If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: The Pearsons come together to celebrate Kate and Toby’s wedding. (TVGuide)
Writers: Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger
Director: Ken Olin
Running Time: 45mins
Wow, just wow. I have no words to describe just how beautiful, amazing, and wonderful the season two finale of This Is Us is. It is such an intricate balance of emotions, humor, and life that it is no surprise why so many people have fallen in love with this amazing show. The season two finale ended on a somber note but took us through a highly anticipated event, Kate and Toby’s wedding.
What is most intriguing about the season two finale is that rather than focusing on just the wedding, it focuses on the Pearsons letting go and attempting to move on. Season two has spent a lot of time preparing the audience for the wedding to come while simultaneously keeping Jack’s death at the epicenter of it all. The finale follows in the same note as Kate grapples with “making room” for Toby in her heart but letting the tragic memories of Jack take a backseat, well as much as they can anyway.
The episode opens with a wedding, but not the Ka-Toby wedding as we would assume. Instead, This Is Us tugs at our heartstrings from the get-go with a dream sequence of Jack and Rebecca renewing their vows at their 40th wedding anniversary. This sequence is embedded throughout the episode as it shows glimpses of what the future may have looked like with Jack still alive. Whether it is seeing the family dancing or Rebecca singing the song, “Moonshadow” that first caught Jack’s attention, these scenes are utter perfection. At the episode’s end, we learn that these aren’t just dream sequences but in fact, dreams Kate has been having over the course of the last few weeks.
The sweetest part of Kate’s dreams is that they are a part of her through and through and a way of her honoring Jack’s memory. For the first time since This Is Us started, Kate is taking these memories and acknowledging them rather than letting them torture her and bring her down. Jack was an amazing father and it’s that aspect of him she wants to always remember. She decides to place his urn by their guestbook, use one of Jack’s belongings for her “something old”, and have their wedding at the cabin that they went to as kids.
Randall and Kevin play a big part in Kate’s wedding day as they scramble around to make sure everything is as it should be–including finding Kate when she goes M.I.A during the middle of the day. This episode also introduces three new characters to the mix including Toby’s parents and Beth’s cousin (who, it seems, will be playing a huge part in next season!) All three are a perfect addition to the cast and bring life to the story in just one episode–a testament to how perfect everything about This Is Us is.
Randall and Beth had some issues of their own concerning Deja after Shauna terminated her parental rights. Feeling broken, lost, and confused, Deja lashes out at everyone and everything. Their future as Deja’s adopted parents seems overwhelming and frightening as they discuss their worst-case scenarios of the situation. Things seem to find some stability after Deja meets Beth’s cousin Zoey who shares her story of growing up with Beth and her family and resenting them when they weren’t the target of her anger.
When Toby forgets Jack’s old t-shirt as Kate’s “something old”, Kate takes off for the day to find something meaningful to use–including a trip to the old ice cream shop Jack took her to as a kid. However, the place isn’t the same and the banana pudding flavor is gone so she heads off to the one place she can make peace with everything, the old tree stump they used to sit on during their visits. It is here Kate has a conversation with Jack and tells him she must let bits of him go (literally, his ashes) to make room for Toby.
There is a very sweet moment between Kate and Rebecca as Kate gets ready to head down the aisle. “You aren’t in my way mom, you are my way.” Sigh, this moment speaks volumes to the tumultuous relationship the both of them have shared over the course of their lives and is absolutely perfect and endearing. As Kate walks down the aisle, a flashback to Jack talking to young Kate about her wedding day starts playing. It is a perfectly placed moment as Kate and Toby exchange rings and say their “I do’s”.
The wedding reception that follows shows Randall and Kevin’s heartfelt speeches about their dear sister and letting go of all the pain and burden the four of them have held onto all these years. During Randall’s speech, we see glimpses of the future: an older Randall talking to Tess about visiting “her”, Kevin landing in Vietnam with Zoey (yes, Zoey!) by his side, and a depressed Toby in need of medication.
Wow, just wow. While the future remains unclear and the path to this future unknown, the season two finale of This Is Us reminded all of us that life will always go on, and we will survive. See ya next season!