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S03.E13: Our Little Island Girl

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I too wiped away tears...Beth's mother finally apologized to her for taking away her dreams.  And Beth looked so happy & free when she was dancing alone at the studio.  She finally can join together her passion & her need for a job.  Although, I would not think she would make as much money as she did before in her professional job, and wonder how she & Randall are going to afford their big house & life style. 

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But she didn't have to make Beth stop dancing. She could've danced non-competitively. That didn't even seem like an option with Beth's mom.

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I love Beth and I loved this episode. Finally, some backstory/history on her.

Beth's and Abe's relationship was so beautiful to watch. I am a sucker for father/daughter stuff. They were so close and it is awful that he didn't get to see her and his kids grow up, and become a grandpa. I can picture him doting on and spoiling Tess, Annie, and Deja.

Hi, Goran Visnjic (Luka on ER)! Has he lost some of his accent, or was he toning it down for this role? So great to see him.

Beth and Zoe finding the weed and getting high together, great. 

Her getting some closure from her mom, wonderful.

Literally bumping into Randall, that was cute. So, Randall didn't go to Howard. I saw that the mixer was at Carnegie Mellon.

Phylicia Rashad is a queen.

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24 minutes ago, PepSinger said:

I have never felt more for Beth than when she saw Goran Visnjic bring in the black dancer to demonstrate to the class. I knew *exactly* how she felt in that moment. It is something that goes back to this poisonous, but often true, belief that "there can only be one", that there's not enough room for more than one black person in a certain feel. It's hard to explain, and perhaps I'm not doing it justice, but my heart sank when I saw how Beth looked at that girl.

Also, the way Susan Kelechi Watson said "thank you" after her mom apologized for taking dance away brought tears to my eyes. All she wanted was her mom to acknowledge her hurt feelings, and she finally got it 20 years later. SKW was outstanding this entire episode.

I totally get your point with that scene.  I think the writers could have done more to shine a light on the rampant racism found in ballet.  This would also show how good of a dancer Beth was.  That other girl was better than Beth, but even she has no chance of becoming a principle dancer at an elite company.  

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Both daddy's girls; both artists, returning to that calling later in life.  I'd like to see Beth & Kate have this convo, now that we know Beth's backstory.

Obviously there is controversy surrounding Beth's mom, pushing her in another direction (a direction, btw, that she loved & where she thrived).  I thought instantly of Amy March's epiphany in Little Women: "Talent isn't genius."   Who knows but if Beth had been in a different place with a different mentor, the "genius" might have blossomed.  But she wasn't and it didn't.

This ep was a counterweight to those of us (waves hand) who, in Season 1, said: Yikes she's gorgeous and brilliant and PERFECT!  (I suggested making her a Patriots fan to leaven the mix)...because now we see -- no surprise -- that her glossy surface was dearly bought.

Yay Zoe for having the right hiding place for what I'm going to assume was some prime 80s Jamaican weed.

And I **want the painting/print in the dining room...I'm guessing it might be called "Three Dapper Men on a Bench".  Fabulous.

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1 hour ago, slasherboy said:

Well, that's an hour I'll never get back.  Boring!

Yeah. I was pretty bored by this but I feel like it might be just us who were bored by this? Reading the other posts here it seems like almost everyone else liked it. And I like Beth.. enough. But this didn’t do anything for me? 

1 hour ago, bybrandy said:

"Do you ever wonder why my brother and sisters never come around?"  

Because we don't want to pay more actors for this episode?  Because that was my thought.

This made me laugh. 

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1 hour ago, PepSinger said:

But she didn't have to make Beth stop dancing. She could've danced non-competitively. That didn't even seem like an option with Beth's mom.

She didn’t make her stop dancing.  She quit paying for the school and wanted her to find another career path.  I didn’t see anything where she told her to quit.  She was certainly proud since there were still pictures of her dancing on the wall.  She just wanted her daughter to have a secure future and dancing clearly wasn’t going to provide.

