I am going to tell an embarrassing truth now. Never before have I cried for a preview, but I did for last week’s of this episode of This Is Us. The moment Jack appeared on-screen, with that same spark in his eye, and a full head of grey hair, we knew this was going to be an emotional finale. Kate and Toby’s wedding day brings up a lot of emotions for everyone. Sadness of course, that Jack couldn’t be here for this event. Right away, we’re torn apart by the very vision of what could have been had Jack lived. But his loss brings up an interesting point about the direction our lives take. The Pearson family has held tight not just to their patriarch, but to his loss. They’ve held onto the void and the pain, and now is the time to let that go. You never know what the future will bring if you do, as evidenced by the plethora of surprises the last five minutes of the season finale doled out.
Kevin became a Junior Wedding Planner, with just as much attention to detail and hutzpah as Madison. This had me in a fit of giggles, mostly because it was great to see Kevin healthy, happy, and 100% there for his sister. It finally seems like all the Pearsons are ready to take a new step. With that new step means new people.
We really haven’t seen a lot of who Rebecca and Miguel are as a couple. We have seen them in the past, and we have seen them through the eyes of the kids in the present. But we don’t know how they behave in private. There was a little taste in this hour where they showed that, and Miguel once again showed his sadness at his place in the family. We’ll see more of that next season.
Another thing we haven’t seen is the extended family of the Pearsons. In this hour we are introduced to Beth’s photographer cousin Zoey, and to Toby’s squabbling-like-they’re-still-married parents. Here is what we know about Beth’s cousin. Her story is not so different from Deja’s. Her mom dumped her at Beth’s house, and Zoey took her anger out on the family, just like Deja is now. Because she knows what Deja is going through, she knows how to talk to an angry teenager. Little does she know that later, Toby’s mom puts her foot in it just to kick Deja while she’s down. Deja doesn’t get the happy ending she hoped for, as evidenced by the Pearson’s car.
Here is what we know about Toby’s parents: they don’t like Kate. More precisely, they don’t approve of Kate. I’m going to bite my tongue on what I could say about their comments and go with, who are they to give any expert advice on marriage? Not that they don’t make a valid point about Kate freaking out. But today is a special occasion. It’s time to let go. But when they lose the bride, Randall and Kevin give themselves permission to freak out. They try to play a game of worse case scenario, but that only makes the stress worse.
In the middle of it all is the bride. For as many dedications to her father as Kate has in this wedding, Jack would have just loved to have been there. It’s no wonder that Kate’s recurring dream is all about her parents, and the recommitment they’ll never have. But it’s like Randall said, Jack was more than a t-shirt. Still, Kate needs some talking to, and it can’t be her brothers who get her down the aisle. It takes her parents. While Rebecca thinks she might not be needed, she is. When Kate tells her about her dreams, Rebecca points out that in this version of happily ever after, Toby isn’t by Kate’s side. She gets Kate to the point where she is really ready to let Jack go. In the end, Kate doesn’t need her dad right by her side anymore. But she does need her mom to guide her. In Kate’s words to her mother, “You are not in my way, you are my way.” This will go down as one of the most beautiful mother-daughter moments in This Is Us history. To close it out, Kevin gives everyone permission to breathe, finally.
We jump a year ahead in Season 3, and boy did we get some surprises! At least one year from now, Kevin (and Zoey!) will be looking for memories of Jack in Vietnam, Toby will have lost his happy-go-lucky demeanor, leaving Kate as the strong one, and in a few decades, Beth might not be as healthy as we’d like her to be.
That’s a wrap on Season 2 of This Is Us. What would you like to see happen in Season 3?
This Is Us Season 2 Episode 18 Review: "The Wedding"
This Is Us paints a beautiful scene of what is, what could have been, and what there is to look forward to beyond Season 2.