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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.

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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?

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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: Valentin’s World Crumbles; Anna & Finn Put On The Brakes

Yesterday’s episode of ABC’s General Hospital featured emotional performances by James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Finola Hughes (Anna) and Michael Easton (Finn) as it looks like a significant shift may be coming for their characters on the Port Charles canvas, or is it?

Valentin has overheard Nina (Cynthia Watros) telling Ava (Maura West) that she kissed Jax (Ingo Rademacher), which further sends him into a tailspin.  He is still reeling from the fact that the DNA results, that he had run, proved that he is not a Cassadine, as Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) had claimed and revealed.

When Valentin enters Ava’s art gallery, he gets a moment alone with Nina where he tells her he doesn’t know who he is anymore.  Nina tells him he is free now to start over and concentrate on his daughter, Scarlett, but that she will no longer be a part of his life.

You can tell Nina still has feelings for Valentin and cares about him, but is it more? Or, is she now going to move on with Jax? Well, after a pep talk, of sorts, from Ava, looks like she may just go after Jax and see where things may lead with him.

Later, Valentin is drinking and gets his gun and is ready to kill Jax, or so it seems.  He heads out to go confront Jax in his office.  Next, we see Valentin shoot Jax with Josslyn (Eden McCoy) and Dustin (Mark Lawson) looking on.  However, we soon learn that this scenario was all in Valentin’s mind, as we come back to present time and Jax, Dustin, and Josslyn are all talking and wondering what Valentin wants.  He covers and tells Jax he just came to tell him he wasn’t a Cassadine.  Still later, Lulu is filled in about Valentin.

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Meanwhile, Brad (Parry Shen) meets up with Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and tells her that he and Lucas (Ryan Carnes) are moving away from Port Charles.  He admits to her that he told Lucas before the accident, about baby Wiley being Michael and Nelle’s bio-son.  She is pissed.  Nelle realizes he wants to move Lucas and Wiley away to keep from triggering Lucas’ memory of the car crash.  Later, that prompts Nelle to leave Valentin a message that she is ready to sell her ELQ shares to him as she needs to leave town ASAP.

However, when Nelle places her call, Vakentin does not pick up; instead he is on the floor drunk, and opens a box with the Cassadine ring in it, and lo and behold, we see a woman appear, who by all accounts will be Helena (Constance Towers) since we know Towers is making a visit during February sweeps.  Will Valentin be talking to a dead Helena about the lies perpetrated on him … or is something else going on? Stay tuned for today’s episode.

Courtesy/ABC

Elsewhere, Anna is angry that Finn betrayed her with confirming information to Jason (Steve Burton) and his stance on her son Peter’s dirty deeds.. Finn says she’s just so blind to the truth about Peter and he is a dangerous man; after all, Peter kept Jason locked up for years.  Anna says Jason will now retaliate and try to kill Peter.  She is overcome with terror and upset that no one will give Peter the benefit of a doubt.

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It’s clear she wants a second chance at being Peter’s mother and can’t see past that. With that, the duo is at a crossroads. Finn goes to get his daughter, Violet and packs a bag and moves of their place and heads to the Metro Court for the night.  He tells Anna he has to protect his daughter.  Of course, when they get to the Metro Court, they run into Peter (Wes Ramsey) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms).  Finn is not happy.   Will Anna and Finn reconcile? Will Peter finally, finally get his comeuppance?

Share your thoughts on what you would like to see happen for Valentin, Nina, Jax, Anna, Finn, and Peter via the comment section below. But first, check out these scenes between Finn and Anna.

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Recaps

Y&R’s Sharon Case Delivers ‘The Power Performance of the Week’

Standalone, dream or nightmare-centric episodes on your favorite soaps, require the audience to go along for the ride and also require the actor who is featured in it to make the material work – no matter if some of it may come off as cheesy, or may be over-dramatic, or seemingly out there.

On Friday’s episode of The Young and the Restless, longtime vet, Sharon Case (Sharon) was front and center in an episode that had her in almost every single scene, and performing via clever ways the writing team told the story of a woman preparing for her first round of chemo in her battle with breast cancer.  Throughout the show, Y&R made sure that many key beats of the feelings anyone about to go under this treatment, or anyone about to embark on major surgery, or a potential life-changing moments would feel.   In moment after moment, Sharon Case gave one of the finest performances of her storied Y&R career.

Photo: JPI

It begins with her beau, Rey (Jordi Vilasuso) trying to be there for her as Sharon kind of skirts the emotional toll of what tomorrow will bring for her, and how she is dreading the entire experience.  When Rey prompts her to talk about what’s in her heart. Sharon’s afraid if she opens up, she’ll scream and won’t be able to stop.  She admits she is terrified but won’t let herself go there.   Not wanting him to touch her or she will break down, Sharon decides to sleep upstairs, while Rey sleeps on the couch.

