‘This Is Us’ Finale: Kate & Toby Take a Leap of Faith, but Will It Pay Off? (RECAP)
[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from “The Wedding,” the Season 2 finale of This Is Us.]
For most of the season, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) wedding has been a topic of discussion, and although they came close to a courthouse wedding, they never got to the altar until now. Instead of an easy fairy-tale episode though, This Is Us continues to push things to their emotional limits, leaving fans hungry for more. But they’ll just have to wait until fall—thank goodness there’s no worry over a third season since the drama has already been renewed by NBC.
Tuesday’s Season 2 finale featured two weddings, as if the episode title wasn’t clear about the subject matter. Instead of opening up on Kate and Toby’s nuptials though, this ceremony is celebrating Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) 40th anniversary, featuring an old version of Jack fans have never seen in an episode before. Obviously, this scene wasn’t based in reality, but viewers wouldn’t know the origin of such a dream until later in the episode.
Either way, it was an absolute treat to see Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate look on as Rebecca and Jack celebrate their love. The perfect scene is mirrored by the actual tension of putting on a wedding, as Kate and Toby scurry around trying to get things in order a day before their ceremony at the Pearson family cabin.
As Kate gifts her husband-to-be with a special bow-tie, Kevin has assumed duties as the wedding planner, giving orders to Randall on the phone. Meanwhile, Randall is dealing with his own issues as he and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) try to figure out their best course of action when it comes to their new charge Deja (Lyric Ross)—her mother gave up all parental rights since fans last saw her.
Toby, on the other hand, is stressing about his parents (played by the ever-talented Wendie Malick and Dan Lauria, who incessantly bicker back and forth). While Kate isn’t a bridezilla, she does begin to freak out when she can’t find Jack’s Daytona t-shirt, which was supposed to be her “something old,” but her brothers do their best to console the bride-to-be.
But Toby’s parents aren’t the only new characters whom fans are introduced to; we also met Beth’s cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd), who is attending as the wedding photographer. Beth gives her cousin the low-down when it comes to Deja’s situation, in which Zoe offers to help.
That morning, Kate decides to go on an errand, first visiting the old ice cream shop she used to go to with her dad when they vacationed, but she finds that it has changed ownership and no longer sells the flavor she had wanted.
Moving on from there she continues driving, while Zoe tries to connect with Deja, telling the young girl that she’d been raised by Beth’s parents because her mom abandoned her—the talk seemed to elicit the desired response, even convincing Deja to dress up for the occasion she had vehemently trash-talked.
Kevin and Randall are worried about their sister and decide to take off in search of Kate, following closely in her tracks. While they look high and low for the runaway bride, Toby’s parents express some concerns they have about Kate, telling their son that she’s needy and “unstable.”
In true Toby fashion he doesn’t let anyone talk poorly of Kate, even if they are his parents. But they worry that if things don’t go well between the pair that Toby may become severely depressed as he had been during the divorce following his first marriage.
Finally, after hours on her own, Kate calls her mother and reveals that she’s been having a dream every night for the past week or so, and it’s a wedding between her grown parents—the same wedding that viewers have been shown since the beginning of the episode. Randall and Kevin are worried that they’re the reason Kate’s disappeared, though, as they play and fail at Randall’s made-up game “worst-case scenario.”
This revelation sparks a conversation between the women, and Kate’s worried that Toby’s not in the dream, but Rebecca reassures her that everything will be okay. This realization leaves only one thing left to do, and that’s to let go of Jack.
Kate enters the woods and sits on a tree stump she once shared with Jack, and as she speaks to her father about having to let him go so there’s room for Toby. She makes an unbelievable leap in her healing by dumping the rest of his ashes there.
As Kate strolls out of the woods, she’s greeted by Randall and Kevin, who escort their sister back to the cabin for her wedding. Rebecca gets the chance to have a heart-to-heart with her daughter, worrying about staying out of her way on the big day.
Kate tells her mother that, sure they have their issues, but she’d always wanted to be like her mom, “you are not in my way,” she tells Rebecca. “You are my way.” Undoubtedly one of the more heartwarming moments, as two characters who had been at odds most of the season came to an understanding.
Next, it was time for the festivities to proceed as Kate walks down the aisle arm in arm with her brothers—her bouquet adorned with one of Jack’s screwdrivers—but one scene flashes in between the present, as young Kate asks if she can marry Jack one day.
That simple question prompts a very Jack Pearson response, with him telling his daughter that whoever she marries one day will be really special and probably better than himself. In the moment it all seems true—the happiness, the promise of a future—but this is where the writers hit the gas pedal in terms of plot.
The reception stirs up a lot of emotion, after Toby’s mother mistakenly tells Deja that she looks just like Randall, she takes a bat to his and Beth’s car, squashing any peace that has been assembled by Zoe’s talk earlier. Both Kevin and Randall give toasts, with Kate’s twin going first. Kevin asks his siblings and mother to take a breath with him, “we’ve been holding our breath for a long time,” he says about the pain of losing Jack, and this opportunity gives them the chance to finally let go.
Randall’s speech, though, serves as a window into the future—the future of Season 3 that is. “It’s taken me 37 years to accept the fact that there’s absolutely zero point in trying to control the future,” he tells the crowd as a montage of future timelines reveal themselves.
- The first is of Kevin, where he’s seated on a plane beside Beth’s cousin Zoe, who is sleeping. He leans over and kisses her forehead, when the pilot announces their descent into Vietnam—Kevin holds a photo of Jack and his brother along with other army pals in his hand. Although surprising, this is the least-concerning flash-forward of the finale. The writers even give us a glimpse at the pair’s meeting over the punch bowl during the reception.
- Our next flash-forward finds Toby bedridden as Kate comes into the room saying that a doctor wants to adjust his meds. This situation could be a whole slew of scenarios, but due to his parents’ acknowledgement of Toby’s past struggles with depression, it is safe to assume that that’s what fans are seeing.
- Finally, the furthest flash-forward features old Randall—the same one we saw in the Super Bowl episode—speaking with grown-up Tess. “It’s time to go see her Tess,” he says. “I’m not ready,” Tess reveals. “Me neither,” responds Randall. Who is she? This scene has us majorly concerned—are they talking about Deja, or are they talking about Beth?
There’s no doubt that fans will be ready for all of the answers when Season 3 rolls around this fall, because if this finale did anything, it raised a million and one questions.
This Is Us, Returns This Fall for Season 3, NBC