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S03.E04: Vietnam

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I thought I'd be more interested than I was. 

The only thing I could come out of the episode with is the thought about how 1st kid Jack looks nothing like Milo Ventimiglia. If not for the usually superb casting with the various ages of the Big Three, I might not be so nitpicky about it. 

Yeah, I guess I'll need to watch this episode again. Maybe I'll enjoy it more. 

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Jack and his heart.  Broke mine a little.  I didn't expect the switch-up at the end with his father not having gone down the road to a**holishness yet.  I guess there will be more of that to come, which I'm not sure I'm thrilled about.  Overall, though the Vietnam parts were a little predictable, they were affecting.  Jack is Jack is Jack no matter what age. 

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I found this to be a little slow. What was the decision young Jack made (referring to the description above)? Was that enlisting? I also wonder what happened to his Dad to make him start drinking and being abusive. Interesting that the heart issues were happening essentially his whole life.

Edited by Eureka
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That last bit of Nicky's birth broke me. It was sad to see that their dad wasn't such an asshole once upon a time. such a vicious cycle of alcoholic fathers and sons...

I KNEW that Jack had a history of heart problems. And the buildup of stress from Vietnam and the drinking etc probably didnt help either. So going back for Louie in the fire only hastened the inevitable.

I guess they're going to make us wait for the rest of the Vietnam story. I have a feeling it will be brutal.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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The way that lock of hair fell in Jack’s face in the opening scene on the helicopter gave me Peter Petrelli flashbacks. But not in a bad way. Just in a nostalgia-fueled “dang that man doesn’t age” and “aw, Milo’s still playing protective brothers” sort of way.

Tachycardia! OMG! So this is a contributing factor to the Crockpot of Death?

I love that Nicky has lighter hair. Kevin makes genetic sense! Oh, and Michael Angarano from Sky High. I knew that guy looked familiar. And he looks pretty good shirtless.

Their dad saying “make me proud, son” was a good moment. Not uncharacteristically nice, but also not a complete dick move, which is a nice change of pace. And he used to be decent back when he didn’t drink. The “what might’ve been” there could have been such a better life for him and his family, but it’s interesting to see how they’re showing that cycle of addiction across four generations.  

He’s a tough guy in disguise. That’s you, Nicky. You’re CK. It’s only a matter of time before people realize you’re Superman.

“The three of you deserve each other.” Yeah, they do.

Pearson granddad almost had the same birthday as the kid like Jack did with his. Nice to see them tie back into the originally claimed premise of people with the same birthdays and their connections at the hospital. Poor kid. Two minutes later and he would’ve missed the war.

3 minutes ago, Lady Calypso said:

The only thing I could come out of the episode with is the thought about how 1st kid Jack looks nothing like Milo Ventimiglia. If not for the usually superb casting with the various ages of the Big Three, I might not be so nitpicky about it. 

Seriously. Milo doesn't have that strange a look. They could fine someone to be a much better match for him. The older teen Jack from a first season episode wasn't a perfect match but he was at least in the ball park.

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5 minutes ago, callmebetty said:

But kid Nicky looked like Vietnam Nick and I can see Kevin in Nick as well.

So is this a two parter?

I was going to say that.  When Nicky turned around, I was thinking....KEVIN???  

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4 minutes ago, bettername2come said:

Oh, and Michael Angarano from Sky High.

He's also Jack's son on Will & Grace. Now I'm wondering if any other characters he's played have a relative named Jack.

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Yeah.. this was another meh for meh.  This episode like the last other ones did nothing for me.

The problem is.. all these episodes this season feel like filler episodes. And that’s a big problem. I had hoped that the show didn’t lose its interesting factor with the reveal of jacks death but it seems to be what’s done this show in. 

Jacks story is affecting of course, but we know how his story ends. 

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3 minutes ago, DearEvette said:

I admit, I found myself kinda drifting and my attention a little fractured.  One thing I saw that I found interesting was that the episode was co-written by Tim O'brien, an Vietnam vet and author who wrote several books about Vietnam including the only one I've read The Things They Carried

I thought of this story almost immediately but didn’t see his name. Wow. 

