This Is Us (NBC)

Matt Hough

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Season finale tonight, and it was all about generations of children. We also got to see the breakup of brothers Kevin and Randall. Some nifty surprises.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I just finished watching the final two episodes of the season.

This has been a very unlikable stretch for Randall, but I appreciate that the show is willing to let its protagonists be unlikable. Everything he did was fully in character for him. His need to solve problems is often a really amazing quality, but this was a time when the problem didn't have any good solutions and he wasn't able to accept that. Rebecca is still alive a decade or so later, judging by the age of Kevin's twins, so maybe the treatment is successful at slowing her decline. On the other hand, there are people who live with Alzheimer's for twenty years, so perhaps all Randall accomplished was depriving Rebecca of her nine most high functioning remaining months.

The fight between Randall and Kevin on the front lawn was just brutal. They both said some pretty unspeakable things to one another, things made all the worse because they're what each of them always secretly dreaded that the other thought. And yet: Families do have fights like that. When they're really angry, they sometimes do go for the jugular, say whatever they know will hurt the most in that moment. I really appreciated the flash forward to Rebecca's deathbed, and future Kevin putting his arm around future Randall in solidarity and comfort. A reminder that, however bad things are in the present, they're still brothers and they will get through this.

By populating the next generation of Pearsons, it gives the show more room to go forward as well as backward. I've been a fan of Adelaide Kane since "Teen Wolf", and she's toplined shows before. By getting actors of high caliber even for the flash forwards, the show knows it has top-shelf talent it can depend on at each phase of the timeline.

If you had told me at the end of the first season that Madison would be such a critically important character by the end of this season, I might have stopped watching. But her character has come a long way. I particularly appreciated the frank conversation between her and her OBGYN about how she thought her bulimia had left her sterile. I've known a couple recovered bulimics who continue to have health repercussions from it to this day. Aside from the reproductive implications, a lot of people with a history of bulimia have a really tough time with pregnancy mentally as they start to pack on the pounds. Given that Madison is carrying twins, that is likely to be especially tough for her.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the circumstances of Rebecca's imminent death:
  • Kevin is wearing a wedding ring. Is he married to Madison, or did he meet someone else and they just co-parent together?
  • Kate and Toby's kids should only be a couple years older than Kevin's kids. Where are they?
  • Where is Kate?
  • How did Uncle Nick get so close to Rebecca that he's her bedside companion at the end?
 
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Matt Hough

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Speculations:

Uncle Nicky is also wearing a wedding band. Since we haven't seen Rebecca's second husband Miguel in this timeline, he may have died and Nicky may have married Rebecca to be her day-to-day caregiver.

In an earlier episode, Toby (who is no longer wearing a wedding band meaning Kate may have died or they're divorced) mentioned "they" are coming, so I'm assuming his and Kate's kids (future rockstar Jack and Hailey, his sister) will be arriving with some kind of older person (since Jack and Hailey would be only a year at most older than Kevin's twins).

Kevin put a hand on Randall's shoulder, no firm sign of any reconciliation but just one of momentary comfort over their dying mother. After the stinging words each said to the other, forgiveness might be very hard.
 

Jason_V

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The fight between Randall and Kevin really got me. They both said some pretty awful things to one another, but when Randall was going off on Kevin, it never felt like he had any understanding of what he was actually saying. There was no...regret...after the words came out of his mouth. When Kevin fired back, he knew the minute Randall walked away he had done wrong: he closed his eyes and bit his lip.

We're meant to believe that from that moment to the time everyone gathers to see Rebecca, they haven't reconciled in some way, shape or form? Not at all? But they can magically be in the same house and room for Rebecca, stand next to one another and be civil?

I think something else happens between them. Kevin resents Randall for taking Rebecca away during Madison's pregnancy or something. Remember: St. Louis is going to be a nine month trial, right? Coincidentally the same amount of time a woman is usually pregnant...
 

Mike Frezon

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This is Us really won me back this season.

Terrific television.

Both Peg and I said after Randall & Kevin's blowup on the front lawn that we didn't think we'd ever speak to our sibling again after a back-and-forth like that.
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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This is Us really won me back this season.

Terrific television.

Both Peg and I said after Randall & Kevin's blowup on the front lawn that we didn't think we'd ever speak to our sibling again after a back-and-forth like that.
While I didn't think this season quite hit the highs of the first couple seasons, it definitely righted the ship and avoided the lows of the third season.

One of the smartest things that the show did was shunt Randall's career in local politics into the background, so that it doesn't get any more emphasis than any of the other characters' day jobs.
 

ScottH

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Meh, I still only watch it because my wife and daughter do. The writing is pretty absurd when it comes to Randall. He's not even human at this point. This show just exemplifies how bad network TV is and how much better cable networks are these days.
 

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