‘This Is Us’ Explores Miguel’s Story & Romance With Rebecca in ‘Miguel’ (RECAP)

This Is Us Season 6 Jon Huertas Miguel
Spoiler Alert
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 15 of This Is Us, “Miguel.”]

This Is Us is finally shining a spotlight on Jon Huertas‘ Miguel in the aptly titled episode “Miguel” and it’s filling in some blanks on the character that’s managed to capture viewers’ hearts over the seasons.

While the episode is shared out of chronological order, we’re breaking down Miguel’s story from beginning to end in the recap, below. Beware of spoilers ahead as the episode tackles a wide range of time from Miguel’s youth to his old age.

Coming to America

Miguel’s story begins in Puerto Rico where he loves playing baseball and idolizes Roberto Clemente, but the days of youth are short-lived when his parents experience struggles with money and joblessness. As Miguel’s father lament being laid off from his job, he explains to his wife that there’s always the option of moving to the States and getting a job there.

This Is Us Yael Ocasio

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

When Miguel’s mother asks if they can take her sister who is in a wheelchair permanently and he says they can, she agrees that it’s the best option. So, when Miguel gets home, his father informs him that they’ll be moving to Pennsylvania and attempts to cheer him with the idea that he’ll get to see Roberto Clemente play with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In Pennsylvania, though, work and life are hard for Miguel’s dad who does landscaping. While accompanying his dad on a job, Miguel asks to use a bathroom and is told by his dad that he can use the customer’s bathroom right inside the door. Of course, the curious kid wanders beyond the boundaries and is lured in by a baseball game on the TV where the homeowner is enjoying the sporting event.

When Miguel realizes he’s been caught, he apologizes for walking in on the man who invites him to sit. The old man then says Miguel should ask his dad to attend a game, and Miguel mentions wanting to just watch a game. The man tells him it’s where you see the game that matters most. Taking this advice to heart, Miguel begins working harder to learn English by listening to music on the radio.

This Is Us Season 6 Jon Huertas

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The Rise & Fall of Young Miguel

In another time period, a more grown-up Miguel is called into a job interview under the name Mike Rivers. When he sits down, the potential employer asks if he speaks Spanish and Miguel admits that he does. This pleases the employer who asks when Miguel can start, to which he responds as soon as possible. Before exiting the man’s office, he admits that his name is Miguel Rivas, but that he hadn’t gotten a callback under that name.

Despite the hiring hiccup, Miguel enjoys the perks of his new job which his family takes note of when he visits for Christmas. When Miguel’s mom asks about his hair, Miguel says he doesn’t want to look like he came in from Puerto Rico yesterday. The comment sets a tone as he sits with his parents and mentions wanting to help his mother pay for care for her sister who is still living with the family. They won’t accept his money and it’s clear that his father isn’t pleased with his flashy life.

Miguel argues that his father moved them to the States and he’s only embracing what life in the States has to offer. Miguel asks his father why he resents the fact that he’s embracing it. The man doesn’t have an answer. When he leaves their house he heads to the bar to meet up with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and greets some friends when he walks in the door. As he walks to the back of the bar, he’s surprised to find Rebecca (Mandy Moore) has accompanied Jack there and complains that she doesn’t like him.

This Is Us Jon Huertas Wynn Everett

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Taking this as an opportunity to build a bond between his best friend and girlfriend, Jack tells Miguel he’s gonna take a look at his new car and forces Miguel and Rebecca to chat. As they make small talk, Rebecca asks why Miguel greets people by their names all of the time, and he says it’s a business trick, but she argues he doesn’t have to do it all of the time. This exchange breaks the ice a little as the pair laugh over the matter.

This bar meet-up then flows into future bar meet-ups, including the night that Miguel meets his first wife, Shelly (Wynn Everett). What follows is a fast-forward through Miguel’s family life with Shelly through happy times and difficult times. But the challenges become too big to balance as work takes priority over family and they break things off. A brief fast-forward in time takes viewers to the point in Miguel’s life when he’s moved to Texas to be closer to his family, but his kids won’t even return calls to attend sporting events with him.

One day, he receives a call from his mom who tells him that his father has died. When Miguel returns home, he is greeted by family and he checks in with his mom who continues to care for her sister who is now much older. She tells Miguel that his father died proud of him, but Miguel still wishes he had more time.

this is us season 6 mandy moore jon huertas

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

As they talk more, Miguel says he can’t understand how she’s able to care for her sister still. Miguel’s mother then reveals that she used to hate her sister growing up, but when she had a stroke at 24, she felt guilty for having felt that way. Miguel mentions how she’s ended up with a thankless job, and she admonishes him for thinking such a thing. As Miguel admits he’s been having a hard time, his mother promises he’ll find love again.

