Randall unpacked a lot about his residual resentment on This Is Us.
“After the Fire” was his way of imagining what would have happened if he could save his father from the fire. Initially, it seemed like a great way to insert Milo Ventimiglia into the present-day storyline and have him interact with the adult Big Three, but it quickly became evident that Randall had a lot to work through in his personal life and this wasn’t going to be a peachy episode in the slightest.
The episode explored the best-case and worst-case scenarios of Randall’s survival while arriving at the idea that so many little things could have been different had Jack survived.
In the best-case scenario, Jack doesn’t go back into the burning house. A fireman still saves the dog, Louis, which irritated me because it made it seem like Jack’s sacrifice was for naught.
Rebecca immediately tells Jack that she lied about knowing Randall’s birth father, so Jack takes Randall to meet William Hill prior to going to college. The two hit it off despite Jack wanting Randall to err on the side of caution since William is still an addict. “So are you,” Randall tells Jack, which forces him to come to terms with reality. The commonality bonds William and Jack as they attend AA meetings together and William becomes engrained in the family.
Despite Jack’s survival and William’s existence in his life earlier in time, nothing much changes in Randall’s life. He still attends Howard, he meets and marries Beth, he has three girls, he catches William’s cancer early on and saves his life, he becomes councilman (since Thanksgiving is in their new home), and he and Jack team up to help Rebecca navigate her early-onset Alzheimer’s.
There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about what could have been with rose-colored glasses, but when you come to a therapist to work through your issues, you’re kind of asking (and paying) to be pushed out of your comfort zone.
Chances are that if Jack survived, Randall’s life would have been totally different.
Meeting William at a younger age prior to college would have affected their relationship and how they connected, and it had the capacity to destroy the family that made him one of their own.
So, the therapist asks Randall to think about his worst-case scenario with Jack’s survival — the thing he’s most afraid of.
In both cases, Rebecca tells Jack the truth about William, but this time, Jack isn’t so forgiving. He’s absolutely repulsed by Rebecca’s actions and it drives him to drink for much of his life, though, he never falls off the wagon and his relationship with Randall is never threatened, so it does seem like that’s still erring on the side of caution.
However, as we learn, this was never about Jack, so it doesn’t really matter what his relationship with Randall is.
The two visit William, who denies having a son and basically closes the door on Randall and Jack, which triggers Randall and sets a precedent for his life.
He goes to Howard earlier and joins a frat and changes up his style instead of becoming the bookworm we know and love. This means he never meets Beth, he doesn’t have his own family, he becomes the unreliable “Kevin” of the family, and he teaches English while sleeping with his students (okay, TA’s, but still, it’s weird).
The resentment he harbors for Rebecca and her decision to keep his birth father from him shapes his whole life and forces him to lose touch with his family. The Big Three is a big pile of nothing at this point and it’s sad to watch.
Instead of his rehearsal dinner, Jack gives a toast at Kevin’s wedding to Sophie. Jack’s survival even influences the siblings as Kevin doesn’t pursue acting but stays behind to run the family business with his dad. Meanwhile, Kate gets married to some guy named Ethan and has two daughters.
It’s different that’s for sure, but it’s not better.
Randall’s therapist then brings up a good point — despite the emphasis being on both of his father’s and their survival, the therapy session was actually rooted in his feelings towards his mother, Rebecca.
As I mentioned previously, both times, Jack’s survival leads to Rebecca’s coming clean about keeping William a secret from Randall.
His whole life, he’s been defined by her betrayal and keeping him away from his birth father. Randall argues that he’s forgiven Rebecca as the therapist asks, “have you.”
Randall’s motivations for constantly wondering “what if” seems to be hinged on the idea that if he tried hard enough, he could’ve changed the outcome of both Jack and William’s fate, regardless of how that would have changed his life.
It boils down to him not willing to accept that he cannot try to save his mother, and he can’t afford to lose yet another parent.
He’s not willing to open up the wound about William with Rebecca, but he thinks that emotional blackmail is the better option.
