'This is Us' emotional finale looks back, and ahead

Angelo Anderson
March 14, 2018

After last season's heart-wrenching cliffhanger where young Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) has an epic fight with Rebecca (Mandy Moore) over her singing career, familial duties, his alcoholism and his jealousy, season 2 largely stayed in a happier space, centering around Toby and Kate's wedding (Chris Sullivan and Chrissy Metz), and the latter's dream about her father growing old and renewing his wedding vows at a 40th anniversary ceremony with the family in attendance.

This post contains spoilers for the This Is Us Season 2 finale. The bad news? It looks like the Pearson family's future is headed into some dark places. Did waiting months to find out that Jack went into a burning house to save Kate's dog really make that fact any more meaningful than if we had simply learned it sometime in Season 1, as Kate gazed forlornly at his urn?

So curl up with a glass of wine and snuggle up under the covers as we dissect just what those season-ending cliffhangers mean for our favorite TV family.

The finale of "This Is Us" airs Tuesday, March 13 at 9 p.m. EST. Right away, Dan Fogelman's twist-filled family saga earned a reputation as the ultimate sobfest, but one that felt cathartic. This was a hygge drama: the kind of show you want to watch on a chilly winter night while wearing fuzzy pajamas, wrapping your legs in a chenille throw, drinking chamomile tea, and lighting vanilla bean-scented candles.

In season two, okay went out the window. It was really layered, and it was really wonderful and a lot of fun to have all of us together.

It's not all bad news! I admire it for acknowledging that. Clearly, there's a lot on the line with Season 2, Episode 18, an episode you'll be talking about through fall! Within the latter half of this season alone, This Is Us gave us a heartbreaking miscarriage; an almost devastating vehicle accident that resulted in a DUI; a fire that nearly killed Jack Pearson, then didn't, but sort of did because he died of a heart attack afterward, all on Super Bowl Sunday; an eviction; and a wedding day that should have been focused on celebrating Toby and Kate but instead was dominated by the heavy grief and guilt Kate has been carrying for two decades with regard to her father's death. "I'm so excited for everyone to see the finale". Is the Old Man Jack seen in the previews a dream as we're led to believe, or is it Rebecca reuniting with her beloved departed husband in the after life? Will the couple even make it to the "I do's?"

In the latest episode of This Is Us, the series picks up where it left off with Kate and Toby's bachelor and bachelorette celebrations in Las Vegas. It hurt to see that, the Pearsons' best case scenario, especially in light of what happened at the end of the episode. Images then suggested where some of our characters actually would be in roughly 365 days.

What's great about healthy relationships is there is a give and a take, and Toby has given a lot to Kate. Tess, looking anxious and upset, replies, "I'm not ready". Yikes, they have to be referring to Beth...or maybe Deja?

The series has also taken what easily could have been a exhausted subplot, involving Randall's foster child Deja (Lyric Ross), and in the last few episodes broadened that into something more resonant than clichéd, while presenting Randall with a parenting challenge that, as is so often true on the show, ties into his past while simultaneously hinting at his future. Among the bad options put on the table: Deja gets Tess to resent Randall and Beth, Deja goes to jail, Deja kills Randall and Beth. Or is Annie the one dealing with some sort of dire circumstance?

However, there are still some possible outs that spare Beth's life.

Could it also be emotional for Rebecca because of the moment? And we don't need Beth to be sick or dead to know that her family would be lost without her.

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