Tonight on NBC their new honest & provocative dramedy series This Is Us airs with an all-new Tuesday, February 19, 2019, episode and we have your This Is Us recap below. On tonight’s This Is Us season 3 episode 13, “Our Little Island Girl,” as per the NBC synopsis, “Beth’s trip home to care for her mother sparks an unexpected realization.”
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This Is Us begins tonight with Carol (Phylicia Rashad) standing in the hallway of the school, confronting Damon Henderson (Jakobe Dempsey) about being late for class again. He tells her he got a B in an exam, but as she walks away she is shoved into stairs railing, where she is in agonizing pain. Zoe (Melanie Liburd) drives with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), they crank up the music and both dance to the 90s jam.
They both feel that Carol needs to retire, and it will take both of them to lay down the law. Zoe confronts Beth about clamming up when it comes to ordering their mom around. Beth acts like their mom has been fine about her being laid off, but Zoe realizes Beth didn’t tell her, because she clammed up!
A young Bethany “Beth” and Zoe are questioned about their homework, Carol reminding Zoe that in this home they show respect. Their father returns home as Beth gets news that she has been accepted to the Academy. Carol takes the call, learning that Beth applied to a prestigious dance academy without their knowledge. Her father is proud, saying she is their little island girl, who could dance before she even walked. Carol gives in, promising to check the dance school out.
Carol finds her daughters looking through her plants for the door key. Carol says the ER doctors are so dramatic and walkers are for old ladies. She warns them that she doesn’t want to hear any nonsense they are going to give her; Zoe says she is still scary as hell.
Carol and Abe (Carl Lumbly) are welcomed to the Academy, learning that Bethany would have to take 3 classes after school and on weekends. Beth comes with them to the office, where they find out at the end of the year, the school puts on a performance where the leading ballet companies bring in scouts. Carol is very cynical, as they are told some years only 2 dancers make it professionally but others there are 8.
He informs them that there has never been a lead African American dancer in the 53 years of the American Ballet Theater and their daughter has a remarkable, raw talent; he believes Bethany could be the first. Abe agrees with him but Carol asks for some privacy. Carol frets about the cost and they need to acknowledge the odds, but Abe said they have never listened to the odds. Beth is invited over as Carol agrees as long as she is going to give it her best.
Beth stares at her ballet photo on the wall, along with the other family photos. Beth sits down with Zoe and Carol, who insists on serving them the food herself. Beth admits that neither she nor Zoe wants to run her life, but they need to talk about her job and the toll it is taking on her. Beth begins to choke and Zoe reminds her that she is clamming up; she cuts Beth off, saying they feel it is time she retires. Carol wants to know when Zoe is going to get a job with purpose like Bethany, but Beth blurts out that she got laid off months ago.
Bethany is called over, where the instructor shows her how to pose, talking about the best male ballet dancer if all time. He believes Beth has that in her, and she will master it. At home, young Bethany sees how both her parents are draining themselves to fulfill her dreams of being a dancer. She has been there 4 years as Vincent feels there are other forms of dancing that are more forgiving. She wants to be the exception of the rule, even though she isn’t built by the rest. She is sure she will get the solo and will end up being the lead in the London Ballet. He told her, she will have to work 10 times harder than anyone else; she nods that she is up to it.
Beth comes home super late, when Carol walks in the room, saying it is time to tell the girls. Together, Abe and Carol tell them that Abe went to see the doctor and it looks like he is sicker than he thought; Carol says Abe has lung cancer. He is going to start chemotherapy, but through it, the rest of them need to be strong. Zoe asks for a moment, as they just found out about cancer; Abe tells her to listen to her Auntie and help her clean up. Beth sits beside her dad and hugs him.
Carol confronts Beth about lying to her. She says she has been busy interviewing and figuring out her options. Carol tells her in the morning, they are going to work it out and find her a job at one of the city’s firms. A young Beth informs her mom that she is going to quit dancing as it is her fault that her dad worked too hard. Carol tells her she needs to stick to the path she chose and she will be the best. Vincent has Sonya (Destiny Wimpye) show Beth the new dancing routine.
Beth comes home to Carol, Zoe, and Abe. Beth says she will be doing her solo in 8 weeks so Carol can make her costume. Abe laughs as Carol chases after Zoe, saying that girl is giving her a run for her money. Beth smiles as she talks to her dad about Swan Lake, but is upset about the new girl in the class who is better than good. She fears that it comes easier to her than Beth. Abe talks about when Beth would dance like the song picked her right off the ground and made her dance straight over to Abe. “Our little island girl, who danced before she walked!” Something Beth will never forget.
