This Is Us told a tale of two dinners, two very different and very awkward dinners, and one date in the appropriately titled "The Dinner and the Date."
In the past, Jack (Milo Ventmiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) welcomed Mr. Lawrence, one of Randall's (Lonnie Chavis) teachers to their table. From the start, it seemed Jack had something to prove. Randall worshiped Mr. Lawrence, and as his only black student, Mr. Lawrence, a black man himself, took a shining to Randall.
With the help of Rebecca, Jack learned Mr. Lawrence was never going to replace him in Randall's life and heart, and Jack apologized to the teacher. They came to an understanding, and Mr. Lawrence gifted Jack the book he planned to give to Randall. The book became a bonding experience for Jack and little Randall.
Meanwhile, in the present, Deja (Lyric Ross) and Malik (Asante Blackk) skipped school for a tour of Philadelphia, well, Malik's Philadelphia. It was an eye-opening experience for Deja, and one that got her into quite a bit of trouble.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, and split up Malik and Deja, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) welcomed Malik and his parents for dinner. Beth and Malik's mother (Marsha Stephanie Blake) traded a number of loaded comments, and at one point almost came to blows. Randall and Darnell (Omar Epps) didn't do much better. Once all the assumptions and prejudices were out of the way, they worked it all out. Malik and Deja could see each other, supervised, and Beth and Randall asked Deja to tell them about him.
"He makes me feel like myself," Deja said. "I have a piece of home."
Viewers were also treated to Malik and Deja's day out where they got to know each other and share stories.
NBC billed the episode as one viewers wouldn't want to miss. Why?
"I think it asks a lot of questions, questions that are on the minds of a lot of people that watch the show," Ventimiglia said. "How do you address what our characters are going through when you feel the same? And also it has so much range. There's young love, there's parenthood, there's just the discomfort that comes from not knowing how to show something to your kids and give them strength when they're needing it. There's always so much packed into these episodes, but I think this one in particular is really, really dense, but it's a really, loving, needed episode."
Click play on the video above to hear more from Ventimiliga and Moore, including what those long awkward dinner scenes are really like.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)