jack’s mystery womanwears in Vietnam may not be significant at all.

Though Kevin assumed this necklace had some significance to Jack and his mystery woman, it seems like it's just a dime a dozen in Vietnam. At one point, we see the woman take one off the neck of a fallen soldier. At another, a soldier thinks he’s going to charm his sweetheart with the piece of jewelry, only to find another man with his arms around her. And later in the episode, Kevin stumbles onto a whole stand of necklaces just like it at a market.

Though we don't know what the necklace means to Jack, or why he felt it was important to pass on to Kevin, we do finally see the moment Jack and this woman encounter each other for the first time. It's toward the end of the episode—she and Jack lock eyes before she runs off. I guess we’ll have to find out what’s going on there during another episode.

Nicky is done being saved by Superman Jack—and may be on his own self-sabotage mission.

We knew from the moment they first introduced Nicky, sporting army shorts and a shaved head, that the sight of Jack all the way in Vietnam irritated him. Now that he finally speaks at this moment in this episode, we know for sure he's not interested in Jack showing up to save the day. In fact, Nicky might actually be too far gone to save anyway. At least, that’s what his commanding officer, who’s charged him with unruly conduct, implies to Jack. That doesn’t stop Jack from trying, though. Yet once Jack is finally awarded two weeks with his brother, Nicky is disgusted by the sight of him, and tells him he should have left him to rot.

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I have a feeling that it's during this time they’re together that Nicky dies, something we know haunts Jack forever. There’s also a bit of foreshadowing that supports this theory, when Nicky’s commanding officer tells Jack they don't station brothers together because there's a higher likelihood they'll be killed together. Since Nicky died while Jack survived, it's possible Nicky had to be Jack's hero this time.

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There’s another death from the war that Jack tries to bury in his mind.

I’m beginning to think there's a whole closet of war horrors that Jack has tried to forget, ones that extend far beyond his brother and whatever's up with this mystery woman. We learn in this episode that a soldier named Roger stepped on a mine and died under Jack's watch while the squad enjoyed a rare football break. Jack is so affected by this, he deicides to visit Roger’s parents to apologize while he and Rebecca are in Los Angeles for her audition. He tells them what happened to their son and can barely get the words out as he relives that horrifying moment. Roger’s parents just wrap their arms around Jack and assure him he's not at fault.

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I feel like there's a connection to be made between football and trauma when it comes to Jack’s affinity for the sport and Kevin’s relationship with it, as it becomes the very thing that brings him down. Football has a major presence on the show, sometimes in surprising ways.

Rebecca goes all the way to LA to find out her singing is just “Pittsburgh good.”

I can't help but think of Kate’s own deferred dreams when Rebecca finally makes it to her audition in Los Angeles. After begging for helpful feedback, she’s told she’s just “Pittsburgh good.” It’s a visible blow to Rebecca’s ego, which she tries to hide when she meets back up with Jack, but it changes her whole perspective about her dreams. Before, she’s not even sure whether she’ll return to Pittsburgh, but after her audition, she's ready to return home, bemoaning LA's perfect 73-degree temperatures and longing for the Pittsburgh rain.


Rebecca endured Jack’s nightmares and silence about his past for years.

Though often presented as a storybook romance, Rebecca and Jack's relationship was not perfect. She didn’t push him to recount the trauma from his childhood and his time in Vietnam, even when she witnesses his nightmares. He begs her to stop pressing, but later, in the car after her audition, she sings for him and he turns his face away to cry. He’s obviously in touch with his emotions in some way, but struggles to convey this deep pain in front of the people he loves.

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Zoe's also keeping her trauma hidden.

Remember when Beth was worried about Zoe and Kevin hooking up, not becausehewas problematic, but becauseshewas dealing with issues? Well as it turns out, Zoe and Kevin’s trip to Vietnam to learn more about his father proves traumatic for her in terms of her own dad, who lives in China. Kevin is falling in love with Zoe and is genuinely trying to connect with her, but she's as emotionally unavailable as ever. On this quest to become closer to his dad—and inevitably Zoe—Kevin opens up about his childhood and assumes Zoe will chime in about some aspect of her family life, but she refuses, to his frustration. In fact, she deflects when he pointedly asks her about it. She’s driven herself literally sick from dodging Kevin’s questions and pushing away her past. She later reveals that her father sexually abused her when she was a child and tried on several occasions to make amends—all of which she’s ignored.

One of the most interesting things about this moment is Kevin’s reaction. It’s another moment, similar to when Zoe tells him about the racist lady at the convenience store, that leaves Kevin shocked and full with sympathy. He tells Zoe he had no idea because he always thought of her as a strong woman. She responds right on cue, “I am strong.” I love that response because it shows the natural strength of a woman, particularly a black woman, who’s had to overcome something so heinous—but refuses to give up her own strength.






Video: Justin Hartley Reads The Saddest Tweets About "This Is Us"

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Date: 15.12.2018, 05:47 / Views: 61272