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THIS IS US: Randall Dismantled As Sterling K. Brown Delivers Masterful Performance

Courtesy/NBC

In yet another riveting performance by Sterling K. Brown, the highly-touted episode that aired on Tuesday’s night’s This Is Us, had his character of Randall in the spotlight again, as the first of the Big Three trilogy this season.  Next week, look for the installment to center on Justin Hartley’s Kevin.However, last night on the episode aptly titled, “Hello of a Week: Part One”, viewers followed what happened next to Randall following his return home after the stress of flying across the country to get a diagnosis for his ailing mother’s memory lapses (while keeping it from his siblings), and then winding up facing an intruder in the Pearson family home.After Randall offers the intruder money, the guy runs out of the home.

Next, the police come, and Randall installs surveillance cameras and security alarms throughout the house, which ends up being a continued tipping point in his mental state as he obsesses over keeping his family and his home safe, especially when the cops tells him that it is common for a thief to return,. It appears later in the episode he did when Beth’s earrings and Randall’s cufflinks are MIA.

Photo by: NBC

Throughout the episode, flashbacks to Randall’s childhood showed little Randall, unable to sleep and afraid of monsters, who then asks his dad, Jack to stay with him through the night.  Jack sleeps on the floor, but when Jack eventually gets up to go to his own bed, he tells Randall who comes running after him, “to be brave: and that he needs him to be the easiest child to care for since Kate and Kevin are handfuls.

This laid the foundation for how Randall deals with others, by not letting them know his inner most feelings.   The writers juxtapose Randall’s dreams throughout where he feels he can’t get out whether it be screaming through a locked window at his mother to get out of the storm, or watching some creepy guy touch Beth and he screams so loud, but you can’t hear him,

In addition, in flashbacks, we see how a college-aged Randall needing college-aged Beth to spend countless nights with him. At one point he tells her, “I just feel so helpless, like I have no control over anything,” especially following the death of his father Jack.  Beth says she can understand. She had bad dreams after her father passed away, but after she talked to a therapist she began to feel better.  In a key moment, Randall agrees to attend an grief group with her, but that plan goes awry when on the day they were heading to the grief counseling group, Randall’s family has an emergency and he could not go.

The theme of Randall seeking counseling surfaced later in the episode after Randall was struggling to hold it together as City Councilman at the Town Hall, which did not go unnoticed by Beth or by Malik’s dad, Darnell.

The next day, he tells Randall that he himself needed therapy and suggest he do that to.  Randall says all he needs is his runs around the city to help him clear his head.  But that takes another drastic turn when Randall comes upon a woman being beaten and proceeds to pounce on the aggressor.  Next, Randall with messed up arm from landing punches on the guy, ends up being touted as a hero for saving the woman’s life.  He is not comfortable with that and he begins to lose his grip.

In the culmination of the episode, locking himself in the bathroom in his home, Randall begins to cry and phones Kevin.  Thank God his brother answered, as he seems to be the only person Randall feels he can talk to, and has, through his life.  At the time of the call, Kevin is in bed with what looks to potentially be Sophie, because he was heading back to Pittsburgh for a funeral of one of her parents.  But is it Sophie, or another woman?

During their call, Randall begs Kevin just to talk, and to please  distract him. Kevin promises his brother, “I’m the guy that’s gonna get you through this,”   Will Kevin ultimately help Randall, or will what happens next become the huge rift that we know exists between the brothers in the flash-forward viewers learned about episodes ago?

This Is Us executive producers, Issac Aptaker, and Elizabeth Berger weighed-in on revisiting Randall’s anxiety and panic attacks with Entertaintment Weekly. This is something that was hot on all of our minds, because over the past year, a couple of the writers in our room had had people break into their homes when they were home,” shared Issac Aptaker.  “People would come in and we would see the impact that it has on you when someone invades your space like that — the aftermath and the fallout. So, as we were looking at what Randall’s season would look like, and what would be potentially the breaking point for him with all that’s been brewing this year, it was at the front of all of our minds at how upsetting something like that can be.”

“We’ve seen that Randall is someone that is so in touch with his feelings emotionally, and he is so willing to talk about everything, but there does seem to be this block with him when it comes to therapy, where he just does not want to engage,” says Elizabeth Berger. “That really fascinated all of us and got us thinking, “What’s that about? And how do we get him to a point where he has his back against the wall and has to move past coping mechanisms and keeping things just below the surface and finally deal with them?” And this felt like a really compelling way to go about that.”