It gets tricky for me here because I’ve never had anything against Randall yet, I felt so triggered by his phone call to Rebecca that I almost wish he did just bring up how much her lie hurt him over the years and how he’s held onto it despite pretending that he was fine.
“I was a good son,” Randall tells his mother over the phone, which is true. He has been a great son, one who has sacrificed a lot to take care of her, but being a good son doesn’t allow you to make impossible asks of your mother or guilt her into doing something she doesn’t want to do.
It’s also a selfish ask. Randall approaches it as “losing another parent would break me,” which yes, of course, it would Randall. Losing a parent isn’t easy and regardless, if you’ve lost one or three, it never gets easier.
Randall thinks the world has it out against him because he’s on track to lose a third parent instead of realizing how blessed he is that he had three parents.
Some people don’t even get to have one parent let alone three who have molded him into the man he is today. Randall needs to be reminded of his blessings rather than seeing them as a curse.
Randall loves his mother and wants the best for her, that’s clear, it’s also clear that his heart is in the right place, but he needs to let her make her own decisions even if it hurts him. He needs to allow Rebecca, a grown woman who only ever sacrificed for the happiness of her family and children, to make this one decision for herself. Doesn’t she at least deserve that?
Her whole life has been about giving things up, making sacrifices, and picking up the pieces, which Randall helped with, but he also got to live this whole life because of it.
He learned absolutely nothing from his therapy session because, in the end, he still needed to control the situation.
His fear of failure is clouding his judgment, but what happens when the trial doesn’t work? His mother will eventually die and then the breakdown he’s been postponing ensues. It would be better if he worked through his inability to let go ahead of time while making some good, more-aware memories with his mom without the guilt of not being able to save his dad’s.
Randall could gear so much of his resentment towards his other two parents, yet it’s always Rebecca that gets the brunt of it from all of her children. I feel for her, but I hope she gets to make the choice she thinks is best here.
If it means that Kevin needs to interfere and strain relations with Randall than so be it. Kevin may not have always been by his mother’s side, but it seems silly and selfish to fault him for being a young adult, pursuing his dreams, and living his own life. He never abandoned Rebecca or stopped loving her, he simply lived his own life.
Kevin also hasn’t been perfect, but when it comes to learning life lessons, and I really mean learning them, he’s been the most advanced character who has grown and matured into a really great and reliable man who is able to put his needs aside and respect his mother’s wishes. It was so beautiful to just watch him give Rebecca the time to figure out what she wants and acknowledge that she just wants to be happy in her final moments. Kevin’s not plagued by his past because he’s lived the life he always wanted and regretted none of it. Even when his decisions were less-than, he owned them because they were his.
Seeing this session pan out, it’s clear why Kate and Kevin have distanced themselves from Randall come their 40th birthday. He loves to lift himself up while putting them down and at some point, it just isn’t fair.
From the flash-forward scenes, we know that Randall either doesn’t get his way or the trial doesn’t work for Rebecca, but it does drive a wedge between the family, and that’s unfortunate but understandable.
Could it be the reason his relationship with Beth is strained in the future also?
The season finale is next week and we’ll likely get all the answers we’ve been searching for. The teaser shows the birth of Jack Damon’s child, an explosive fight between Kevin and Randall, and you know we’ll find out who Kevin’s baby momma is!
Who Is Nicky Pearson Married to on ‘This Is Us’?
The season 5 finale of This Is Us stunned audiences with a major cliffhanger, but that wasn’t the only surprising revelation during the hour!
In the final moments as Kate gears up for her wedding to — well, it seems like Phillip, but that could be a red herring — it’s revealed that Nicky has a wife!
Yes, Nicky, Jack’s cynical and “weird” brother, is a married man in the five-year flash forward! But who is his wife?
The obvious answer would be Sally Brooks, his first and only love.
In flashback episodes, Nicky and Sally met at a vet clinic in 1969 and their relationship flourished. They had the kind of summer romance you see in rom-coms, but when she asked Nicky to head out to California with her, he never showed up because he decided to stick around and be there for his mother, who was still living with his abusive, drunk of a father.
