Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's Kevin’s turn for an emotional road trip on This Is Us

Justin Hartley
Justin Hartley
Photo: NBC

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, February 9. All times are Eastern.

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Top pick

This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.): It’s a bit of a Big Three tradition, the emotional road trip. Sometimes they take them solo, sometimes with each other. Even the elder Pearsons have done the feelings-on-the-open-road bit. Last week, Randall got one. Here’s Caroline Siede, our trusty This Is Us recapper, on the marvelous ending of “Birth Mother”:

“Birth Mother” ends with one of the most beautifully original sequences in This Is Us history. Having finally learned the full story of his biological mother, Laurel, Randall wades into the lake that served as her place of baptism and renewal during her long and complicated life. There he sees a vision of his birth mom that helps him finally let go of the pain he’s been carrying since he was a child. “I didn’t even know I was looking for you,” Randall explains, heartbroken and yet in many ways more at peace than we’ve ever seen him. Then Laurel finally gets the chance to tell her son that she loves him—first in her old age and then as the young woman who gave birth to him.

Well, this week, Justin Hartley’s Kevin gets one of his own road trips, and coincidentally, it seems likely to also involve birth and mothers. Watch for Caroline’s recap.

Regular coverage

Big Sky (ABC, 10 p.m.)

Wild card

Queen Sugar (OWN, 8 p.m., fifth-season premiere): Ava DuVernay’s stalwart, often moving series returns for a fifth season with the security of a sixth tucked in its back pocket.

While there are many, many shows that we suspect aren’t up to covering the pandemic (including a few that are actually covering it), Queen Sugar certainly is. Take it away, press release!:

During the production stop-down in 2020 due to COVID-19, DuVernay decided to completely revamp the season five storyline to address the very real issues our country was facing through the lens of the beloved Bordelon family and the fictional community of St. Josephine. DuVernay reconceived the character arcs and storylines, writing alongside returning showrunner Anthony Sparks and supervising producer Norman Vance to tackle head-on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protest movement that swept the country, and corruption in politics to showcase the specific impact and ramifications these issues have on communities and people of color. Through it all, viewers will see the joy around the pain, and humanity’s ability to persevere and find light in the darkest of times.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of encountering the Bordelons before now, there’s no time like the present.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!