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I really loved this episode. Beth had her own "Jack Pearson". Carl Lumbly is a gem. Phylicia Rashad is wonderful. Excellent casting all around, especially spot-on with young Beth. Of course Randall would be enamored by Beth at first sight. 

Edited by funnygirl
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1 hour ago, bybrandy said:

"Do you ever wonder why my brother and sisters never come around?"  

Because we don't want to pay more actors for this episode?  Because that was my thought.

I thought the same thing...lol. Or they have plans on telling Beth and her siblings stories in the future, but weren’t ready to cast the roles yet.   

Beth is an under rated character to me, so I was very happy for a Beth centric stand alone episode.   It almost felt like a short film.  

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On 2/19/2019 at 7:03 PM, CleoCaesar said:

I've always liked Beth and I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. It was a refreshing change from the exhausting, selfish, drama queen Pearsons. Phylicia Rashad has real gravitas and is a pleasure to watch. Beth's dad was a sweetheart. Really good casting for young Beth too. Even Adult Zoe was likeable.

All of that being said, I'm not sure the writers’ strategy of “Pick a family member somehow connected to the Big 3 and flesh out their story” is a viable long-term strategy for writing a show. William. Nicky. Rebecca’s parents. Toby’s mother. Beth’s parents. Others I’m forgetting.

It adds to the feeling that the writers are treading water this season.

I think the writers are treading water because they keep trying to give the audience what they say they want. At the end of Seasons 1 and 2 there were complaints of Jack being too saintly and there not being enough backstory on the extended Pearson family. The lesson for writers is only give people half of what they ask for.

Edited by Drumpf1737
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1 hour ago, ShortyMac said:

Literally bumping into Randall, that was cute. So, Randall didn't go to Howard. I saw that the mixer was at Carnegie Mellon.

In one of the flashbacks in the aftermath of Jack's death, we saw him call the Howard  admissions office and ask to defer because he saw how much Rebecca was struggling and didn't want to leave her. CMU must have been a compromise - I'm sure Rebecca got mad when she found out and insisted that he has to go to college, so he picked CMU in order to stay in Pittsburgh.

1 hour ago, tennisgurl said:

Interesting that Beth kind of had a Jack as well. The nurturing kind parent that died tragically young, leaving his daughter feeling guilty about indirectly causing his death.

I wonder whether that's one of the reasons Beth clearly doesn't like Kate. Kate broadcasts her sob story to everyone she meets and expects to be pitied, but never stops to consider that maybe other people have experienced a traumatic loss of a beloved parent as well.

I really liked this episode, it was a nice break from all the navel gazing. The most heartfelt scene for me was when Beth's mother was talking about her early relationship with her late husband. She must experienced immense grief when he died, but kept herself together because that's what she felt she had to do. Just because someone is private in their grief doesn't mean they are feeling less pain.

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8 minutes ago, dcubed said:

Good episode that explored a different family dynamic.  I have to say, I don’t think the mom did anything by telling Beth she didn’t have “it” to make a career out of dancing.

It wasn't just that - she also told Beth she wasn't going to pay for the dance classes anymore. The message was clearly "I'm not supporting you in wasting your time on this anymore." She handed her the book of colleges and told her they needed to come up with a new plan for Beth's future. I think it's a pretty strong reaction to shut down a child's dream immediately after she loses out on one solo.

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12 minutes ago, dcubed said:

Good episode that explored a different family dynamic.  I have to say, I don’t think the mom did anything by telling Beth she didn’t have “it” to make a career out of dancing.  I played an instrument, was considered talented and was accepted at a university with an outstanding music program.  When I got there, I came to realize with the help of my teacher, that I had a snowball’s chance in hell of playing professionally.  I changed majors and continued to play, for fun, in a community orchestra.  I found another career and was happy and accomplished.  

It's an ongoing story, done compellingly in the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line". Talented young people in the performing arts - music, stage, ballet - someday have to learn that there are only a few places in the world for them to make it professionally. To make it in ballet one has to start young and it can cost money and as one matures physically she or he may just not have the talent or perhaps not have the body type to succeed, regardless of how much talent she or he may have shown earlier. I liked Phylicia Rashad, not sure about the episode as a whole, but I thought the story of a performing artist having to let go of her childhood dreams was well done.