When all was said and done, Sterling K. Brown delivered a nuanced and masterful performance as viewers watched Randall slowly but surely, struggling to cope with all the pressure, and horrific events that happened to him one after the other, as Randall’s anxiety and panic attacks were about to reach epic proportions.

So, what did you think of last night’s This Is Us? Sterling’s performance? Comment below.

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To me, Mr. Brown is one of the industry’s most overrated actors. He’s competent and obviously dedicated. But he telegraphs every emotion ahead of time so we know exactly which expression he’ll have (usually either bewilderment or confusion), just as he did in THE PEOPLE VS. O. J. SIMPSON. Whenever an episode focuses entirely on Randall, the show grinds to a very slow trot. It’s best when the adult siblings are interacting. That’s the show’s strength.

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Port Charles Learns a Bomb Caused the Explosion as Lives are Forever Changed

This week’s General Hospital has reminded us all of why we love daytime drama and why GH possesses some of the finest performers in the genre.

Wednesday’s episode featured several emotionally-charged and gut-wrenching moments as loved ones find out the fate of several people in crisis, or have to deliver terrible news in the wake of the bomb explosion at the Floating Rib, which already had taken the lives of Dev (Ashton Arbab) and Dustin (Mark Lawson).

Courtesy/ABC

As we begin, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) has a passed-out Lulu (Emme Rylan) in his arms and brings her to Portia (Brook Kerr), who sends her for tests.  And in true soap opera fashion, just as Lulu was presumably going to tell Dane she still loved him and wanted him back (following Dustin’s death) … he never heard what she had to say.

 

Laura (Genie Francis) fills in Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) that Dev did not make it, and then Liz decides to tell her son, Cameron (William Lipton) the heartbreaking news while he is recovering from his injuries.  When she does, Cam is overcome and devastated as his mother holds him in her arms.  Meanwhile, Carly (Laura Wright) is filling-in Trina (Sydney Mikayla) and Josslyn (Eden McCoy) about Dev’s untimely death.

Later, with Laura present, Portia tells Lulu’s loved ones that she has a cerebral contusion, and that there is a a traumatic brain injury which has caused swelling on the brain.  Laura and Dante look on devastated.  Portia then says they have already rushed Lulu to urgent surgery.

Julian (William deVry) is with Ava (Maura West) at Wyndemere.  She is attempting to hide him there, while he figures out his next step after planting the bomb.  However, Jason (Steve Burton) shows up looking for Julian now that Sonny found out that a bomb caused the explosion that ravaged the Floating Rib.  From that point on calls are made to ensure Sonny’s family is protected as a mob war is about to go down. Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Jason believe all roads lead back to Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober).

Courtesy/ABC

Jason leaves Wyndemere before spotting Julian; leaving a distraught Ava to come down hard on her brother … he has two choices…  leave Port Charles, which she will help him do, or stay, and if he stays, she will not help him or be a part of his life.  While they are discussing his next move, they learn Lulu is now in critical condition from the bomb.  Ava tells Julian in no uncertain terms that everything he has done has come with a cost.  Jason shows up at the Corinthos home where Sam (Kelly Monaco), who is not happy about any of this, finds out along with Carl,y that Jason believes he was the target at the Floating Rib.

Courtesy/ABC

As Liz is struggling to hold it together with Franco (Roger Howath) having brain surgery, she speaks with Scott (Kin Shriner), who did not know of his son’s tumor.  She shares with Franco’s dad that Franco is worried he will wake up a very different person.  Liz is told Franco is out of surgery, and is in tears over his hospital bed.  She prays he will be alright and Franco wakes up!

Portia tells Nikolas (Marcus Coloma), Laura, and Dante that Lulu is out of surgery but in a coma, which Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) points out is normal in these situations. Dante goes to sit by Lulu’s bedside and begs her to wake up.

Courtesy/ABC

Then, in devastating news for Laura, Lucas (Matt Trudeau) gives her the real 411 on Lulu.  He tells Laura that Lulu’s brain started swelling the minute she hit her head at the Floating Rib, and that her injury got worse the longer she was not checked out.  Laura achingly realizes Lulu was so worried about Dustin that she never was immediately checked out for head trauma.  Lucas lets Laura know that Lulu’s recovery could take a very long time, if she recovers at all.

Heart-tugging performances throughout the stellar episode were given by: Dominic Zamprogna, Genie Francis, William Lipton, Rebecca Herbst, and Maura West in very intense and dramatic scenes.

