What an ending! This Is Us‘ season 1 finale has come and gone, and the many fans of the buzzed-about NBC drama are likely wiping the tears off their faces at this very moment. The first season of this remarkable show has captivated multitudes, and the Tuesday, March 14, episode definitely did not disappoint. Read on for eight moments that had Us utterly sobbing.
1. We Met Jack and Rebecca Before They Started Dating
The episode kicked off with a flashback to a young Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) in their late twenties. At the time, Jack was a 28-year-old, down-on-his-luck mechanic freshly out of Vietnam, and Rebecca was an aspiring singer with little success.
While at dinner with her pretentious upper-class friends, Rebecca was urged to give up her dreams in favor of finding a nice man. One of her girlfriends even insisted her singing career was too “risky.”
Jack didn’t have it easy, either, coming home to a whiskey-guzzling father who, instead of saying “hello,” said, “My unemployed 28-year-old son is probably gonna live in my attic until the end of time.”
2. Ben Tried to Kiss Rebecca Backstage
Aside from finding out how they met in the ’70s, we also saw Jack and Rebecca in the ’90s during the first show of her tour. Jack strode into the bar where Rebecca was set to perform, and immediately started taking shots of whiskey. Meanwhile, Rebecca found herself nervously venting backstage to her bandmate — and ex-boyfriend — Ben (Sam Trammell). We were not prepared when Ben grabbed Rebecca’s hands and leaned in for a kiss — and clearly, neither was Rebecca. Distraught, she asked him, “What the hell were you thinking, Ben? Is this why you asked me to join the band?” She then furiously stormed out of the bar, saying that Jack “was right.”
3. Jack and Ben’s Violent Fight
After getting sufficiently wasted at the bar, Jack stormed backstage in search of Rebecca, only to find Ben instead. Ben, unaware that Rebecca hadn’t updated Jack, immediately blurted, “Don’t punish her because I crossed the line.” Jack immediately started punching Ben in the face, getting into an all-out drunken brawl. When Rebecca finally showed up, Jack backed away from the fight, surrendering. Rebecca sadly admitted, “I have to drive him home, Ben. It’s over. It’s all over.” As far as Rebecca was concerned, her national tour was done.
4. Jack’s Winning (and Losing) Poker Game
A dejected young Rebecca received a rejection letter from a record label, and then she picked up the phone to ask someone to set her up on a date. Meanwhile, we saw Jack receive a phone call about being set up with a “knockout.” This led Us to wonder, was this how they met?
Afterward, in an effort to loosen his good-guy reins and escape his oppressive home life by making some money, our hero Jack momentarily turned to the dark side by entering a shady poker game.
Jack, ordering a club soda, joined the game and miraculously won the entire thing. However, when he tried to leave after the first winning hand, he was swiftly beaten and robbed by the guys running the game. They even threatened to kill him! Jack lamented to his friend Daryl that he tried his whole life not to be like his father: “For me, you know, I tried to go the other way. Be respectful to women. Do my part in ‘Nam. Be a good man. And look where it’s gotten me. When am I gonna get my break, man?”
5. Jack and Rebecca’s Big Fight
After arriving home from the bar in the ’90s, tensions were running high between Jack and Rebecca. Jack admitted to recently drinking heavily, and Rebecca yelled at him for driving to the theater drunk. She said, “That would be some way to leave us. Three teenagers.” Rebecca then admitted that Ben had tried to kiss her. The fight evolved into a discussion about Jack resenting Rebecca for restarting her singing career.
Rebecca shouted that this was “the first time in years that I had something for myself. … I have no life. I have zero life. I am a housewife to three teenagers who don’t need me anymore. … I am a friggin’ ghost.” Jack responded by saying, “You are a 40-year-old woman singing covers in pubs. That is not a career.” The fight quickly devolved into a major screaming match. Rebecca ended it by going upstairs and asking, “What do you love about me right now, Jack? … Next time you tell me you love me, make sure you’re not just doing it out of habit.” What an emotional roller coaster!
6. Jack and Rebecca Almost Turn to the Dark Side
We then saw Rebecca, in the ’70s, arrive for her blind date, only to be kept waiting at the restaurant. We moved to young Jack’s storyline and saw him waiting in the dark outside of Ray’s bar, preparing to (gasp!) rob it. Jack whispered to his friend Daryl that he was going to “go around and collect all that happy-hour cash from the cash register.”
Then to our surprise, a young finance guy, Ethan, showed up at Rebecca’s table. After boring her with talk of mergers and acquisitions, Rebecca stormed out of the date to head to an open mic.
Just when hw was supposed to rob the cash register at Ray’s bar, Jack looked up and noticed a beautiful woman singing onstage. Yup, it was Rebecca. They instantly locked eyes and exchanged smiles. After the show they started talking and, well, the rest was history.
7. Jack’s Emotional Speech
In the ’90s, Jack and Rebecca faced each other the morning after their awful fight. Rebecca suggested that Jack stay with Miguel (Jon Huertas) to give them some air. Yikes.
Jack then launched into one of his amazing speeches, saying, “You know, I was supposed to have another date the night that we met.” The ice was broken. He then said, “You asked me a question before. What is it that I love about you now? I love the mother that you are. I love that you are still the most beautiful woman in any room. And that you laugh with your entire face. I love that you dance funny. And not sexy. Which makes it even sexier. But most of all, I love that you’re still the same woman who all those years ago ran out of a blind date.”
He continued, “You’re not just my great love story, Rebecca. You were my big break. And our love story — I know it may not feel like it right now, baby, but I promise it’s just gettin’ started.” He then picked up his bags and walked out the door. Considering we know Jack dies around this same time period, he may be tragically wrong about it being the start of their story.
8. Kate’s Going to Sing, Kevin’s Going to His Audition and Randall Is Adopting
Intercut with Jack’s big speech were some huge reveals from his present-day children, and they were clearly taking after their mother, whose dreams were higher than the sky. Kate (Chrissy Metz) turned to her fiance, Toby (Chris Sullivan), and said, “I know what I wanna do — now that we’re back — for work. … I wanna sing.” Just like Rebecca!
We then saw Kevin (Justin Hartley) tell his current girlfriend and ex-wife, Sophie (Alexandra Breckinridge), that he was determined to get the part in the Ron Howard movie as he got into a cab. In true Jack form, Kevin added, “I love you.”
And finally, Randall, while looking at old photos of himself as a child being held lovingly by his parents, Jack and Rebecca, turned to his wife, Beth, and said, “Beth? I want to adopt a baby.” Incredible.
Tell Us: What did you think of the season finale? What do you expect to see on the next season of This Is Us?