‘This Is Us' Season 5 Finale Ends With a Surprising Twist, and We're Into It
"This Is Us" just ended its fifth and penultimate season with one of the biggest twists in a while, and one that we certainly did not see coming from a mile away. Kevin (Justin Hartley) didn't get married this week, but someone else is about to.
We knew, thanks to a flash forward to 12 years in the future, that something was up with Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan). He appeared to be in a hotel room while Kate seemed to be elsewhere, and we just had a hunch that perhaps they were not together anymore. They weathered a texting scandal with Toby's Crossfit pal and dealt with unemployment, then in the latest episode, Toby revealed to Kate that he had gotten a job that would require him to be in San Francisco most of the time.
Kate tried to quit her job by calling her boss, Phillip (Chris Geere), but he refused to let her go because apparently, Kate's good at her job and also sometimes funny.
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That left Kate and Toby at a bit of a crossroads, and the flash forward at the end of the episode reveals where that crossroad takes them: Divorce!
Around five years in the future (based on Kevin saying that he's 45), Kate is getting remarried to none other than Phillip, and there's no Toby in sight. Reader, we screamed. Never have we been so excited for Kate Pearson story. Take us to midseason 2022 right now.
Now, don't get us wrong, we have nothing against Toby or Kate, but together, they haven't been fun to watch since their early days. It makes sense that Kate might also find a second chance at love while thriving at her new job, though we've got a long way to go before we even get to that love story considering the fact that she and Toby are currently relatively happy together. Between this wedding, that family gathering at Rebecca's house and grown-up baby Jack and Hailey, there's a lot of ground to cover in the final season.
On a conference call with press, creator Dan Fogelman promised that "all of those timelines are going to be brought to completion and explained."
"There will be no looming questions when we get through the end of next season," he said. "Everything will be resolved, and you can't always claim that 100 percent of your audience is going to like every single decision you make for the characters, but I don't think anything will be left on the table. So, all those locations you've been to, all those future timelines we've been to, they will all get resolutions."
He also shared that the show will "heavily" live both in that wedding timeline and the family gathering by Rebecca's bedside, while still exploring all the other Pearson family moments that the show has already been exploring.
"We have been working tirelessly to kind of set up this rewarding final season to make all the pieces fit together," he explained. "We know what we owe, we know what our plan is and that's been part of the great benefit of, from the very beginning, the early success of the show allowing us to kind of know our end game, has allowed us to build for what we hope will be a very rewarding final season."
We also got a promise that we will finally be getting the full story of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel (Jon Huertas), meaning there are multiple second weddings on the horizon.
Other than the identity of Kate's future second husband, the finale flash forward revealed several other important things. Nicky (Griffin Dunne) is married by then, and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is a "Rising Star." We don't know what he's a rising star in, but it's enough to get him a write up in a fancy magazine (New York Magazine? Vanity Fair?) with that headline. We're assuming politician, but Kevin's got a Hollywood in, so who knows?
Of course, the flash forward was only a brief blip at the end of an episode that was supposed to be a happy celebration of Kevin and Madison's (Caitlin Thompson) love. The only problem was that Madison loved Kevin, but Kevin loved "their family." She called off the wedding just a couple of hours before it was supposed to happen. But, in happy news for those of us who were really rooting for that couple (and still are), they seem to at least be in a very good, friendly and possibly even flirty place by the time Kate marries Phillip.
We checked carefully to see if either of them was wearing a wedding ring, but their left hands were carefully hidden through all of their scenes. (Darn you, Fogelman!)
"I think the main takeaway should be, yes, despite the heartbreak of that beautiful scene between them and the unusual breakup between them, clearly something is very right with them in that future timeline at the end of the episode. To go beyond that, I can't say," Fogelman teased of their interaction. "We have our plan, and we've had it for quite some time. And so, outside of reading into, you're not wrong in reading into, like, there's genuine affection, or maybe something more there, but outside of that, it's for next season to reveal."
As for Randall's rising star, Fogelman couldn't say much, but he did say that they've had a plan "for a while" and have been preparing for the story with "slight indications" of Randall's profile growing both locally and nationally. (Never forget the accidental strip tease that went viral!)
It sounds like nearly everything that was set up in this finale has been the plan for a long time, and we're about to finally see what kind of trees are going to grow out of all the seeds the "This Is Us" team has been planting. To get a taste of some of what's to come, here's everything we know about the various futures on "This Is Us," so far.