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Beth is my absolute favorite character so I wanted to love this episode. But it was just okay to me. As with many things this season, I feel they overly telegraph what is going to happen. 

I also feel Beth’s dad dying while she was a teenager doesn’t make sense with her still having some of the pot he smoked to share with William 20 years later?

But wow, did they knock the guest casting out of the park! 

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I've always liked Beth and I was very happy to finally get an episode about her and find out more about her backstory. I wish the show didn't feel the need to save these things for Very Special Episodes, as said, and instead took the time to give these characters focus in regular episodes every now and then instead of just having them there to support the Pearson family, but I'll take it.

My childhood love and admiration for Phylicia Rashad has been ruined due to Reasons, but I couldn't help but kind of forget about that while watching. And Carl Lansbury was as endearing here as he was on Supergirl last season. I was half expecting Beth's old teacher to come out at the dance studio, even though I don't even think it's the same one.

The actress playing Teen Beth was perfect, both casting wise and talent wise. It's a shame we won't see her much, but hopefully she'll get to pop back up for college flashbacks.

Edited by colorbars
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2 hours ago, dcubed said:

She didn’t make her stop dancing.  She quit paying for the school and wanted her to find another career path.  I didn’t see anything where she told her to quit.  She was certainly proud since there were still pictures of her dancing on the wall.  She just wanted her daughter to have a secure future and dancing clearly wasn’t going to provide.

^ This.

Mothers who have just lost their husbands have to become practical if they aren't already.  I saw Bethany's mother's point.  She also didn't get into a discussion about the hard road and limited opportunities in the world of ballet for African-American (or other black) ballerinas.  

As far as Beth resuming a career as a dancer, ballerinas retire in their 30s and by 40 are considered old.  At Beth's age there is no future in trying to become a principal ballerina.  Dancing would be a hobby, but Beth being the smart gal she is, sees a future in teaching and a way to be involved in her love of dance again and have a career.

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This episode revealed Beth had a Jack Pearson of her own. I get how she's been able to deal with Randall and the whole Pearson clan for so long. 

I'd think her relationship with Kate would be better since it seems Beth was her father's "Katie Girl"

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14 minutes ago, stephinmn said:

Nice episode, but is anyone gainfully employed anymore?

I think Toby is, when he's not couch potatoing or dressed in his slumber clothes in the middle of the day.

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I liked having a Beth episode, and also, Goran Visinijc! He's always welcome on my TV!

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Beth’s dad also seemed to have a fondness for Zoe as well which makes me think, I know some people aren’t fond of her much but I’m curious about her backstory. Maybe even more so than beths episode tonight and I like Beth but this just didn’t do anything for me. And yeah I’m alone in this I know.

I just.. it’s terrible that Beth lost dancing because her mom wanted her to have a different choice but honestly I can’t fault her for that? Once her dad died, money probably was going to become hard to have probably and unfortunately Beth didn’t get a solo and more than likely wasn’t going to be seen(I’ve seen center stage, it’s pretty much solo or no one knows your name! 😉 ) and it wasn’t wrong for her mom to say she needed a backup.

I think we’re supposed to deduce that Beth’s mom didn’t let her have dance as a hobby as well though and if that’s true than that’s awful. So maybe that’s what happened but it wasn’t shown on screen so I think we’re just supposed to assume this.

Also I hope Beth actually gets a paying job as a teacher. I mean yeah it’s great that she’s finding her dream of dancing again but how much does Randall being a politician pay again? I mean I very much doubt that Beth’s dance teaching gig is going to be paying that much either but hopefully it pays something, aren’t their kids in a private school? 

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This was the first time I actually liked Zoe! She showed more personality and vivaciousness in the car with Beth than she's ever shown with Kevin. She was great with Beth, what an amazing relationship those two have - again, more compelling and more interesting than Zoe's relationship with Kevin.

