At the start of the hour, “M. Night” Shyamalan, Kevin’s director, uttered this phrase: “this is the ending everyone wants and they still won’t see it coming.”
And he couldn’t be more right.
Most fans have been pushing for Kevin to date his longtime love, highschool sweetheart, and ex-wife, Sophie.
The episode, which focused on Kevin and dissected his trauma while also giving us plenty of Sophie and Kevin flashbacks that dated all the way back to their childhood, gave off the “true love” vibe.
It was the ending everyone wanted and yet, Kevin didn’t end up with Sophia.
Instead, the audience was thrown for a loop with a twist no one saw coming and one that angered fans mainly because creator Dan Fogelman nixed the theory seasons ago.
At the end of This Is Us Season 4 Episode 11 (an emotionally drive Randall-centric episode that opened up the dialogue around mental health and men of color), we saw Kevin in bed with someone and the hope was that it was Sophie, whom he spent the whole day with after her mother’s funeral.
But alas, it wasn’t Sophie, it was Madison, Kate’s bestie.
The actress that plays Madison, Caitlin Thompson, is Fogelman’s wife in real-life and he put it in writing that he would never, ever, ever allow her to hook up with Justin Hartley’s character.
Here it is in writing:
Just FYI: Madison is my wife in real life @CaitwithaC
— Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) March 14, 2018
And then, he did just that.
Now, Fogelman never promised to keep his word, and he’s allowed to change his mind, but fans felt a little jipped and taken advantage of because it seemed like Fogelman purposefully wanted to mislead us.
Yes, that may be the fun of the show, but it’s also irritating unless Madison is the real deal and not just a one-night stand.
At this point, I’m skeptical to believe anything.
Why is Kevin’s dating life so important, you ask?
Well, it’s because the flash-forward to the Big Three’s 40th birthday reveals that Kevin has a fiancee who is pregnant and all bets are off as to who the lucky lady might be.
“It’s Been a Hell of a Week” did a stand-up job at establishing that Sophie and Kevin don’t belong together. It served as more of a tribute to their relationship than a chance for them to get back together, though, lord knows Kevin would have liked that.
Despite having so much history and a genuine connection, too much has transpired between them. They’ve missed their window.
The plot centered around Sophie’s mother’s funeral, and in a way, it was a funeral to their relationship.
As Kevin grieved Claire, his grief over his relationship with Sophie came to the surface He knew Claire supported him and loved him like a son, but he also knew that she never thought his relationship with Sophie would last, and he couldn’t prove her wrong.
He grieved not being enough, not being able to be that man for Sophie, and he was forced to accept that he never will be; he will never be worthy of that emerald engagement ring.
Kevin has shaped up to be the guy that would have been worthy of Sophie’s love, but timing is an essential part of a relationship.
He was ready now, but she’d given him so many chances that she couldn’t anymore. Plus, she’d moved on with Grant.
The connection between Sophie and Kevin was only the memory of Claire and of the past. It’s nice to get lost up in something nostalgic for a moment, in the “what could of been,” “what should have been,” and the “what was,” but it’s not reality, and oftentimes, it isn’t the future.
Claire knew that. Kevin knew Claire so he could help her grieve her mother unlike Grant who was a new phase in her life
Kevin was also someone who lost a parent and could relate.
The story was focused on making amends, acceptance, and moving forward, but it was about Kevin and Sophie and not about Grant, which is why we never saw him or met him. It didn’t matter who he was or what he looked like or what his dynamic with Sophie was because that’s what it was. It wouldn’t have changed the storyline in any way.
Sophie and Kevin aren’t meant to be anymore, but their friendship is something they both cherish, and it was a nice wrap up to the storyline.
And truly, I hope that’s what it was. However, that may not be the case given how Sophie looked at that emerald ring upon finding it.
Maybe she is the one, but before she could give him another chance, she needed to see Kevin’s growth and that he’s accepted a life without her in it.
Now, back to that cliffhanger.
Madison doesn’t strike me as someone that meshes well with Kevin, and the hook-up was surprising, however, plenty of relationships have flourished into healthy relationships after starting as just a casual thing.
Madison has always been a take-charge kind of gal who helped get Kate out of a funk. She’s been there when many others turned their back on her. She doesn’t leave when things get hard, and she’s loyal.
Those qualities make her a promising partner for Kevin if they’re both digging this relationship. I wouldn’t want them to both settle simply out of necessity because they both realize they’re almost 40 and lonely.
If Kevin is going to settle down, it better be with someone he’s madly in love with that’s equally as in love with him. Also, let him heed Claire’s advice: “we don’t settle.”