Zoe wakes up Beth, saying there is something she needs to show her as she takes a photo off the wall and reveals she hid drugs there from her mom. In the laundry room, Beth and Zoe are giggling away and talking about old times. Beth would always carry crap around with her as Zoe would simply explode. Zoe admits that it was safe in their house, unlike how everyone looked at Carol as domineering, she knew Carol would never hurt her. Beth praises her for how well she turned out, but Zoe feels her mother was tough on everyone but her. She knows Beth is big and tough but she needs to talk about what is going on until all this pressure explodes; they return to their giggles before trying to sneak upstairs. Beth stops at her dad’s chair, remembering his words.
Adult Beth stands at the stairs, telling her dad that she will forget that part of her, but she will be happy, find a great love with a man who reminds her so much of him that it is scary. She doesn’t feel she can be herself without him. A young Beth stops at the stairs, without saying those words, simply telling her dad, “Goodnight”
Beth arrives at the Academy as the girls offer their condolences; everyone rushes out to see the list and Bethany’s name is not on it. Vincent didn’t expect to see her back so soon, but she said her dad would have wanted her to be there. He knows she is disappointed but tells her to be ready in 5 minutes. She returns to the house, where she finds her mom staring at Abe’s chair. Beth says she isn’t hungry, wanting to talk to her mom is she is sad but she doesn’t want to talk about her feelings. Beth reveals they announced the cast for the senior showcase and she didn’t get the solo, even though she worked very hard. She is sorry for disappointing her mother but promises she will not give up.
Beth practices in her room, when Carol walks in, asking her to sit down. She gives her the book she gave to her older siblings in order to find a college. Carol feels they need to choose a different path for Bethany, sorry that she doesn’t see dance as a path for her. She won’t see her move to New York, trying out for auditions she will never get into and won’t pay for school anymore as it is setting her up to fail. Bethany looks rummages through the book.
Adult Beth finds her mother who is looking for a list of firms. She is happy to help but Beth doesn’t want her help. Beth is angry that her mother will keep moving through the pain, as crying and sorrow is a sign of weakness; the same way she did when Abe died. She remembers feeling so free when she was little, always having her head in the clouds and doodling and dancing. She felt Carol didn’t have to take that from her, but Carol stands by her decision.
Beth informs her mother that the other siblings don’t come around because of the way she is; there is no air to breathe and no way to feel. Carol says if that is her biggest complaint then she is okay with it. Beth tells her mom she isn’t good, as she hasn’t had her heads in the cloud for years, unlike Randall (Sterling K. Brown). She can’t look him in the eye and tell him she wants to be that little girl who dances again. Carol walks out on their conversation.
Carol drives Bethany to a freshman college mixer, feeling this is a fresh start filled with new opportunities. She just makes her name tag, turning around and bumping into Randall; unknown to each other at the time.
Beth tries to talk to Carol, who cuts her off, saying her mother was the smartest person she ever knew. She worked hard to put her and her brother through school, even though her father felt education was worthless for a girl. Carol feels her mother worked hard for her and she worked hard to make her proud. They never fought until Carol met Abe, insisting Abe wasn’t bad company, just someone who didn’t take life so seriously. Carol said when she was with Abe, she felt she could finally breathe; the air she probably doesn’t have on her own.
Eventually, her mother came around when Abe was visiting her while she was cramming for exams, literally feeding her while she studied. Her mother saw that is exactly what she needed – together they made a perfect balance. She doesn’t know if she made the right decision for Beth, but she didn’t have time to question herself. She simply had her and her worries, wanting her last child to be okay. She tears up as she calls Beth her little island girl who could dance before she walked. Beth says she is strong because of her. It was the path she put her on that brought her Randall, the girls and a job she loved for 12 years. She finally apologizes for taking her dance away; Beth accepts her words.
Randall greets Beth with a warm hug and kiss. Beth says her mom is fine and she will be too. She wants to tell him what she wants to do next. He drives her, saying they have never listened to people as she feels this is crazy. She kisses him after pausing because those are the words her dad used. Beth exits the car while Carol returns to the school, using her walker.
Beth walks towards the dance studio, putting her purse down and remembering what it felt like as a little girl. She touches the bar and begins to dance like she never did before, with a beautiful smile on her face. She is simply getting back into the routine when she is told about the beginners class but it might bore her. Beth says she wants to teach!