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And that is where the dream begins, as a restless Sharon sees her dead daughter, Cassie, (Camryn Grimes reprises her role) who tells her: “I need you to come with me.”  When she won’t Cassie;s outreached hand, which Sharon believes will lead her to heaven, she runs downstairs to find Rey, but he is gone.  Since this is her dream, she next winds up at Crimson Lights where she learns Rey dumped her and left town for Miami, while Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) scoffs that no one would want to be with her like this!  Next, Nick appears and takes Phylllis out on a date, leaving Sharon upset.

Switch to next scenario: and as Sharon sees doctors beginning surgery on her, and she finds herself in the set of GC Buzz, as her other daughter, Mariah hosts an episode about how Sharon changed after her surgery!  Nick,Phyllis and Rey are it, spouting how negative Sharon was, and how she changed.  Then, Sharon becomes hysterical as she sees herself flatline. She screams at the doctors to not just leave her there … alone!

Photo: JPI

Next, Sharon shows up at the Grand Phoenix, as none other than Phyllis escorts her to radiation therapy. Mariah (Camryn Grimes). who shows up with a cane for her, brings her a mirror, and as Sharon holds it up, she sees she is wearing a headscarf as she must have lost all of her hair in the chemo.  Faith (Alyia Alyn Lind) runs on to the scene, and Cassie reappears and tells Sharon: “Mom, it’s time. It’s time to go home. Please don’t be afraid.”

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Finally, Sharon is in the present and sees that Mariah and Rey are downstairs and she promises to not shut them out.  She tells them about her dream with Cassie and how the cancer has made her feel isolated.   Sharon comes to the conclusion. and promises. she will let the people she loves know that she needs them.  When she reveals she’s hungry, food is whipped up, as Nick and Faith come by to join them.

In the final moments, (grab your hankies), Sharon had a request that her daughters sleep next to her for the night.  We see Faith, and Mariah on each side of Sharon as Cassie watches upon them.

Kudos to Sharon Case for playing the vulnerability of a woman about to undergo chemo, the nuances of every scene she was called on to portray within the dream sequences, and for delivering it in such a way that was respectful, enlightening, and powerful for anyone undergoing something as difficult as this in their own lives.  For all of these reasons, Michael Fairman TV names Sharon Case, this week’s “Power Performance of the Week”.

What did you think of Sharon’s performance? The dream episode? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Recaps

THE BACHELOR: A Telenovela & Four Contestants Sent Packing

It seems like Peter Weber, our “Bachelor”, finally got a clue, and wasn’t going to continue to be wishy-washy…. or will he fall back into his old ways? Wednesday night brought “Bachelor Nation”, yet another two-hour episode of The Bachelor, following its usual Monday installment.

Picking up in Chile, Victoria P. dug her own grave and was sent to home, after lying about knowing Alayah prior to being on the reality-competition series.  When she goes to talk with Peter about trying to get back on track with him, he lowers the boom on her and says: “I don’t know if I see you as my wife.”  Victoria P. loses it and wants to get in a limo and drive away ASAP.  Once in the car, she looks straight in the camera with tears and mascara dripping down her face.

For Telenovela and soap fans, the episode came with the gals and Peter performing a script to a soap opera, Latin America-style.  Mykenna got the role of the maid, the one who was constantly ignored, but longed for her man. Mykenna said she can play the part, because that is how it feels right now with Peter.  He doesn’t really see her, or spend much time with her versus the other women in the competition.

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Later, when alone with the other women in the competition, after previously saying she was ready to walk from the show, Mykenna now said she is having the time of her life. Cue Tammy who stirs up trouble for everyone, by calling people out on things they say or do; whether true or not true. This time Tammy and Mykenna get into a yelling match over Mykenna’s true intentions.  Peter, who is outside with Madison on a one-on-one dare, hears the screaming.  They exit to be alone.

Photo: ABC

Next, in a twist, Peter invites Tammy and Mykena on a two-on-one date.  After hearing each of their sides of the story, Peter gives the boot to Tammy. Later, in the event that she was lying, he gave Mykenna the boot too!

There was one more contestant that needed to go, so Peter also did not give a rose to Sydney. Remember, she  told Peter how she was bullied and made fun of growing up while in High School, because of her mixed-race background.  This week, photos surfaced of her on social media showing that she was a beauty pageant winner, when she was in High School – thus trying to say she must have been very popular to be saying she was so isolated growing up.

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Victoria F. who also went on a one-on-one date with Peter for the second time, still seems confused if she wants to be there.  Peter says he genuinely has feelings for her, but she seems to be acting as if she is not sure. Peter wants to make sure she really wants to be here, when she says she doesn’t like the thought of him with the other women in the competition.  Remember, earlier this week, “Cosmo” revealed they took her and Peter off the digital cover of their magazine, because of former photos of her  modeling for “White Lives Matter”  Fuller said on her Instagram that “The company ‘We Love Marlins’ is in support of catching white, blue & black marlins and releasing them back into the wild,” which is what the “White Lives Matter” slogan meant to her and the company.

So are you glad that Tammy, Mykenna, Sydney and Victora P. all went home? Comment below.

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Video du Jour

DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Sharon Case as Sharon

The Young and the Restless

Airdates: 2-7-2020

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