Hartley followed up with People after the episode and his comment makes it seem like this is just a one-off moment between two broken people who needed some comfort and found it in each other.
“For now you can assume that’s what it was because they both found themselves in a very vulnerable position,” he said.
He also explained that things get sticky because Madison is a family friend. The devil’s advocate in me, however, wants to point out that Hartley can say whatever he wants to leave the audience befuddled. It’s his job not to spoil anything.
Our whole focus on who Kevin ends up with is hinged on the idea that he is happy about his situation in the flash-forward.
Back in season 3, he told Randall that by 40 he wanted to be married with a baby, which means he’s putting the pressure on himself and maybe settling is fine by him.
It’s entirely possible that the flash-forward isn’t as “happy, go-lucky” as audiences interpreted.
We can’t forget that something happened that drove a wedge between Kevin and Randall. It could be the fact that Randall kept his mother’s memory diagnosis a secret or it could be something entirely different. The series loves to pull the rug out from under us so it’s never really certain where the storyline is headed.
Kevin’s at the point where in his life where if Madison was to get pregnant, he’d stay with her and support her. One of his honorable qualities and also his flaw is that he wants to be there for people and help them solve their problems.
This could be one of those situations.
After all, the 40th birthday is about 8 months away, which would line up with the timing of this “one-night stand.”
As for Madison being part of the family, Kate could either be jealous that she has to share both of her best friends or she could be happy.
Likely, Kate’s only concern would stem from the fact that she wouldn’t want Kevin to hurt Madison as he’s known for doing that on occasion. He even told Madison that he always leaves relationships before things get complicated.
And Madison told him that she always stays too long, which now that I think about it, could be foreshadowing. Could Kevin stay with Madison because he doesn’t want to be another guy that leaves and runs away from anything serious?
There’s a lot of possibilities here, so if you’re not happy about the mystery girl being Madison, there’s a huge chance it isn’t her.
Heck, for all we know it could be “hall pass Lizzy.”
Other This Is Us musings
- I didn’t like how they made Rebecca to be the ‘bad guy’ for the sake of Claire’s supportive storyline. Rebecca has always been supportive of Kevin, and wouldn’t have skipped his acting debut had she known about it and not been in a tizzy trying to pick up her life after his father’s death. Claire was the motherly-figure Kev needed but that doesn’t make Rebecca any less of a good mom.
- Kevin’s speech to Sophie about how she’ll eventually be able to go back to the coffee shop just like he went back to the forest, a spot where his “childhood ended,” was sweet. It shows how much he’s grown as a character.
- Sophie and Kevin’s “Good Will Hunting” game was a testament to their longlasting friendship and proves that though the ending may be different than they imagined, it doesn’t mean it’s not as good. Heck, it seemed to be better than anything they came up with.
- Sophie looking to Kevin for inspiration also showcased how important he will always be to her even if they aren’t romantically involved.
- The episode teased the next and final installment of the “Big Three trilogy” with Kate’s emotionally abusive relationship with Marc, the greaseball no one liked. Something tells me this one is going to be hard to watch.
- Also, in the present-day, Kate and Toby’s marriage is imploding, and it seems serious this time as they seemingly just got back from their retreat for families with blind children.
- Flashbacks to when the kiddos were young and scared to sleep in their “big kid” beds paralleled the storyline in a great way again. Jack telling young Kevin that “you’re going to find something else to love” resonated following the loss of Sophie, Well, maybe not a “something” but a “someone.”
This Is Us Review – Adding to the Family Tree (5×09)
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 9 tackled the hardships and joys of parenting while painting it as a rewarding yet terrifying and difficult journey, no matter where you are in life.
Regardless of how many books you read or how many shows you watch about parenting, absolutely no one is prepared to be a parent, especially not a first-time parent. The series makes that very clear as it tackles three different timelines over the span of an hour.
And surprisingly, all the action happens during the car drives from the hospital.
Who knew they could be so illuminating?
Given the car setting, it would be understandable if the episode was boring and uneventful, but it was the exact opposite; it gave audiences a glimpse into the lives of the characters as they started a new chapter in their lives with their respective families.
We’ve seen the magic that is the Pearson clan, but now we’re seeing the magic from the families of the Big Three.
It’s the first day of the rest of their lives, and This Is Us captured every feeling and emotion brilliantly.
The series has a knack for making profound television, and it doesn’t even require the characters to exit the vehicle.
During Jack and Rebecca’s drive home from the hospital, the new parents felt overwhelmed with the idea of taking home three newborn babies.
