We didn’t think it was possible, but we’re pretty sure this episode made Us cry harder than any other This Is Us episode. The entire Tuesday, January 17, installment took place over the course of a couple days in the ’80s, right before the big birth scene, and we literally ran out of tears by the end of it. Bravo, This Is Us, you really did it this time! Here are eight moments that really made Us lose it. And who knew an episode that didn’t feature Toby (Chris Sullivan) once could make Us cry?!
Rebecca Forgot Jack’s Birthday
The story line for Rebecca (Mandy Moore) centered around her uncomfortable late-stage pregnancy grouchiness getting in the way of remembering to celebrate the birthday of husband Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). After yelling at him all morning, she plopped herself down in the kitchen and bit into a pickle, calling herself a “monster.” After moving awkwardly over to the calendar to check on her due date, she noticed a glaring problem — today was indeed his special day! Ugh!
Dr. K’s Heartbreaking Loss
Dr. Katowski (Gerald McRaney) then gave Us a glimpse at his personal life for the first time. We saw him get up in the morning and eat cereal while talking to his late wife’s empty kitchen chair. Our hearts sank when he rebuffed an invitation for a dinner date from a friend who had lost her husband. When he looked down at his wedding ring and said, “I can’t seem to take it off,” we had trouble processing.
The Firefighter Who Fought for His Marriage
We also got to spend some quality time watching firefighter Joe try to pick up the broken pieces of his marriage. When we eventually put it together that this man was the same firefighter who brought Randall to the hospital, we nearly lost it. Before he dropped newborn baby Randall off, however, we got to witness his attempt at bringing the baby home to his forlorn wife as a last-ditch “miracle” to save their marriage.
While they didn’t end up keeping the baby, his wife was so touched by his gesture that she agreed to “start over” with him and asked him out on a coffee date. Too many tears to count!
Jack Turned Down Golf With Miguel to Be With His Wife
OK, Jack is officially the best man of all time, right? Even if he’s fictional? We got so emotional watching him sulk away from the house after Rebecca forgot his birthday. He then met up with Miguel (Jon Huertas) — Rebecca’s future husband, but let’s not think about that right now! — for a round of golf. Miguel and a group of golfing men explained to Jack that he needs the sport in his life as a means of escaping his wife and children now that he’s going to be a father. One buddy even said that golf is “five blissful hours where your wife won’t tell you you’re holding him wrong.”
Jack stopped them and admitted about his wife, “She’s like exorcist-level bad [right now], but I still don’t want to escape her.… I want to freeze time just so I can get a little bit more.” He left the country club without even hitting a ball, determined to see his wife. Can he get any more perfect?
Rebecca Delivers Speech to Her In-Utero Triplets
Following a long day of scrambling to find ingredients to make Jack some last-minute birthday cupcakes, Rebecca took some time to talk to her babies as they kicked around inside of her. In the tearjerking speech, she gushed, “You guys are going to freak out when you see how awesome your dad is.” She went on to say, “I think I’m nervous about you guys meeting me.… I am not gonna be the perfect mom.”
The speech ended with her saying, “I love you so much, it hurts, and I haven’t even met you yet! It’s crazy. So I guess what I’m trying to say is you are gonna have to take the good with the bad when it comes to me.” Rebecca, don’t be so hard on yourself! Jack surprised her by filming the whole thing with his brand new video camera — a little birthday present to himself.
Dr. K Visits His Wife’s Grave
After getting into a small tiff with his grown son over moving on and dating again, Dr. K said, “I will never move on, so stop asking me to. She was my wife. She was my light.” In the following scene, we got to see him visit his late wife’s grave and break down.
He laid down a bouquet of flowers and said, “Carol, I’m gonna say something now, and you have to promise now not to be mad at me.… Baby, I don’t know if I can keep doing this without you anymore. And I’m really not sure that I want to. God, I miss being with you.” He then broke down crying. The scene was cut short with his beeper going off — it was time for the triplets to be delivered.
Dr. K’s Transformation
The triplets were born, and Dr. K revealed the sad news of one of them passing away. He then shared a private moment with Jack, the grieving father, opening up to him about Dr. K’s own wife losing their child during childbirth. He then persuaded Jack to adopt baby Randall. This interaction ignited a change in the doctor and caused him to start getting rid of his wife’s old belongings in their house.
In a voice-over, Dr. K said to his wife, “I told a young man about the baby yesterday. I haven’t spoken to anyone about that in a really long time.… It seems he may have taken the worst thing that’s ever happened to him in his life and tried to push on. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I don’t think of you. But I hope that this is what you would want me to do.” We then saw a shot of him laughing and eating dinner with the pretty woman from the grocery store.
Rewatching the Home Video
The final tearjerking moment of the episode had to be when they fast-forwarded to a moment when the “big three” were little kids, watching the homemade video from earlier of Rebecca chatting to them as fetuses. The happy family giggled as she put her hand on her stomach and smiled. Is it possible to get more tear ducts installed? I’m pretty sure we ran out.
Tell Us: What did you think of this episode that took place entirely in the ’80s? Did you miss the adult versions of the “big three”?
This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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