Oddly, unlike most others who've mentioned it, I thought Goran V's accent was far more pronounced than when he was on ER. 

I enjoyed the episode for what it was - an insight into Beth's past and what made her the woman she is today. It was well done, even if it wasn't action-packed or high intensity.

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7 hours ago, dcubed said:

It may be natural for Beth to want to teach dance but it is no more realistic than Kate wanting to teach music.  She doesn’t have a degree in dance or education.  There are a gazillion outstanding dancers out there that can’t teach.  Teaching is a skill no matter the subject.  But I guess Beth has been a Pearson long enough to think that just because she put on dance shoes for the first time in more than 20 years, she’s ready to be the next Martha Graham.  I hope that when we see her teach it’s in Randall’s rec center.  Anything else will be completely unrealistic.

This is pretty much what I was saying as I watched that too. But she is a Pearson now, so you know itlll happen. Lol.

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I really enjoyed this episode and related to Beth.  I grew up in a blue collar household with a critical mother and I knew I had to go to college and get a practical job.  When you come from a place where your parents didn't grow up with much, I think the need for you to be able to support yourself and do better than your parents can be palpable.  This isn't to say that I have any regrets or harbor any resentments because I'm glad there were expectations, but I can definitely relate.  I also see parallels between Beth and Michelle Obama's story.

I think Beth's trip home will help the Pearsons' marriage because Beth clearly remembers what drew her to Randall.  

And, Phylicia Rashad was wonderful and looks great!  Not to mention, I though the young actress who played dancer Beth really captured adult Beth's mannerisms and spirit.

Edited by readheaded
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7 minutes ago, Eureka said:

This is pretty much what I was saying as I watched that too. But she is a Pearson now, so you know itlll happen. Lol.

As EB2 explained in the post above yours, there is a galaxy of difference from Kate wanting to teach versus Beth. At bare minimum, Beth has a degree and isn’t even asking to teach at a school. Honestly, I think comparing them is kind of insulting to Beth. Beth is for more qualified than Kate to teach.

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7 hours ago, deaja said:

I also feel Beth’s dad dying while she was a teenager doesn’t make sense with her still having some of the pot he smoked to share with William 20 years later?

I thought of that right away, too, but I think they sort of covered that base with showing that Zoe's hidden weed was still primo years later.  It doesn't totally jibe, the way Beth in William's time talked about it being left over from her father's illness made it seem like that happened while they lived in their New Jersey house. 

4 hours ago, WhosThatGirl said:

Also I hope Beth actually gets a paying job as a teacher. I mean yeah it’s great that she’s finding her dream of dancing again but how much does Randall being a politician pay again? I mean I very much doubt that Beth’s dance teaching gig is going to be paying that much either but hopefully it pays something, aren’t their kids in a private school? 

I could be wrong but I think it's been established their kids are in a really good local public school.  But your point stands, Randall isn't going to make a huge amount as a councilman.  If Beth goes the Randall route, she will just buy a school in short order.  We know she seems to be in charge of one in the fast-forward. 

Edited by ShadowFacts
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That was a powerful episode even though it had little to do with the main story.  It was heartbreaking seeing Bethany's past and the relationship she had with her parents.  Kudos to Phylicia Rashad for an outstanding, Emmy worthy performance.  And kudos to the casting directors who once again found exceptional child actors to play the young versions of Beth.  They nailed every mannerism spot on.

The problem I saw with Mama cutting Beth off from dancing was that Beth had placed all of her own value on succeeding.  Her greatest fear was disappointing her mother.  By not getting the lead role she considered herself a failure in her mother's eyes.  When Mama said "no more" it confirmed to Beth that she had failed and her value as a daughter was diminished.  It wasn't until many years later Mama was able to explain that that was not the case, she wanted Beth to see reality, be strong, and find another path to success.  Broke my heart.

Incidentally, my 38 yo crockpot died yesterday.  No flames, but I had a flashback to TIU.

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