10:44am PT by Daniel Fienberg
Critic's Notebook: 'This Is Us' Closes Season 1 on a Sour Note
Presumably everybody was confident that the season's 16th and 17th episodes worked.
"Memphis" was a sad, beautifully told culmination to the story of Randall's (Sterling K. Brown) reconnection with the father (Ron Cephas Jones' William) who left him in front of a firehouse decades earlier. "Memphis" was emotionally manipulative right up to the breaking point, but it was held together by the indie grit contributed by directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. It was a rich two-character portrait, with both Brown and Jones delivering nary a false note, and it had a rich sense of place and family history, looking back at Williams' youth as well.