Time flies when you’re watching and sobbing to This Is Us, and tonight we’ve finally reached the second season finale of the NBC/Fox series with the episode,“The Wedding”.
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.
But this being This Is Us, the final minutes of tonight’s episode revealed some serious stuff in quick flash forwards about what we might expect in season 3. During Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) toast to Kate and Toby, he says there’s “zero point in trying to control the future, because nobody knows where we’ll be even a year from now,” we get glimpses of the following, both positive and negative:
— On the presumed upside, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is flying to Vietnam with his new girlfriend, Beth’s cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd). Earlier in the episode, there was a beat when we thought he could potentially hook up with Kate’s maid of honor Madison (Caitlin Thompson). On the plane, Kevin holds a picture of Jack during his Vietnam War days. Why are you going to Vietnam, Kevin? During the final shot of the episode we see Zoe meeting Kevin at the punch bowl, complimenting him and saying she’s “a sucker for a good toast”.
–We see Toby in bed, depressed. Kate comes to his bedside and says, “I just spoke to the doctor, he wants you to come in tomorrow about adjusting your meds.” Oy. Earlier in the episode Toby’s parents pleaded with him not to marry Kate since she was a hot mess; that his first wife drove him to a dark depression when she left. Toby waves off his parents’ concerns, exclaiming, “Kate is not like Josie (his first wife)…She would never hurt me!” Famous last words? There’s also some gloomy foreshadowing when Kate tells her mom that Toby isn’t in her dreams about Jack and Rebecca’s 40th anniversary. God only knows what’s in store for the newlyweds.
–There’s a shot of Deja (Lyric Ross) smashing the windshield of Randall’s Mercedes with what looks to be Jack’s baseball bat. After Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall worried at the start of the episode about Deja going down the wrong path, it looks like that’s exactly where she’s headed. “I feel like the moment she heard her mom say to the judge that she wanted to terminate all parental rights, something switched in her,” Beth tells Randall earlier tonight regarding Deja’s massive mood swing. They fear the worst. Cousin Zoe tries to ease Deja’s anger; like her, she was a teen angry at the world, no thanks to a mother who dumped her at her aunt’s house when she was a child. Zoe, for the short term, seems to make some sort of impression on Deja, as the teen actually gets dressed for the wedding (but then later goes missing at the end).
–Ten years from now, we see an older Tess and Randall, the latter who cryptically tells his daughter, “It’s time to go see her, Tess,” to which she responds, “I’m not ready.” “Me neither,” responds Randall. Yikes, they have to be referring to Beth…or maybe Deja?
Overall, tonight was a moment of catharsis for Kate. As adults, Jack’s children are still rocked by their father’s death, and it’s squarely haunting Kate prior to her nuptials. At one point, she breaks away from the family and all the pre-wedding activities and retreats to a spot in the woods she frequented with Jack with an urn of his ashes under her arm.
Older Kate tells the urn, “You remember when the carnival would come to town every summer with those old roller coasters? I loved riding those with you, feeling so scared, but so safe both at the same time. I’ve been holding onto that feeling for a really long time now. That feeling of you next to me. But, Dad, I’m getting married today. And I’ve got to make room for Toby, so I’ve got to let go a little now.” And we see her getting up and preparing what looks to be like she is about to dump some of his ashes out near the tree.
Another takeaway for fans tonight is that it’s the first time we see Milo Ventimiglia act opposite Chrissy Metz as older Jack and older Kate in a scene. Thanks to fantasy sequences, such rare interactions can occur.