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The episode picked up once Nicky showed.  The first 20 minutes were pretty boring.  I'm wondering if Robinson (the man who got his leg blown off) is the same man Kevin spoke to last week, when he was searching for Jack's friends from Vietnam.

But the draft scene was well-filmed, because it was so disturbing to watch.  Went from a noisy bar to dead silence.  And you could see the bottom drop out from the Pearson boys when October 18 was called.  

Michael Angarano has come a long way since Will and Grace and did a good job introducing Nicky, who seems like a lost soul.  He's a guy who clearly looks up to his brother, but doesn't know how to make it on his own.  

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It was ok. The main thing I got was Jack needs to be a hero to everyone and that has not changed.

 

3 minutes ago, deaja said:

I said this once last season, but I think the show is at its weakest when it dwells on one character.

I hear you on that.  I feel that the standalone episodes for The Big 3 last year was meh at best.  The show works better when it's not focused on one person.

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4 minutes ago, Amethyst said:

The episode picked up once Nicky showed.  The first 20 minutes were pretty boring.  I'm wondering if Robinson (the man who got his leg blown off) is the same man Kevin spoke to last week, when he was searching for Jack's friends from Vietnam.

It is the same man. The camera showed him with a prosthetic foot/leg.

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2 minutes ago, Veronica said:

Would your draft number be called? Type in the month & day you were born to see if you would have been drafted. 

2 minutes. 2 damn minutes. 

Damn. If I had been born a day later, my number would have been called. (Well, except for the fact that I wasn't born until 1975, and I'm a girl.)

(Interestingly enough, my birthday was the cutoff for starting school, so if I had been born a day later, I would have started kindergarten a year later. Funny the difference a day can make. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if my birthday was the 2nd instead of the 1st.) 

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10 minutes ago, Veronica said:

Would your draft number be called? Type in the month & day you were born to see if you would have been drafted. 

Damn, this is what I got. YOUR DRAFT NUMBER 180 WAS CALLED IN 1970. If your birthday was just 1 day earlier, your draft number would not have been called.

The episode was well done but I agree that I find the episodes which feature the whole cast more enjoyable.

Edited by Armchair Critic
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I could have sworn that the Nick Pearson placard in the crib said the time of birth was 10:24 which I thought was weird.

I was obsessed with all things Vietnam in tenth grade (1988) and have watched so many true and made up shows but I found myself drifting off too.

Part of it is that I absolutely hated the conceit of each new tableau being an earlier time than the one before.

It’s ok to be linear once in awhile FFS.

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They called my birthday on the show but I am a woman and didn't turn 18 until after the war...and I totally would have gone to Canada.  The episode was interesting but it just set up things for what is probably going to ba a long drawn out story about what happened to Nick.

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38 minutes ago, PRgal said:

I was going to say that.  When Nicky turned around, I was thinking....KEVIN???  

Yeah, that was uncanny. I wonder if Kevin looking like his brother affected how Jack saw Kevin at all?

Not a bad episode or anything, and I've wanted them to explore Jacks wartime experiences and backstory with his brother before the war, but none of this is stuff we dont already know. Jack has always been a super protective everybody's hero type, and always put others first. The biggest shock to me was that his dad used to be a stand up guy, which actually does make it even sadder to think of the abusive, drunken asshole that he would grow up to be. No wonder Jack tried so hard to be Super Dad, he must have, on some level, wondered if the same thing could happen to him. 

I always prefer episodes with multiple characters, so I am excited to see what the rest of the Pearson's are up to as soon as possible.

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The draft ended before guys my age would’ve been in the lottery, but I remember watching it on TV and seeing the list in the paper the next day. I had friends who had brothers in the pool. When I was a freshman, one of my friends brother got #2. I remember she cried the next day telling me about it, she was so scared for him.  I once asked my dad what he would’ve done had we been boys and the war had continued. ‘You kids would all be speaking French because we’d be in Canada’ said the former Marine sergeant, drafted during Korea.  I thought about that when Jack and Nick went ‘hunting’.

However, maybe because I do remember back then and have seen so many films, documentaries and read  so many books; I had a hard time getting invested; especially since we were subjected to more of the myth of St Jack and I still don’t see why everyone thinks Jack is so incredible.