Nicky hasn’t seen or heard from Sally since, but after seeing Kevin and Madison’s love story, he was inspired to seek her out online. Now, there are likely a ton of women with the name Sally Brooks, so he might have to get pretty specific with his search, but it’s not impossible.
“Um, I cannot confirm or deny either of those things, but I think it would be very exciting if it did happen. And I definitely was talking with the actor on set, Genevieve, about who she thinks could be the present-day Sally. So hopefully we will see that — my hopes as a fan and as a writer is that we do because I love Sally, and I want to see more of her,” she explained.
This doesn’t automatically mean that sparks will fly again as Sally could be married or simply not interested in reconnecting.
But regardless, it could give Nicky the closure he never received and allow him to move on and find love again.
If Sally isn’t his wife, who is?
The second option is Rebecca Pearson. It would be pretty crazy if Rebecca got married to her late husband’s brother, but she also married his best friend, Miguel, so I guess it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch.
In the 10-12 year flash-forward, Rebecca is on her death bed with her family gathered around her. Nicky is seen by her side, which fans found strange. Furthermore, her husband, Miguel, her husband, is not around. The camera also makes it a point to pan to a wedding band on Nicky’s finger, which could possibly suggest that he and Rebecca tied the knot.
However, I’m not too keen on this storyline. Marrying Miguel made some sense as they both loved Jack and connected after over their shared grief. They were each other’s support system. As for Nicky, it’s just a little too close to home.
Plus, I’m a fan of the theory that Nicky is only by her side because Rebecca’s dementia has led her to believe that Nicky is Jack. This could also explain why Miguel isn’t pictured.
The final option is that Nicky married Cassidy (guest star Jennifer Morrison). While there’s a significant age difference between the two, aside from Kevin, Cassidy is the only other person that Nicky is close to. Plus, people of different ages fall in love all the time.
The series likely wouldn’t introduce Morrison’s character only to have her be a blimp in Kevin’s life, right? Unless, of course, Kevin, who ended up not getting married to Madison in the This Is Us Season 5 finale, marries Cassidy in the flash-forward. Either way, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Cassidy just yet!
If Rebecca thinks Nicky is Jack, and if Kevin is married to Cassidy, then it seems like Nicky either wed Sally or the series will introduce a new love interest for him in the final season.
Regardless of who the wife is, we just hope Nicky, who has only known solitude for the latter half of his life, is happy.
He deserves a companion that will make him feel happy and alive again!
Who do you think he marries?
This Is Us Season 6 will premiere midseason in 2022. No premiere date has been announced.
This Is Us Season Finale Review – The Wedding Twist No One Saw Coming (5×16)
After five seasons, This Is Us continues to sweep us off our feet.
And yes, that’s a terrible phrase to use for an episode that did not include the highly-anticipated Kevin and Madison wedding. Is anyone really surprised by that?
I think I was more surprised by how much the teasers were hyping up a wedding that both the bride and groom were so uncertain about. We knew in our hearts that it wasn’t going to happen.
While Kevin and Madison didn’t walk down the aisle towards their happily ever after, there was a silver lining for both of them.
For starters, they both avoided a marriage that was doomed from the beginning. Madison would never have Kevin’s full heart, and that’s unfair to everyone. Meanwhile, he wouldn’t have to force himself to fall in love with a woman after saying “I do.” They were both settling simply because they had children together, which was made obvious when Kevin couldn’t bring himself to tell Madison that he was in love with her.
Kevin was so determined to make it work because he so badly wanted to have the kind of love story his parents did. But this wasn’t it… at least not now. I say that because based on the flash-forward, I definitely think there’s a chance that Kevin and Madison fell in love with each other sometime in the future. Otherwise, they’re nailing this modern family/parenting thing, and that’s great too. They both deserve to find their person.
