‘This Is Us’: Kevin & Madison’s Pre-Wedding Parties Go Off the Rails (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 15 of This Is Us, “Jerry 2.0.”]
The penultimate episode of the fifth season of This Is Us was filled with pre-wedding partying for the Pearsons, but drama, laughter, and awkward moments abound in “Jerry 2.0.”
Celebrating the impending marriage of Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) attempt to create the perfect bachelor and bachelorette parties. As hurdles and unexpected challenges arise, the fun celebrations have a sour note at times. Below, we’re breaking down every key moment from the pivotal episode.
For the Love of Jerry Maguire
The episode opens up with a flashback of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Kevin (Logan Shroyer) at the movie theaters where they enjoy a film we later learn to be the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise. As the father and son agree it’s the best movie ever, the past timeline shifts forward at that point to a family cabin trip following Jack’s death.
Kevin has just returned from a failed pilot opportunity in California and he’s spending time with new bride Sophie (Amanda Leighton) after a brief long-distance stint. Together, they’re joining mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore), Kate (Hannah Zeile), Randall (Niles Fitch), and Beth (Rachel Hilson) for the weekend getaway. Among the main topics of discussion are Randall’s concern of doing long distance with Beth who was recently offered an internship in Boston. Kevin continues to blow off long-distance relationships, saying that Randall will be fine since he and Sophie did okay.
Sophie gets upset and asks Kevin to stop pretending that it’s not a big deal because it was difficult for her. Ultimately, things get tense when he reveals that he’ll likely continue working in Los Angeles to get more acting gigs, forcing them to go through more long distancing. Sophie storms out with Kate trailing not far behind and Kevin opts to cool down by settling in for a viewing of Jerry Maguire with Randall and Beth.
When Beth wanders to the kitchen she sees Rebecca looking at old family photos and remarks on how handsome Jack was. Rebecca asks why Beth is hesitant about her Boston internship, and she admits she’s afraid of failure after her ballet dreams were dashed as a teen. Rebecca tells her she’s too young to not find new dreams and encourages her to go for the position, adding that Beth and Randall are strong enough to do long-distance.
After Kevin’s screening of the movie, he is inspired to write his own mission statement like Jerry’s. He addresses Sophie in the letter, making up for their earlier spat and imagining the future they’ll have together which ultimately never comes to fruition since they don’t stay together. The moving sentiment warms Rebecca who tells Miguel over the phone that being surrounded by her kids in love makes her believe she will find it again too.
A Tale of Two Parties
It’s party time as Kate organizes a gathering in California for the ladies and Kev heads out to the Pearson cabin in Pennsylvania. During the preparation phase, Beth enjoys seeing “fisherman” Randall in his element, Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) worries about packing a puzzle for the weekend, and Kate encourages Toby (Chris Sullivan) to have a good time away. Meanwhile, Miguel (Jon Huertas) is anxious about being away from Rebecca for the first time in a while.
While getting ready, Kevin receives a call from Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) who admits she didn’t think he would answer her new number. She congratulates him on his engagement and new babies, but their conversation is cut midway through when there’s a baby diaper emergency.
Kevin’s Cabin Ordeal
When Kevin arrives with Nicky, Toby, and Miguel, he greets Randall and they discuss plans which are quickly thwarted when it begins to rain. Instead, they opt to watch Jerry Maguire which Kevin still loves, and it isn’t lost on anyone that it’s a pretty boring bachelor party. But when Nicky makes a remark about how much Kevin is like Jerry it causes a stir. Kevin gets defensive and snaps at Nicky, saying it’s mean to imply that he’s marrying Madison just because it’s “the right thing to do.”
Stepping out of the living room, Kevin goes to his old room in the cabin and finds his mission statement, when Randall goes to find him, he tells his brother that Sophie called him the other day. Kevin asks Randall, how do you know who you’re supposed to marry?
Randall takes this question as a cue to rally the men for their help, asking for them to help warm Kevin’s cold feet around a bonfire. Nicky apologizes for projecting his own annoyances on Kevin, bringing up his first and only love Sally Brooks. Toby is unlike himself, providing a cynical outlook, but blaming his desire for a job as the root of his bad mood. He apparently received on nibble for a position in San Francisco but wasn’t planning on pursuing it to uproot his family.
As for Miguel, he tells Kevin that he’s learned a lot since falling in love with Rebecca, mainly that things don’t have to be written in the stars like Rebecca and Jack’s relationship, but rather some bonds can be written together. As the evening comes to a close with the non-sober men imbibing on some beers, Nicky looks up Sally online, Toby calls about the San Francisco job offer, and Miguel gives Rebecca a call. As for Kevin, he deletes Sophie’s new contact from his phone.
Madison’s Awkward Moments
Despite being sad that her small group of girlfriends can’t make it out for her party, Madison is appreciative of Beth, Rebecca, and Kate for making her day special. In true bachelorette fashion, Kate has a “model” come to the house but things grow awkward when Madison reveals that they used to date. They continue on with the activity though as he strips for them to do a nude painting session. While the women sip on cocktails, Kate apologizes for the situation and Madison brushes it off adding that the best revenge over an ex that ghosted her is to marry one of People‘s Sexiest Men.
When they toast to that sentiment, someone makes a comment about Kevin knowing a good thing when he sees it, but Madison adds that it took a while for Kevin to warm up to her. She says he was always nice to her but that he really has stepped up since she got pregnant. Beth tries to reassure her that everything happens for a reason.
While the women prep for their next activity which is a pre-taped newlywed game, Beth steps out for a minute to read an email about a possible job. Rebecca goes after her and chats about the opportunity which includes a position at a ballet conservatory. Beth says conservatories take the joy out of dance and Rebecca tells her to go in and change it then. “Blow us all away,” Rebecca tells her daughter-in-law, leading to a sweet moment before they enjoy their newlywed game.
Despite Madison’s answers being pretty on par with Kevin’s when he envisions their future as “empty nesters,” he doesn’t say anything besides that he doesn’t plan on getting old. This differs from his mission statement in the past to Sophie, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. As the party wraps up for the night, Kate looks for confirmation from Madison that this wedding is what she wants and she promises that she loves Kevin.
Outside, Rebecca and Beth wait for their rides home and they share another sweet exchange as Rebecca thanks Beth for making her feel like a normal person. Beth promises she’ll always need Rebecca’s pep talks and they share a hug. When Rebecca arrives home, she chats with Miguel on the phone and they have a candid chat about how she is scared of living in limbo with her Alzheimer’s but they both appreciate the time they have. As for Madison, doubts about Kevin begin to spring when she looks back at his pre-taped newlywed game video.
Will the wedding go off without a hitch as This Is Us concludes its fifth season? Stay tuned for the finale episode on May 25.
This Is Us, Season 5 Finale, Tuesday, May 25, 10/9c, NBC