It doesn’t take long for Miguel who finds Rebecca’s profile on Facebook and sends her a message. Their conversations are pretty tame at first as they talk about their lives and tease each other about the latest host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which was their favorite show to watch together in the past. Eventually, their conversations turn into phone calls where they talk about making plans to see each other, and Miguel asks about her dating life, with Rebecca admitting that things fizzled with “boring Matt.”

When Miguel reveals he’ll be in town and asks to meet Rebecca for dinner, they address the elephant in the room shortly after sitting down at the table. Miguel tells Rebecca he’s been wondering if he made a mistake leaving all those years ago to live in Texas and admits that he’s never felt at home anywhere as he’s always been torn between the States and Puerto Rico, family and work.

This Is Us Season 6 Jon Huertas

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Miguel reveals that he’s never been homesick until he left Rebecca on that porch and she wastes no time in getting up from her seat to sit next to him and plant a kiss on his mouth. From there, the pair are inseparable as he travels constantly to spend time with her. Miguel also discusses retiring in Pennsylvania to be close to Rebecca. Then he brings up Jack, asking what he would think of them being together. Rebecca admits that she thinks Jack would be happy that they’ve found each other and are happy.

Finally, it’s time for their first Thanksgiving together as a couple, and while they intend to break the news about their relationship to the Big 3 during dinner, the plan is ruined when they come busting through the doors of the Pearson family cabin, catching Rebecca and Miguel in an embrace. While Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) are shocked, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is angry and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) is overjoyed.

Miguel tells them that he loves Rebecca and that they’re together and while it might take time to adjust to the idea, they’re not going to stop seeing each other. Soundbites from Rebecca and Miguel’s vows are then sprinkled into the show as they settle into their lives together.

this is us season 6 mandy moore jon huertas

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Beginning of the End

In the show’s near-future timeline set in the days following Kate’s wedding to Philip (Chris Geere), Miguel wakes up in the finished Pearson family cabin at five in the morning to make coffee and organize Rebecca’s pills for the day. It’s clear that this is his morning routine. Meanwhile, a visit to the doctor reveals that he needs to get his blood pressure down more than it is already and is told to get more rest, but that’s easier said than done.

At the house, Miguel sits and waits in the chair by Rebecca’s bed so she can see him when she wakes up. Helping her get up out of bed, Miguel administers Rebecca her pills and does exercises with her to keep her strength up and it’s clear that the daily routine is taking a slight toll as he has short conversations with the Big 3 who call to check in on their mother periodically.

Miguel has a dream where he’s back in the field he used to play baseball in as a kid where he’s playing catch between his father and the old man that taught him to seek the best spots to watch games. Waking from the dream, Miguel discovers that Rebecca’s missing from bed and he finds her dancing in the snow outside, confused. Bringing a coat to her, Miguel tries getting her to come inside and slips on the ice.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 15 cast

(Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

It’s clear that the fall hurt him as he gets up and shuffles into the house with Rebecca, sitting her on the couch and him laying his head on her lap where he falls asleep. When the Big 3 visit for Thanksgiving, Miguel is sore from the fall but claims he must have slept wrong. Kevin realizes he was lying when he walks past Miguel’s bedroom to see the man looking at a giant bruise on his back.

When the Big 3 inquire about Miguel’s back pain to the nurse, she tells them about Miguel’s fall. The kids take this as a sign to upgrade Rebecca’s in-home care and lighten Miguel’s load, but he doesn’t want that. He argues that Rebecca doesn’t respond well to strangers but the Big 3 argue that they’re doing this for him so that he can have less stress in his life as they really love him.

Miguel concedes to their demands and a visit to the doctor reveals continued health decline for Miguel as the provider orders a stress test to check on his heart. Following this appointment, Miguel is joined by Kevin in his morning routine with Rebecca. Noticing Miguel’s decline, Kevin visits his son Andy (William Rubio) to inform him that Miguel’s time is limited. At first, Andy is rude but heeds Kevin’s advice to make the most of his time with Miguel before he’s gone.

Scenes from their next family Christmas reveal that the Big 3 and Miguel’s children join in on the celebration as a blended family unit. The family continues on as the seasons pass and the next scene outside the cabin reveals the family spreading Miguel’s ashes. Kevin and Andy travel to Puerto Rico to spread some of Miguel’s remaining ashes on the field where he used to play ball, in a full-circle moment.

The episode concludes with a moment between Rebecca and Miguel on the night that Jack forced them to be friends. When she asks who he is Miguel answers in Spanish. He explains that he said, “I don’t know, but that’s a good question, ask me later.” And now viewers know exactly who Miguel Rivas was, past, present, and future.

This Is Us, Season 6, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC