Decoding the ‘This Is Us’ finale


But the show has done so in the best way, possible, of course.

The emotional season two finale of NBC’s hit drama tied up loose ends (Congrats, Kate and Toby), while also giving viewers a tease of what’s to come that’s so juicy it’s sure to drive internet speculation for months.

The final minutes of the episode were dedicated to this look forward.

It took place as Randall (Sterling K. Brown) gave his speech at his sister’s wedding.

“There’s absolutely zero point in trying to control the future because no one knows where we’ll be even one year from now,” he said.

At this moment, the show jumped briefly to what one can assume was the near future.

Kevin was seen on a plane getting cuddly with Zoe, Beth’s cousin, whom he met at Kate and Toby’s wedding.

A pilot then revealed that the passengers were on their way to Vietnam. Kevin’s father, Jack, as some may recall, is a veteran of the Vietnam War. In fact, the show reminded viewers of this by revealing that Kevin had a familiar photograph in his hand — Jack and his younger brother Nicky while they were both serving in combat.

Kate, meanwhile, was shown walking into a dark room where Toby is on the bed, looking dazed.

The doctor called, she told him. He wants Toby to come in so they can discuss adjusting his medications.

“What we can control is the people we choose,” Randall added in his present-day speech. “Choosing our people is the closest we come to controlling our destiny because while everything else may change, we can choose right if people will stay the same — whether that’s tonight or a year from now or ten years from now.”

At that moment the show took viewers deeper into the future, to a much older Randall and Tess.

“It’s time to go see her, Tess,” older Randall morosely tells his now grown daughter.

“I’m not ready,” she replied.

“Me neither,” he said.

The entire set up left viewers with a lot of questions, some of which we break down below.


Key questions: Why is Kevin going to Vietnam — work or a personal journey? Why is Zoe going with him? Moral support or maybe it’s her job taking them there and Kevin thought it was a good opportunity to launch a family-related quest? If Kevin is going for himself, what information is he seeking? Or WHO is he seeking?

Additional thoughts: Chances are Kevin’s sojourn to Vietnam is a result of him deciding to explore his father’s past. But as with most things on “This Is Us,” we can guess this journey won’t unfold exactly how we — or Kevin, for that matter — expects it to.

Wildest case scenario (inspired by Randall and Beth’s Worst Case Scenario game): Kevin goes to Vietnam only to discover Nicky has been secretly alive this whole time.


Chris Sullivan as Toby and Chrissy Metz as Kate

Key questions: What causes Toby to once again struggle with depression? Is he dealing with another mental illness in addition to depression? Does his struggle have anything to do with his family or parents? Does it have anything to do with his and Kate’s struggle to conceive a child?

Additional thoughts: The introduction of Toby’s parents in the finale and a mention of his contentious relationship with his own brother in previous recent episodes points to a Season 3 that will likely dive deeper into Toby’s past. It sounds anything but simple. It’s hard to say, however, if that will relate to his mental health struggles.

Wildest case scenario: It is revealed that Toby is actually just very upset because his favorite broadcast TV show just revealed that the patriarch of the family at the center of the story died from a heart attack caused by smoke inhalation, and he’s devastated.


Key questions: Who is “her”? Is it Beth? (Please don’t say it’s Beth.) Is it Rebecca? (How old would Rebecca be at this point?) … Is it Annie?

Additional thoughts: This is the best tease “This Is Us” could have set up because it puts not one but TWO golden-hearted TV mothers in the crosshairs. But can the show really do the dead/dying parent thing again? There are cases for and against going that direction. A twist on this tale would be if the show reveals the person of both Randall and Tess’ concern is youngest daughter Annie, as it would give the show fertile sibling ground to explore. Creator Dan Fogelman teased to TVLine: ” It definitely seems that they’ve found themselves in an emotionally loaded situation.”

Wildest case scenario: “Her” is a witchdoctor who’s going to give the entire Pearson clan the secret to eternal life so viewers never have to worry about their fate again.

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