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The musical cues held my interest more than anything else. It dragged a little...and I learned a few things but it's not an hour I think I need to rewatch.

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Uggh, I knew a Vietnam episode was coming and I dreaded it. I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, so there is that. 

To be honest, one of my biggest fears for the Vietnam episode was that it would show Jack being a hero, and cut to Rebecca singing at an anti-war protest, and kaboom, Rebecca would suck more for not supporting mythical Jack back then. 

So, I’ve liked the show, hated the show, liked it, hated it, enjoyed it. However, I think these show runners have no business telling a Vietnam story because they haven’t shown me the gravitas to pull off  something so, so devastatingly real. They can do drama, but war is more than drama. 

So, anyway...see you all next week!!:)

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As soon as Jack's soldier buddy said someday he'd replace Roberto Clemente, I knew it was not going to end well.  And I truly hated the showrunners for that.  Sometimes I don't mind the cheap grabs for my emotions.  This one?  No.  

Because I was a little kid, and a Royals fan, but I had his baseball card, and I wept when he died.

 

On a weirder note: Jack's mom looks like Mary Chapin Carpenter.

 

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1 hour ago, mojoween said:

It’s ok to be linear once in awhile FFS.

I'd be willing to Sharpie this on a posterboard & wave it outside the writers' room.

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Ha! Showrunners gave a middle finger to the people that rag on the show's time jumps. Nicely done.

So anyone else think all of Jack's children are a lot like his brother? 

Now I get why my Dad and his friends aren't big on birthdays. I mean I knew about the draft and how it was done but I never connected the two things.

I was completely enthralled. This was really well done! I'm looking forward to understanding Jack's backstory beyond his father being an alcoholic.

Edited by Drumpf1737
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Outside of the lottery scene (I'm about 30 years too young and gay, but my number would've been called in 1970), this was boring, and the whole thing was superfluous.  Moreover, I agree that this show doesn't have the dramatic depth to portray scenes in Vietnam with the verisimilitude they deserve.

4 hours ago, CleoCaesar said:

literally anything about Kate that isn’t about her weight or her mommy issues.

But there...isn't anything to Kate other than her weight or mommy issues.

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My dad always said he had a high draft number but if the link above was for the 69 draft he'd have been #25 and called.   But he was going to college and had a heart issue.  He wasn't going to Vietnam but I'm surprised about his number. 

I didn't love most of this episode but I did like getting to know Nicky a little.   And the draft number scene was really good.

Edited by bybrandy
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My main complaint is that that the big battle scene at the beginning of the episode was so fucking dark that I could barely see what was happening. There was no need for any acting or facial expressions since I couldn't see them.

Coincidentally, I just saw the national tour of Miss Saigon last week and one of the complaints about the show is that it doesn't go in-depth into the experience of the Vietnam War. I think that a show like This Is Us is more concerned with showing us Jack's perspective and personal experience rather than the larger impact it had historically and culturally, which is still a valid depiction because it shows how one person was affected. Much of what Jack experienced was not unique to him so in showing a sliver of his story, we see what many other people also went through.

4 hours ago, ams1001 said:

(Interestingly enough, my birthday was the cutoff for starting school, so if I had been born a day later, I would have started kindergarten a year later. Funny the difference a day can make. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if my birthday was the 2nd instead of the 1st.) 

My nephew's birthday is four days after the school cut off so he is essentially a year older than all of his classmates. I, on the other hand, was a year younger than all of my classmates so when I discussed it with my nephew's parents, I told them that in many ways it's easier to be older because when you're the only one in your class or group of friends who can't drive in high school or go to bars in college, it sucks to be left behind. My birthday was nowhere near the cut off date, so for me it was never a matter of a few days making a difference, but watching the draft scene made it obvious how one day (and a day you had no choice in) decided so many people's fates. It also made me understand how people of that era would not be as excited about celebrating birthdays as I am (I have been known to have birthday activities for a whole month).

Nicky was born in 1948 and his mother was shown in labor, but weren't they still doing twilight births back then (where they basically drugged the mothers and then when they woke up, they were presented with their babies)? I thought that was pretty common up through the 1960s.

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