"This Is Us" airs on NBC.
NBCUniversal is the parent company of E! and this station.
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This Is Us Wedding Finale Upends Everything With Surprise Time Jump, Shocking Twists
The penultimate season finale was all about the wedding of Kevin and Madison -- but a seemingly permanent jump into the future held the biggest surprises.
With its penultimate Season 5 finale, "This Is Us" actually traversed to a time period we've not seen before. Enter, if you will, a world where the Big 3 are 45 years old ... so four to five years ahead.
And it looks like we might be staying there -- at least for the main parts of the storyline. The usual time jumps ahead and back are slated to continue, and even intensify as we move toward the planned endgame for the wild emotional ride that is the Pearson family saga.
There were plenty of emotions in this finale, too, as the entire family converged for the big wedding between Kevin and Madison. The two of them have become an adorable couple we've been rooting for, but it's not been an orthodox or easy road for them.
Certainly, a one-night stand leading to twins isn't the most traditional way to start a relationship. But one thing was made clear a couple of weeks ago. Despite how it began, Madison truly loves Kevin. But does he love her? If he did, would he even know?
Kevin's love life has been a mess for just about as long as it's existed. He's been married and divorced, hung up on ex Sophie and never really seemed willing to put a relationship ahead of his career or even his destructive behavior.
Here, finally, he saw a reason to settle down. But Madison's question was a valid one. She pulled him aside before the ceremony and asked him if he loved her. Not if he loved the kids or their family, because that much he's made clear. Does he love her.
It's a fair question, one with added emotional resonance when a few flashback sequences for her showed that her mother abandoned her with a cold dispassionate father who basically told her to be grateful for anyone willing to give her the time of day.
It turned out to be a big day for a lot of the family, with Rebecca finally having a real talk with Randall about all that she knew and hid from him over the years about his birth family, Kate and Toby finally opening up to one another about where they're at in their lives -- communication, people! -- and Beth and Tess finally coming together after a tumultuous year.
All of that was rendered nearly moot, though, as the closing five minutes jumped us ahead those four to five years and like the big flash-forward to Rebecca seemingly on her deathbed, we were left scrambling for context clues to figure out what's going on there.
As we do every week, we're going to single out the show's most powerful moments, scoring them by how many tissues we tore through just to watch them. Believe us, these are happy tears of anguish.
Then we're going to take some time to pick apart that flash-forward scene to see if we can put together any clues or thoughts about what's going on with everyone, and why we can't seem to pick our jaws up off the ground just yet.
"Go Back, Be Cute"
We absolutely love Uncle Nicky. We love the sense of vibrancy and life he's finding, and we love his unending awkwardness, and how endearing it's turned out to be. His relationship with Kevin is absolutely adorable, too. We're happy for Nicky that he's found this family and found love and companionship -- we'll get to that later -- after all those years alone.
"I Need to Go Back to Work ... Emotionally"
It's about damned time that Toby finally opens up and is honest with Kate about what he needs in life. We give even more credit to Kate for realizing the meaning behind their wedding day, going from frustrated with him to determined to make it work. We've yet to see a long-distance relationship work on this show, but we've been on Team Kate and Toby for a while now, despite a rocky last year or so that saw them really not there for one another. As we said above, way more on this later, too.
"Must Hug Grandchildren"
Okay, as awkward and weird as Nicky is, Miguel is still the OG awkward dude on this show, and we kind of love it. We're glad to hear that his story will finally get told next season, though we're not sure yet if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Remember that flash-way-forward left it unclear if Miguel is even still in the picture. Still, we love that he was ultimately declared a little creepy wanting to love on his grandkids. He's sweet, but has always been a little socially awkward. He and Nicky would make great friends.
"I Went Five for Five"
We've not spent much time on Deja and Malik's relationship, but Deja got a bombshell this week when he revealed that he'd secretly applied to Harvard ... and gotten in! It's incredibly exciting, but it's also in Boston. Remember what we said about long-distance relationships. It looks like we've got two couples that are poised to give it a shot. Our flash-way-forward showed a pregnant Deja, but does that mean she and Malik made it work, or is the father someone else? Either way, they're a cute couple, but we'd feel more invested with them if they'd gotten a little more screentime of late.
Beth has been trying all year to connect with Tess, to understand her place in the LGBTQ+ community -- even as Tess herself seems to be uncertain. She's even tried to master the correct pronoun for Tess' nonbinary significant other, Alex. She didn't always get it right, but she n
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