The episode is titled “Her,” and we get to see “her:” an older Rebecca (Mandy Moore), the Pearson family matriarch. So much of “This Is Us” centers on what happens to the Pearsons without the larger-than-life figure of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), but the finale asks us to consider what becomes of the family when the other constant, Rebecca, is no longer able to provide her steadying influence.
Here’s a rundown of what we learned in the finale, and the new questions that we hope will be answered in September when “This Is Us” returns with a new season:
Everyone’s favorite couple remains intact
Thank the heavens, Randall and Beth make it. This story line has been the most unnerving this season, and we’re not sure why they didn’t think about couples’ therapy. Anyway, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) finally figures out how to make it through the impasse: Move to Philadelphia, where Randall (Sterling K. Brown) can work and she can open up her own dance studio. Can she have it all? Apparently, yes!
Randall, meanwhile, decides he should resign, and despite how much some of us really dislike the councilman story line, it’s probably best he stays put (if he steps down, they’ll have to hold a special election, paid for with taxpayer money. In this economy?!).
But Randall initially resists the move idea, saying he doesn’t want his family to uproot their lives because of him. Why did he not think of any of this before running for office? We’re not sure why residing in the city where one is elected to serve is such a novel concept to him, but hey, he’s a political newbie and we suppose that’s part of his charm to voters?
The flash-forward scene shows Randall warmly and sweetly greet Beth, who is wearing her wedding ring. Phew!
Another couple doesn’t make it.
Did you care that much about Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe (Melanie Liburd)? Surely someone did. Well, splitsville for them, so Kevin says goodbye to the worldly Zoe, who introduced him to the wonders of pour-over coffee (truly, how did Kevin in all of his fancy Hollywood life never experience pour over?).
Zoe made it very clear she did not want kids, and Kevin seemed to be cool with it. But one afternoon with his nieces is all it took for him to realize he probably did want kids. Even more, he thought Zoe, who said she has thought a lot about this, would change her mind.
Future Kevin is Papa Kevin. Who is the mom?
The older version of Kevin appears to have done quite well for himself (they all meet up in his house, and it is fancy). He also has a son, who we’re guessing is somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. We don’t see the gray Kevin (he stepped out to get food for his guests) and, more importantly, we do not know who his child’s mother is, and whether he has any more children.
Baby Jack grows up, but are Toby and Kate still together?
Toby (Chris Sullivan) confirms that his son Jack is on his way to Kevin’s house when he says “they’re on their way.”
We could assume that Kate (Chrissy Metz) is other person who makes up the “they,” but the “This Is Us” writers left it intentionally vague, so go ahead and speculate over the next several months.
But it doesn’t look good for Kate and Toby. It was Randall who encouraged Toby to come to Kevin’s house, a house he apparently has never been in before (“Man, Kevin’s house is huge,” Toby says upon entering.) Some eagle-eyed viewers noted that Toby isn’t wearing a wedding ring anymore. That could mean they are no longer married, or he forgot it on his trip, or, even darker, that Toby is a widower.
Rebecca is not doing well
We learned in previous episodes that Randall, Tess, Beth and Toby were going to see Rebecca. In the finale, we finally see her: an elderly Rebecca rests in bed and when Randall walks into her room, he has to identify himself as her son. We’re assuming Rebecca has Alzheimer’s or dementia.
We do have a few questions about her condition, namely how long has she been sick and what has been the impact on the larger family dynamic.
Nicky is back in their lives. How did that happen?
Did you think you saw the last of Nicky (Griffin Dunne)? Well not only has he returned in their lives, but he’s apparently been there for some time. At the very least his presence at Rebecca’s bedside comes as no surprise to Randall, who treats it as very matter-of-fact.
So we’re left wondering: When did Nicky return? Perhaps his presence reminds Rebecca of her first husband, Jack. Has Nicky been a part of the larger family for some time now? How does he look so good given his lifestyle the last time we saw him?
Where is Miguel?
We didn’t get very much insight this season on how, exactly, the romance between Miguel (Jon Huertas) and Rebecca went down. Now we just want to know what happened to him in the future. He’s not in the room with Rebecca, nor does it seem like anyone expects him to be there. Is he no longer living? Did he just step out for a moment? Did they divorce?
And where are Deja and Annie Pearson?
We’ve already seen that adult Tess (Iantha Richardson) is a social worker, but in this flash-forward, there is no sign of adult Deja or Annie. Maybe they’re on their way, or living elsewhere, or estranged — who knows with this show!
Some miscellaneous questions
This is a very fancy house and it has futuristic coffee technology but where in the United States is it located? We’re led to believe that Beth was able to pop over from her dance studio, so unless she opened a different school from the one she planned to open in Philadelphia, Kevin’s house is on the East Coast. But again, this is left open-ended.
Beth made sure to bring the old pin the tail on the donkey game, the one that the kids would play on their birthdays, so perhaps that’s meant to jog Rebecca’s memory. But Toby has brought sidewalk chalk, and we’re not exactly sure why.
And finally — why has cellphone technology not advanced more in the future? We’re pretty sure we saw Kevin’s kid looking at some kind of mobile device or handheld game, and at this point, we’d expect something a little more advanced.