I haven't been as in love with the second season of NBC's "This Is Us" as I was when it premiered last year.
That partly is because the relationship was newer and fresher last year when we were introduced to siblings Randall (Sterling K.Brown ), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Metz), their parents, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and significant others.
It may also because the first several episodes of this season have been so dark as some of the mysteries about their lives have been slowly revealed.
It hasn't seemed to bother Western New York viewers as "This Is Us" opened the season as the top-rated drama here and only fell off in live viewing during the Tuesday nights that World Series games were played.
If you went away during the World Series or were as disappointed as I was from early episodes, you should come back for tonight's episode on WGRZ-TV (9 p.m., Channel 2).
And bring your Kleenex.
I haven't needed any tissues this season, but tonight's heavily-packed episode brought them back.
I refuse to give out spoilers but I can say the promos for the episode are a little bit misleading.
The hour packs a lot in the episode. It deals with Jack and Rebecca's Family Court battle with a skeptical African-American judge to keep their baby Randall; Kevin's continued battle with drugs and finding himself; the difficulty Randall and his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) have dealing with the pain of their teenage foster child; and the romantic nature of Kate's future husband, Toby (Chris Sullivan).
Toby's romantic gestures are a highlight as usual.
There also is a moment where Randall goes out of character and seems to be less than saintly for what he thinks is the right reason, only to redeem himself by showing his true heart.
But the most impactful moment for me is a speech by a judge – beaten down by the system he administers – to Randall's father when his was young and faced imprisonment.
That's partly because it sets up a revelation about adult Randall's first meeting with his older father (Ron Cephas Jones) last season.
Keep the Kleenex handy. This is by far the best episode of the season.