by Julian Spivey
The finale episode of NBC’s six-season family drama “This Is Us” ended on Tuesday, May 24 with a quiet afternoon for the pre-teen Pearsons (which I assume puts us around 1992 or 1993) and the adult Pearson Big Three (Kevin, Kate and Randall) in the aftermath of Rebecca’s death in the previous episode.
“Us,” written by series creator Dan Fogelman, might not go down as one of the five-to-10 greatest episodes of “This Is Us,” at least in my mind, but it does make for a calm, nice way for the beloved series to say goodbye.
In a previous episode after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was worried about forgetting the little things that make up a life. This series finale was all about the little things: spending a quiet weekend afternoon with the ones you love, watching home videos, playing board games, teaching your sons how to shave.
This was a brilliant way by Fogelman of bringing the final scene from the previous week’s episode where a dying Rebecca is walking through a train representing her life and when she gets to caboose she lies down in a bed beside Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). The finale features the conversation between the two with Rebecca saying she’s scared to leave the children behind and Jack assuring her that she’s done a terrific job of raising them, especially after his premature death.
In the modern timeline – which is actually some time in the future – the Big Three are experiencing life without their mom. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is struggling to write a eulogy and wondering if life is all “pointless,” which he ultimately realizes it isn’t when Deja reveals to him the sex of her baby (Randall is having a grandson and thrilled by it). Kate (Chrissy Metz) and especially Kevin (Justin Hartley) don’t really have huge moments in the finale, which is kind of unfortunate, but there’s a lot packed into the 42-minute running time of the episode. Kate does have a nice moment with ex-husband Toby (Chris Sullivan) where he tells her both her mom and him are proud of her, and he loves her and would relive their marriage all over again if he had the chance.
A couple of my favorite moments of the episode appeared in the first half and provided the heavy episode with some nice levity and humor with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) going through the worst case scenarios with Randall in post-Rebecca life in a poking at him way that only Beth can get away with. I also loved Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) ribbing Kevin about how he changed his life the day he knocked on his trailer door and brought him into this loving, caring family and how that really “messed up” his life in a sarcastic manner. It was textbook Nicky.
The Big Three have a wonderful moment on the porch of the family cabin where they wonder what they’re going to do next. Kate is going to continue opening music schools for the blind. Kevin is going to focus on his nonprofit. Randall is thinking about going to a state fair in Iowa, the first steps to potentially running for President of the United States. Kate wonders if their mom, being the glue of the family, passing on will lead to the siblings drifting apart. Randall and Kevin assure her this is never going to happen.
“Us” was a perfectly pleasant way for “This Is Us” to send fans off with both a smile on their face and tears streaming down their cheeks, which has been the ultimate vibe for the series the entire way.