Good grief! The second-to-last season 1 episode of NBC’s beloved new drama, This Is Us, had Us sobbing, smiling and laughing even more than usual. And if you thought this wild roller-coaster-ride of a show was ever lacking in surprises, think again.
The Tuesday, March 7, episode included one of the biggest and wildest twists yet. Watch Us Weekly‘s video recap above for all the highlights, and read on for the eight moments that absolutely destroyed us.
1. Jack Ruined Rebecca’s Last Night in Town
After checking in with the Big Three as they got ready for William’s (Ron Cephas Jones) memorial, the episode featured a heartbreaking flashback scene from the 1990s involving Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore). Jack, still on the heels of discovering that Rebecca’s bandmate was secretly her ex-boyfriend, found himself at a work party instead of home with his family on her last night before touring. When he finally rolled in late, Rebecca cornered him with, “How could you be late, today of all days?”
After gathering her belongings and saying sweet goodbyes to her three children, Jack left Rebecca with a very weak kiss on the cheek. The cheek! Kate, feeling her mother’s heartbreak, gave her dad a look and said, “Dad.” He then went outside to redo the very rude kiss just as the van was pulling away — it was too late!
2. Jessie Called Randall
Following William’s death, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) seemed at peace. While sitting in William’s old room and looking at the manuscript of poems he’d written, Randall got a call from William’s boyfriend, Jessie (Denis O’Hare). Jessie, heartbroken, told Randall that everyone at his Narcotics Anonymous group sent their love. He even revealed a story about William’s connection to a young addict named Sebastian, saying, “William feigned an interest in football, so the boy would have something to relate to. … He was a soft armrest for weary souls to lean on.”
If that wasn’t tear-jerking enough, a later scene involved Randall meeting with their postman, who gushed about William: “We became friends. He always asked about my daughter. I’m sorry for your loss. This neighborhood will miss him.”
3. Jack Told Kate Not to Worry About Him and Rebecca
Back in the ’90s while driving his daughter, Kate, Jack got hit with a sobering question. A teenage Kate asked, “Are you and mom alright? You don’t seem fine.” Jack responded, “You’ve got more things to worry about being a teenager. … Your mom and dad, we’re the last thing in the world you need to worry about.” Considering Jack’s death is heavily hinted to be coming soon, it seems like that sentiment may not be true.
4. William’s “Fun-eral”
As one of William’s final wishes, he had asked Randall and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) if their young daughters could be the ones to plan his memorial because they would make it “fun.” And fun it was! The girls greeted the entire Pearson family and announced, “Today we’re going to act out William’s perfect day.” They then made everyone eat William’s breakfast, which even included a dosage of pills (OK, they were M&Ms). They then drank blue Hawaiians — coincidentally the name of a cocktail and William’s favorite “strain of weed,” according to Beth.
Then Beth gave an incredible toast to William, as her daughters insisted that “eulogy” sounded too sad. She broke our hearts with, “I’m pretty mad at him. For leaving, I guess. Will was a lot of things. He was a father, an artist, cheater at every card game. God, he was my friend. I can look all over this house and see the memories that we shared. Every time I walk past the bathroom, I can hear him humming while he brushed his teeth. … He was endearing as hell. And even though we only had him for a few months, he’s part of our fabric now. We’ll remember things as before William and after William.” At this point, we were inconsolable.
5. Randall’s Dream About Jack and William
After the toast portion of the memorial ended, Kate (Chrissy Metz) ran out of the house sobbing. After swatting Toby (Chris Sullivan) away, she was surprised by Randall consoling her. Kate admitted, “That camp just, like, broke me open. … All this stuff is coming up about Dad. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this twice. I’m so sorry.”
Randall, as zen as we’ve seen him, responded with, “I’m OK. I had a dream last night that Dad and William met. I walked into the living room, and they were talking and laughing like old friends.” We then saw a shot of William and Jack bonding and laughing — a truly beautiful moment. Randall continued, “I’m not the guy to tell you how to handle your feelings. But I’ve learned that you gotta let ’em out, you gotta share ’em with the people that love you.”
6. Randall and Rebecca’s Reconciliation
After a quick flashback scene showing Jack rebuff the advances of a female coworker after blowing off steam at a bar, we were back to present day, where the Pearson clan embarked on William’s daily walk. Everyone wore brightly colored fedoras to honor his favorite hat, and Rebecca took this as an opportunity to reach out to Randall. “Your father — Jack, I mean — he taught you a lot about honesty and courage. But the truth is you came into this world pretty perfect,” she said. “And I think you got that from William.”
Rebecca then apologized profusely for withholding the truth about having met William years earlier. She explained, “I knew it would devastate you. It was such a big lie. … I am so sorry you didn’t have more time together, that it was my fault that you didn’t have more time together.” Randall leaned in and said, “I love you, Mom,” kissing her on the cheek and allowing for a whole lot of healing.
7. Randall Quit His Job!
There was a second attempt at opening night for Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) play. Before going on stage, his ex-wife and current girlfriend, Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), greeted him with crutches, so he could “break a leg.” Adorable. After the play, the entire family greeted Kevin with beams of pride, especially Randall, who said, “There’s now a man where the Manny once stood. Never been prouder.”
Right after the play, Randall turned to Beth and said, “I gotta stop by the office. … There’s just something I gotta take care of.” Before we knew it, he was in front of a board room, heroically quitting his demanding and thankless finance job. He told his boss and coworkers, “I’ve worked here for 10 years… I grew this company from a six-man operation to a 600-person machine. … My father died, man. And on the day of his memorial, you sent me pears. Which I’m allergic to. And you know this. … You sent a card with a one-line Hallmark message and a typed-out signature.”
When his boss asked what he was going to do, Randall replied, “I dunno, maybe instead of running in the morning, I’ll go for a walk, slow it down a little. Talk to my mailman. That seems like a good way to start the day.” He walked out the door victoriously. Go, Randall!
Oh, yeah — before we move on to the eighth and final bombshell of the night … Kevin later got a call from Ron Howard (playing himself), offering him a part in a movie because of his performance in the play. What a charmed life!
8. Jack’s Death Was Kate’s “Fault”
In the final, earth-shattering twist of the episode, Kate approached Toby, finally ready to tell him about her father’s death. She said, “If we’re gonna start a life together in L.A., then there is something that I need to tell you. You remember when I told you I couldn’t talk about my dad’s death? Well, that’s because it’s my fault. I’m the reason that he’s dead.” What. Just. Happened?! The episode ended with Jack leaving a message for young Kate, saying, “Hey, princess — it’s Dad. I wanted you to know that you were right. I’m gonna fix things with your mom. I love you, Katie girl.”
Considering the preview for next week’s episode included a shot of Jack pounding beers in his truck, we may be in for a drunk-driving-related, horrifying punch-to-the-gut of a finale.
Tell Us: What do you think about Kate saying her father’s death was her fault?
This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
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