A road rage incident triggered Jack, which led him to down a bit of a spiral as he secretly purchased and chugged a small bottle of whiskey at the gas station. While the scene was initially concerning, he eventually confessed what he did to Rebecca. What a relief.
And he explained his concerns that he was going to be an alcohol father just like his dad was.
Rebecca reminded him that he’s nothing like his dad because he doesn’t suck up the air in the room — he is the air.
Instead of focusing on the negatives and what-ifs, the duo just embraced the moment for what it was: the moment they became a family.
When you look at it as a moment of celebration, your whole mindset changes.
Parents have a huge impact on the kind of people we become, for better or worse.
In Jack’s case, he didn’t want to be like his old man, but in Kevin’s case, he wanted to live up to his father.
The Big Three have a tendency to put Jack on a pedestal and view him as this perfect father, but it was nice to see that notion grounded a bit.
Jack and Kevin both struggled with the idea of becoming fathers.
The car seat scene was a nice touch showing just how similar their experiences were — neither of them read the dang manual and decided to wing it on the spot.
However, Kevin couldn’t exactly get any advice from his dad, which is where the dream sequence came into play.
Kevin was worried that he would fail, and Jack let him know that he’s capable and he’ll figure it out.
The dream also provided fans with a rare look at Justin Hartley and Milo Ventimiglia in a scene together.
While they may be father and son to all of us, they rarely get to share scenes since Jack is long gone by the time Kevin is an adult.
Their dynamic is so effortless that it’s hard to look away.
However, you always need your dad, and Jack’s “visit” gives him perspective and guidance.
Kevin realizes that he’s going to be fine because he sees just how strong Madison is. She’s a boss who is handling this whole “new mom” thing without any stress.
Not only does she birth twins, but she offers to drive them all home after several sleepless nights and even handles his paparazzi situation.
She’s a super mom.
All of this puts makes Kevin realize that what he wants most at this point in his life is a family.
So, he proposes to Madison in a heartwarming moment using the hospital band as a ring. Could it be any more perfect?
The series has been slowly inching towards the idea that Kevin is no longer enchanted by the entertainment industry as prioritized the birth of his twins over the movie, picked a fight with a fan, and even confronted the paparazzi.
So much of Kevin’s self-worth has been tied up in his career that I’m really interested in seeing him in this new chapter in his life.
We also see Randall and Beth’s post-delivery ride home with Annie, who is described as an angel on Earth.
It’s clear that taking home the second child is much less stressful than the first child. They even make time for a DQ run!
However, Randall makes the mistake of broaching the topic of a third child. Of course, he wants a boy, but Beth’s not interested in any of it because well, she just destroyed her insides and pushed out a child.
I love how real Beth is about every damn thing in life. She’s my spirit animal.
Of course, it’s fun to watch knowing how life unfolds for Randall, who eventually adds a third child to see his family that isn’t a boy!
The whole scene comes full-circle when Randall has a heart-to-heart with infant Annie and explains that his desire to have more children is because Beth and the girls are the start of his family tree. At that point in time, Randall didn’t know anything about his birth parents, so his comments make sense, but in the present, we know that he’s added quite a lot of branches to that tree.
Regardless, it’s a sweet moment that’s only made sweeter with the flash-forward that shows Deja and Annie arriving at Kevin’s house to say goodbye to a frail Rebecca.
Prior to that moment, we find out that Deja is working at a hospital. When Annie picks her up, she gifts her a teething giraffe and informs her that she can’t keep this pregnancy a secret for long.
More babies — more branches! So many generations in one short hour!
And how incredible is the casting for all three of Randall’s adult daughters?
The flash-forward is yet another tease, and we’ll hopefully see everyone in the same room in the near future.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Randall’s kids interacting with Kevin and Kate’s kids?
In the present-day, we also see Kate and Toby make their way home from the hospital after welcoming Hailey.
However, their car ride is a bit different as they drive Hailey’s birth mother, Ellie, home from the hospital.
Kate was really excited about making plans with Ellie in the future considering their open adoption agreement, but you could tell the whole ordeal was very difficult for Ellie.
Eventually, she made the conscious decision not to be in Hailey’s life for the time being, and it was valid. She thought she could handle it but upon welcoming her daughter, she realized it wouldn’t be as easy as she thought to let go and watch from a distance.
Kate’s sadness was also valid as she truly wanted Hailey to have a bond with her birth mom after seeing how difficult it was for Randall to grow up without knowing his birth parents.
My guess is that Ellie will eventually come around to the idea once she has enough time to process it all and isn’t hurting as much.
Maybe that’s who Randall is referring to in the flash-forward when he says “they’re here” as we see a car pulling up?