The other silver lining was that through this experience, Madison finally found her worth. In the same way that Kevin was searching for the fairytale romance and perfect family because of his parents, Madison spent her life accepting any sliver of affection that anyone would give her. After being with Kevin, she realized that she owed it to herself to find someone who was just as in love with her as she was with him.
Calling off a wedding mere moments before it’s set to happen to a man who has given you everything (except his heart) is difficult, but kudos to Madison for finally putting herself first.
The series is always trying its best to trick us and the sweet Kate and Toby conversation about making sacrifices for the other person was a red herring.
For a full season, we’ve all wondered when the other foot would drop on Kate and Toby’s relationship as the flash-forward to Rebecca on her death bed seems to reveal that the two of them are no longer together.
However, this was not the moment I thought we’d get the big reveal.
As Kevin practiced his speech, it was assumed that he was putting together his vows for his wedding with Madison. When it became obvious that this scene was from a flash-forward, I immediately thought that Kevin was finally going to lock down the love of his life and was convinced we’d see Sophie standing on the other side of the door.
All of that ended up being absolutely inaccurate as Kevin was actually gearing up for his best man speech for… Kate’s wedding.
Kate was getting married to her co-teacher, Phillip. Yes, the very Phillip that thought she wasn’t qualified for the job and gave her flack on her first day.
I’m a huge fan of season finale twists but not when they involve the breakup of one of TV’s sweetest couples.
Were Kate and Toby tired of making sacrifices for each other? Were they just being delusional when they both said they’d make things work between juggling a family and a career?
Or is this yet another red herring? Kevin calls Phillip brother-in-law, but maybe Phillip is Madison’s long-lost brother and Kate is renewing her vows with Toby?
It’s a stretch, especially since Kate says “this is the last time I’m doing this.”
We know Toby is still around in the flash-forward, and this could explain the “she” he’s referring to when Randall assures him that “she would want you to be here, Tobe.” Initially, we all thought it referred to Rebecca wanting Toby there or that it might have meant Kate was no longer alive, but now that we know Toby and Kate divorced, it would make sense that he’d feel a little apprehensive about being there for a huge Pearson moment.
Though, I’m glad he is. Toby is family regardless of whether he’s married to Kate or not.
The 5-year flash-forward also revealed something quite shocking… Nicky is married! Yes, the cynical Nicky has found a lifelong partner.
But who is it? Is it his teenage love Sally Brooks? Did he finally find her? Or is it Rebecca? Because in the other flash-forward (so many timelines, so little time!), Nicky is by Rebecca’s bedside. Did she split from Miguel and get married to Nicky? I can’t see that happening, but I’m also not putting anything past this series anymore.
The episode was filled with great moments about putting yourself and your own happiness first.
Tess confessed that she didn’t feel like herself in the bridesmaid dress, and while no one ever does, hers was a different story as it was tied to her identity. Beth took matters into her own hands and helped Tess alter the dress to make it more her style, and it turned out awesome.
Deja found out that Malik got accepted to Harvard, and while she’s obviously concerned about the future of their relationship, can we just get a round of applause for his five for five? Get it!
And Randall finally opened up to Rebecca about his time in New Orleans learning about his birth mother. He’d been avoiding the conversation for quite some time, but it allowed them to heal from all the pain of the past as Rebecca finally apologized for keeping him away from his birth parents and not giving him a platform to talk about it.
Rebecca and Randall are the best mother-daughter duo on television, so I’m glad they’re back on track.
The episode was filled with the same magic that made This Is Us such an unexpected hit back in 2016!
We even got a present-day Pearson family moment, and while Jack was obviously missing, his presence was felt as everyone suggested how he would handle the given situation. There’s something so special about the family still having each other’s backs after everything they’ve been through. It was one of the most powerful scenes of the season.
What are your thoughts after the finale? Have you picked your jaw up off the floor?
What do you think led to the Kate and Toby split? Are they still on good terms? Are Kevin and Madison together in the future?
Who is Nicky married to? Sound off in the comments below to share your thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
And we’ll see you back here for the sixth and final season in the fall!
