Well, at least this was better than last year’s finale.
I don’t know why This Is Us has such a difficult time with season finales. The show is so consistently strong all year long, and then it always sorta stumbles in the end. The final shot of the season is Kevin meeting Zoe? Really? That’s the big cliffhanger that’s supposed to leave an unforgettable image in my mind until September?
On the bright side, the flash-forwards did a splendid job of planting the seeds for a rich third season. Chief among them is the insanely haunting moment with Randall and Tess saying they’re not ready to see “her”. Is Beth sick? Is Rebecca on her deathbed? Or could there be something wrong with Annie? The possibilities are endless, and it’s extremely effective when juxtaposed with the family having such a glorious time at Kate’s wedding. If nothing else is, This Is Us has become so adept at pulling off contrasting emotions thanks to its multiple timelines.
Other intriguing bits include Toby suffering through some sort of depression (the foreshadowing was certainly there with his parents mentioning how he couldn’t leave his bed after his divorce), and Kevin traveling to Vietnam (with his new girlfriend Zoe) to uncover some Jack-related mystery. It makes sense that the show would go there seeing as how we still don’t know anything about Jack’s brother and the Vietnam adventures.
Although I was sure something catastrophic would occur, Kate and Toby’s wedding actually went off without a hitch. The real gut-punch here is the reveal that the alternate flash-forwards with Rebecca and Jack renewing their vows are Kate’s dreams. I found this development to be especially insightful, seeing as how Kate has really struggled with closure regarding her dad’s death all season long. Her speech to her the urn was particularly poignant, and it paved the way for some great mother-daughter bonding. I’m eager to see what a drama-free Kate/Rebecca relationship looks like.
– Toby’s mother is played by none other than Wendi Malick, one of the stars of one of my favorite comedies of all time, Just Shoot Me. I just wish she got more to do here though.
– There was surprisingly very little follow-through from last week’s cliffhanger with Shauna leaving Deja. The exposition by Beth about Deja’s mom “terminating all parental rights” was really cringeworthy.
– Love Randall and Beth’s worst case scenarios. I think I’ll start using that trick.
– Yup, Rebecca is singing their song, Moonshadow.
– It must be said that guest-star Melanie Liburd is terrific as Beth’s cousin Zoe. Her heart-to-heart with Deja is spot on… well at least until the former goes bonkers on Randall’s car with a bat.
– Notice how in Kate’s dream, Rebecca is wearing the pink dress which she tells Miguel she doesn’t want to wear. I loved that detail.
– Little Kate’s “Can I marry you one day?” to Jack was perfection.
– Kevin’s toast was my favorite Kevin moment in a long, long time. And everyone breathing together was just beautiful.
Toby: Listen, if my boo comes with baggage, I’m paying the handling fee.
Kate: Mm, I love your airline metaphors.
Toby: Well, that’s good, – ’cause I’m cleared for takeoff.
Beth: Man, she’s mean.
Randall: I miss Deja Classic. No. Deja Classic was when we first met her, and she was all quiet and sullen. I miss Deja 2.0, when she was all used to us and sweet, and she told me all my jokes were corny, but secretly, she liked them.
Miguel: Well, if anyone is a walking reminder of Jack, it’s me. Forget about what you’re wearing. If I could dress in all brown tomorrow and pretend to be a tree, I would. Just throw acorns at people.
Toby: (to Kate) Okay, so then, uh, you just put your PJs on, all right? Curl up with your favorite Sandra Bullock movie, One of the romantic ones. Not the one where they’re trying to kill her through the Internet. Spooky.
Toby: (to his parents) Uh, please go. I mean, please help me with this last cuff link, and then go.
Kevin: Are you kidding me? We’re great brothers. I would want me as a brother.
Kate: Mom, you are not in my way. You are my way.
Alps by Novo Amor & Ed Tullett
Although it’s more memorable than last year’s finale, I still expected a more impactful closer after such a brilliant season.