As Randall and Kevin toast their sister and Toby on the big day, we get a glimpse into their respective futures.
"This Is Us" wrapped its second season in uplifting fashion, with the wedding of Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan), while offering us tantalizing teasers of things to come. Perhaps most excitedly, we've been given the promise that the future we glimpsed of an adult Tessa spending time with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) wasn't just a one-off moment; there's a story to be told in that time.
In fact, during Randall's speech at the wedding, we got three glimpses into the future, one for each of the Big 3. Randall's was a return to the aforementioned future with Tess as a social worker. As for Kevin, his future is looking brighter with a new girl on his arm and a trip to reconnect with his father. It's poor Kate we're most worried about.
The poor girl has been through so much in her life, and all we know is that at some point Toby is going to have to adjust his meds. He's lying on a bed looking miserable when Kate tells him this, so it could be a medical malady (the cancer threat people have been theorizing) or he could be spiraling into a deep depression.
But all of that is yet to come. Tonight was about Kate and Toby's wedding and featured a notable jump ahead from last week's Deja-centric episode. In that episode, Deja's (Lyric Ross) mother declared that she needed to leave her daughter. By the time we pick up the action, she's already signed away her parental rights, and Deja is more sullen and angry than ever. Remember when she was showing growth and promise? Remember that? Like, seven days ago? Yeah, that's all gone. It kind of sucks.
But while Deja has regressed, this week featured plenty of growth for the rest of the Pearson family, and the main four specifically. Kate had a monumental breakthrough in regards to her relationship with her father, while Kevin showed surprising maturity in his speech at the wedding reception, which proved cathartic for the cast and the viewers.
For the last time this season, we’re going to single out the show’s most powerful moments, scoring them by how many tissues we tore through just to watch them. Believe us, these are happy tears of anguish.
"If Anyone's a Walking Reminder of Jack, It's Me"
If there's one character who needs some work done on his behalf in Season 3, it's poor Miguel (Jon Huertas). The guy has been the patient spouse of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) for years now, living in the shadow of his own best friend. He's been dumped on by the Pearsons so much it's become a family joke, but deep down inside, it's not a joke at all. As we've seen in countless flashbacks, Miguel has always loved Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), Rebecca and the kids. They were family to him long before they literally became family. It's time Miguel earned the respect he deserves for the unconditional love and patience he offers against unrelenting hostility. Here's hoping a rejuvenated Pearson family can cut the guy some slack in Season 3.
"I Forgot to Hate Them"
Cousin Zoe made a huge impact in just one short hour, and while her positive influence on Deja is clearly a work in progress -- that kid still has a lot of anger and frustration to work through -- Zoe is clearly not going anywhere any time soon. The closing moments of the episode offered us some tantalizing glimpses ahead in time, and in one of those timelines we saw Kevin and Zoe on a plane headed to Vietnam. This is clearly a trip to help Kevin connect to his father, but it's interesting that Beth's cousin is his new girl. That should make family gatherings interesting. It remains to be seen if Beth -- who has her own issues with Kevin -- will be supportive of him hooking up with the beloved cousin her family raised like her little sister. We imagine this will not be all smooth sailing, but we can't wait to see how it plays out. But it's the fact that Zoe went through almost exactly what Deja is dealing with that makes her instrumental in Deja's recovery from being abandoned by her mother. The first steps were made tonight, but there is much work yet to be done to help Deja process her emotions.
"You Are Not in My Way, You Are My Way"
We never even fully realized it, but Kate has been living in Rebecca's shadow in even more ways that we realized. When she laid it out for her mother that she is trying to emulate her as a singer, and aspires to be like her as a mother and wife, we finally saw the divide in their relationship. Rebecca is and has been an amazingly strong and powerful woman, and that's been something Kate has felt inadequate against. But rather than rail against her mother, she now sees her as inspiration, someone to hopefully become in her own way. This moment should usher in a great understanding between the women, and hopefully serves as yet another breakthrough for Kate so we can start to see her flower into the positive spirit she was always meant to be. We're ready for a happy and uplifting Kate, though that flash-forward has us scared to death for her and poor Toby.
"I've Gotta Let Go a Little Now"
While her brothers thought she was skipping out on her wedding, Kate was doing anything but. She was preparing herself for her wedding, and in a moment of clarity over the ice cream shop that was no longer, Kate realized that Jack was her everything in the past, but he can't carry that role into her future. "I've gotta make room for Toby," she told his urn before dumping his remaining ashes at a tree the two of them shared near the cabin. This was a hugely symbolic moment for Kate, as she has carried the weight and guilt of his passing for far too long. This should promise a lighter and brighter future for her, as she fully commits herself to the new love of her life, the man her father said would be better than him. Toby will never be able to replace Jack in Kate's heart, but he's damned well deserving of his own full-sized space there.
"I Think the Four of Us Should Release That Breath Together"
Kevin may have been talking to his siblings and mother, but he was also speaking to all of us; the fans who made "This Is Us" a juggernaut hit. We all have been holding onto and mourning Jack Pearson since we discovered he was going to die, and even seeing it just tore us apart. Like the characters, we've found ourselves struggling to reconcile with a present that he's not a part of. But as we saw tonight, he was very much a part of Kate's wedding, and he's a part of every step these characters take for as long as the show is on. Jack isn't going anywhere, so it's time to stop mourning his death and celebrate all those moments to come that he'll still be a part of.