This Is Us Review – Kevin’s Strange Bachelor Party (5×15)
Kevin and Madison celebrated their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 15.
For a Hollywood hunk, Kevin’s bachelor party was pretty lame, but it was fitting for the family-focused series.
The boys went up to the family cabin with the hopes of fly fishing, but due to the weather, they found themselves watching Jerry Maguire, talking about their feelings, and reminiscing about the past.
And that’s kind of what bothered me about the episode. There was too much emphasis on the past and not enough on the future, namely, Madison and Kevin’s future.
Their relationship may be unconventional, and yes, it’s highly likely that if they didn’t accidentally get pregnant, they wouldn’t be together, but they did find each other, which has to mean something.
Their love isn’t a grand love like Rebecca and Jack’s, but not every relationship is.
However, as Miguel rightfully pointed out, that doesn’t make it any less important. What Madison and Kevin have is unique and special in their own way, and I wish the series acknowledged that instead of trying to tear them apart through every means possible.
Kevin was right to call out Nicky for his rude behavior. I know he doesn’t have a filter, but some things just don’t need to be said out loud.
Nicky’s comments coupled with the call from Sophie made Kevin doubt and question his decision to get married to Madison, but I’m glad Miguel brought him back to reality.
Miguel definitely knows that there are different types of love and they’re all valid. He will never be Rebecca’s Jack, but they have something real that they’ve made work.
Similarly, Madison will never be Kevin’s Sophie, but that’s a good thing. Kevin and Sophie tried to make it work numerous times, and despite the love they had for each other, it just didn’t fit.
Randall managed to keep everyone in check, but Miguel’s advice saved the day.
Honestly, Miguel continues to be so underrated, but I’m glad they’re incorporating him into the storylines more and more.
I was happy that Kevin didn’t call Sophie back and decided to delete her number. It was a little irritating that she decided to call Kevin in the first place and insert herself back into his life.
A congratulations text would’ve worked just as well, but it seemed like she was hoping something else might come of it and that isn’t fair to Kevin. He tried to win her back so many times and she turned him down. Her call seemed to be fueled by the “you want what you can’t have.”
Madison’s bachelorette party didn’t fare any better. While it had a more bachelorette vibe to it, it was still pretty depressing.
First off, none of Madison’s friends came to the party. Then, the model that they were painting turned out to be Madison’s ex, and finally, she also began to question her relationship with Kevin when watching the video about their future.
The whole ex thing didn’t seem to serve any purpose, but it was funny watching them call him out for ghosting her!
What did become evident is that both Kevin and Madison both have the same fears and insecurities about the relationship. Instead of pretending they’re this happy couple, they should probably talk about it before the wedding.
I definitely think they both love each other, but they have to be honest about their feelings if they want to make this work. Slapping a bandaid over it isn’t going to cut it.
With both of them questioning the relationship, it’s definitely hard to get excited about the wedding in the upcoming season finale.
Will they make it down the aisle? Will Sophie be a wedding crasher? Or will they live happily ever after?
Other Major Moments
- Toby realized that he couldn’t continue on as a stay-at-home dad and put himself in the running for a position in San Francisco. What does that mean for him and Kate considering she just found a job she loves in LA?
- Beth was also looking for a job and couldn’t bring herself to work at just another dance academy as she considered the traditional ones to be broken and joyless. Rebecca suggested that she start her own (and we know that she runs with that advice in the future), and I just love how positive of a force she is in everyone’s lives. She was supportive of Madison, and she’s always been #TeamBeth.
- In turn, I love that Beth was the only person who treated Rebecca like a human instead of a broken doll. Their relationship is so sweet.
- Fisherman Randall is a whole vibe.
- Nicky wanting to bring a jigsaw puzzle to the bachelor party was so on-brand.
- Rebecca’s reaction to learning about ghosting was everything. People who ghost other people are jerks!
- Nicky is trying to find his one true love, Sally Brooks. It’s definitely a generic name, so he might have so trouble with the Google results, but I’m excited about this storyline. Maybe it’ll make him less cynical!
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
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