Susan Kelechi Watson, Sterling K. Brown
Photo: Ron Batzdorff (NBC)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, March 12. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.): In the course of last week’s This Is Us, the once too-perfect Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown), he of the masterful pep-talks and top-tier husbanding and parenting skills, did something that could generously be called a super-duper mega seriously rotten fuck-up. Here’s Caroline Siede, on a very bad voicemail:

The simmering tension between Randall and Beth is clear right from the beginning, as the two try to balance their conflicting dream jobs by sticking to a near-impossible timetable of shared duties. And that tension explodes when Randall mistakenly thinks Beth has blown off for his important work dinner and leaves a nasty, condescending voicemail calling her immature and irresponsible. Once Beth unexpectedly (or expectedly, if you’ve ever seen a TV show before) shows up to the dinner explaining that her phone died on the way there, the episode captures all the tension I felt was missing from last week’s waiting room episode. Beth dutifully plays her role of charismatic supporting wife, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s more than a little pissed at her husband. And she rightly lets him have it as soon as they’re outside. It’s a welcome moment of the season holding Randall accountable for once.

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Once you’ve taken all that in, this preview will probably make a lot more sense:

Caroline has pre-clicked her clicky pen, and is thus fully prepared to take notes on the sure-to-be-eventful penultimate episode of This Is Us’ third season.

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Wild card

Mental Samurai (Fox, 9 p.m.): Once This Is Us has exercised your heart, perhaps it’s time to check in on the Rob Lowe-hosted obstacle course of the mind. If we’re in luck, perhaps this guy will be back:

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