So, what have you thought of this week’s episodes of GH? The fate of Lulu? The performances from yesterday’s airshow? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Dancing with the Stars

‘Bachelorette’ Alum Kaitlyn Bristowe Wins The Mirrorball Trophy In Season Finale of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

In a season which saw a new host and executive producer, Tyra Banks, no studio audience due to Covid-19, three former soap stars in the competition and some too-close-to-call moments, four celebrity dancers and their pro partners danced their hearts out on Monday night in the season finale of Dancing with the Stars.

Hoping to take home the Mirrorball Trophy were: Kaitlyn Bristowe, Nelly, Justina Machado and Nev Schulman along with their pro dance partners.

The four couples danced two numbers – one dance they performed earlier in the season, and one freestyle.

When the dust settled with the judges scores combined with the popular vote at-home, and no judges ‘save’ at play to decide the final fate of the season, here is how it went down when the results were revealed,

In fourth place was Justina Machado and her partner, Sasha Farber.  In third place was Nelly and his pro partner Daniella Karagach,  That left two of the top celebrity dancers in the entire field as Tyra Banks handed down the results as Kaitlyn Bristowe and Nev Shulman held on to their partners for life hoping their name would be called.

Photo: ABC

Next, Tyra announced that it was former ‘Bachelorette’ Kaitlyn Bristowe and her partner Artem Chigvintsev who won it all and took the coveted Mirrorball Trophy as a let-down Nev Shulman and his partner, Jenna Johnson looked on.

Interesting enough, Bristowe follows former ‘Bachelorette’ Hannah Brown as the champ of the ballroom dance floor competition, as Brown won the previous season 28

So, did the right couple win season 29 of DWTS? Let us know via the comment section below. But first check out Kaitlyn and Nev’s final performances that helped determine the winner.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Julian’s Life Implodes As Bomb Explodes

Friday’s episode of General Hospital left viewers with an explosive ending, literally, that left fans on the edge of their seats of just what will be the ramifications for those inside and outside the Floating Rib, and on the docks of Port Charles.

At the epicenter of the story is William deVry (Julian Jerome), who delivered a top-notch and emotional heart-tugging performance within the hour installment of the ABC daytime drama series.

As it went down, Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) wants Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) dead and has Julian doing his bidding; that includes Julian walking around with a bomb in a backpack. Renault meets Julian on the pier, and Julian lets the drug lord know that he will not target a restaurant full of people, since Jason is currently at the Floating Rib, playing pool with his son.  Cyrus tells Julian not to worry that the bomb will not be an issue until Jason is alone. He then hands Julian a burner phone to call him when the job is done.

As the two are talking, a drunken Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) stumbles upon the conversation, and that sets up what would have very well been the final scenes of the former couple known as “Julexis”.  When Alexis and Julian begin to talk, Julian shows his concern for her drinking, which she does not want to hear about.  Then in a key moment, Julian apologizes to Alexis for all the pain he has caused her.  It was in this line of dialogue, “Alexis, you have been such a positive light in my dark life” that viewers and possibly Alexis, felt the weight of what Julian was trying to convey, as he feared his life could be coming to an end, or feeling racked with guilt for the things he finds himself unable to extricate himself from.  Alexis wonders why he sounds like he’s saying goodbye to her.

Later, Julian shows up with the bomb at the Floating Rib as he flips through his phone and pictures of his children and loved ones knowing he must do what Renault has ordered to keep everyone safe.  He leaves the backpack with the bomb in it under a table.

Courtesy/ABC

At the Floating Rib, we have a major set up that could also lead to dire consequences.  Lulu (Emme Rylan) has summoned Dustin (Mark Lawson) to meet her at the bar to discuss the status of their relationship, now that Dante (Dominic Zamprigna) is back in town.  Dustin pulls out a ring and gets down on one knee to propose, just as Dante is outside the bar coming to talk to Lulu.

Meanwhile, Dev (Ashton Arbab) discovers the backpack and goes to tell the bartender about it.  In addition, Jason, Danny, Cameron (William Burton), and Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth) are also there.

At  the end of the episode, Julian is back on the docks and pulls out the burner phone Cyrus gave him.  Julian says, “You better pick up”, but unknowingly when he hits Cyrus’ number, he sets off the bomb to explode in the bar.  Fade to black.

So, what will be the upshot of the bomb explosion?  Will Julian, in the midst of the turmoil, make it look like he perished in the explosion to facilitate William deVry’s exit?  Will something happen to Lulu, since we know Emme Rylan has exited the show as well?  Will everyone be saved?  Share your thoughts and theories and what you thought of Will’s performance via the comment section below.

 

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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