Toby also informs Kate that he was laid off, which seems like terrible timing but for the first time ever, Kate doesn’t spiral.
She’s hopeful as she holds her new baby, a baby that she didn’t think was possible based on her earlier diagnosis.
It’s a moment where she believes they will be okay because they are together. And I hope that’s also the case.
However, it does worry me that maybe this is the beginning of the end for Kate and Toby? What if money and career woes lead to a divorce? It’s been a popular theory as to why they aren’t together in the flash-forward.
Could Kate and Jack be in the car? Are they with Hailey and Ellie? What’s the deal here?
I can’t wait till we get an episode that gives us just a bit more about the flash-forward scene!
Until then, I’m content knowing that the Pearson family tree continues to flourish.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
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This Is Us Review – Meet the New Big Three (5×08)
The new Big Three have arrived.
This Is Us pulling at your heartstrings and making you weep isn’t anything new, but these tears were different because we celebrated the newest members of the Pearson clan – Kevin and Madison’s twins and Toby and Kate’s adopted daughter.
The episode detailed giving birth during a pretty crazy time in the world: the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized the importance of staying connected through cellphones and the Internet.
Initially, the scenes of Nasir from India and Esther from Argentina were confusing. I thought they were flashbacks of Miguel’s parents and that we were finally getting some more backstory about the often-overlooked character, but instead, This Is Us paid tribute to a real-life computer researcher responsible for the algorithm that allows all of us, even the Pearsons, to remain connected.
It’s about time this man got the recognition he deserves during a time where staying connected is so imperative and crucial to our society’s ability to function.
This man is singlehandedly responsible for giving us the opportunity to be part of important and milestone moments in our loved ones’ lives; he paved the way for a future that you and I take for granted daily. Even now as we watch our favorite show on a Tuesday night!
And while Miguel doesn’t get his time in the sun, Rebecca did thank him for being there for her and the family, which was the most acknowledgment he’s gotten in quite some time. He deserves so much more recognition, but this is a good start.
With Kate and Madison both welcoming babies at the same time in different hospitals and the family not being able to be there – including Toby who had an elaborate tailgating set-up in the hospital parking lot – connecting with them via video chat after the births was imperative.
Randall and Beth were on the phone with Madison for hours while Kevin did his best to make it to her. And he did! We never saw how he managed to pull off traveling without an I.D. or how the hospital let him in after he just traveled through an airport, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, he made it for the birth of his twins, and while he was gone, Randall filled in by virtually holding Madison’s hand and telling her drunk Kevin stories.
Despite everything that happened with these two, Randall remains the best brother who always puts his family first.
After all the emotions settled a bit, Kevin broached the topic of their big fight, and while it wasn’t the right time to get into detail, at least they’re back on track and have acknowledged that the conversation must be had and apologies must be made.
Kate’s adoption process made me nervous for a bit because it seemed as though Ellie wasn’t going to hand over the baby. I got worried when she changed her mind and asked to hold her and then asked to be alone with the baby.
Based on Kate’s surprised reaction, she also didn’t know what it meant and was trying to be understanding.
Ellie’s emotional goodbye to her daughter hit me in the feels. One can imagine that giving up your baby is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but it’s also so brave of her to acknowledge that she needs to do what’s best for her.
And Kate meeting baby Hailey was pure bliss. Again, in a time when the world is upside-down and downright scary, there’s nothing more reassuring than looking down at an innocent baby.
The waterworks also began flowing when Toby decided to give the baby the middle name “Rose” after the ill wife of the man in the parking lot.
When he mentioned her name and gave Toby a “lucky pig,” it was obvious that Toby would find inspiration for the middle name from their abrupt meeting, but it was still such a genuine moment of human connection — this one in person yet still distanced.
Also, can we celebrate the fact that Rose got some good news after being diagnosed with COVID? Hospitals are a place where you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but it was a good night for everyone.
The flashbacks of Jack and Rebecca at the cabin mulling over how their children no longer wanted to hang out with them fit in perfectly. Sometimes, flashbacks don’t jive with what’s happening in other timelines, but that painting was a reminder to always remain present and never miss a thing even if life gets in the way.
Rebecca stayed true to that promise. The montage of them making the painting juxtaposed with the current bundles of joy being boy really hit right in the feels.
And lastly, Kevin paid tribute to Uncle Nicky (and Nic Cage) when he named one of the twins Nicholas. And honestly, good on them for bringing back the Frances. How cute is Franny?
Franny, Nicholas, and Hailey – the new Big Three that will carry on the Pearson legacy. You just know Jack is up there in heaven beaming with pride.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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