And it all comes full circle. Not only in the Pearson clan but in general for the fourth season of This Is Us, which kicked off last September by introducing a handful of new characters. Some became more pertinent to the storyline then others, and similarly, “Strangers Part Two” plays out similarly.
At the top of the hour, we meet a man attempting to tame his horse, who gets some assistance from his daughter, Sadie. We’re also introduced to Hailey (Adelaide Kane), a young woman working in a museum who turns down her best friend and co-worker, Zach’s, advances for a date. I’ll get to those two a little later in the review, but keep them in mind!
The season finale had it all — a number of celebrations, a bombshell reveal, the Pearson blow-out of 2020, and a cliffhanger.
With so many timelines blending cohesively into one unified message, I think the easiest way to tackle this episode is to break it down into three: the past, present, and future. This ensures that I give all of them equal attention.
PAST: The past finds Rebecca and Jack gearing up to celebrate the Big Three’s first birthday. Birthday’s are the overarching connection in the finale. Rebecca’s mood quickly takes a turn when she gets emotional about Kyle, Kate and Kevin’s triplet who passed away during birth. Bec reveals she struggles to talk about him, and Jack agrees that he usually pushes the thoughts from his mind because they make them sad. The Pearson’s are never ones to wallow in that sadness though especially since Jack always has the perfect solution that’ll cheer them up. They pay Dr. K, the obstetrician, who gave birth to Kate and Kevin, for some advice, and since he also lost a child once before, he knows just what to say (he always does). The advice that happiness and sadness should co-exist is one that rings through much of the episode as happy moments are filled with heartbreak. That’s life, isn’t it?
PRESENT: Everyone gathers at Kate’s home for Jack Jr.’s first birthday. It’s a momentous occasion filled with some underlining tension, as any gathering with the Big Three is. Randall and Kevin haven’t spoken since their squabble in New York, plus Randall hasn’t exactly gotten around to telling his siblings that he forced his mother through methods of sheer manipulation to agree to the 9-month long clinical trial in St. Louis.
Honestly, we’re all like Beth in this episode, just bopping around the house, going back to the car cause we forgot something, and sippin’ our tea while minding our own business.
When Rebecca finally makes the announcement to her kids, Randall immediately offers support. Kate and Kevin aren’t as on board with it and their curiosity leads them to what may be the final Big Three conversation for a very long time. There, they question what could have happened to change Rebecca’s mind and still, Randall says absolutely nothing because he knows it won’t land well with either of them.
Kate lets it go and goes to her “surprise” event with Jack Jr. and Toby, but Kevin’s still not convinced. He goes to check in with Rebecca who echoes the same explanation as Randall just mere moments ago: it’s an investment in her future. Ding-ding. Kevin realizes that Rebecca is not acting out of her own free will but on the behest of Randall. He confronts his brother, who pretty much attempts to avoid the confrontation because he’s sooooo convinced he’s doing his mom a solid.
Listen, Randall, if everyone including your mother, your siblings, and your wife think that you’re overstepping and the tactics you used aren’t kosher, maybe consider that you aren’t seeing clearly. Randall has always considered himself as the alpha in the family, but really, Randall’s character hasn’t made nearly the amount of progress as Kevin’s.
Rebecca changed her mind about the clinical trial, which Kevin wasn’t fond of, but he accepted it because he figured it’s what she wanted. Kevin had a rational reaction because he trusted that the best thing to do was to let his grown mother make her own decision. Randall could never, and he proved it by the stunt he pulled on Season 4 Episode 17. It’s crazy for me to say this, but I don’t think Randall is as emotionally mature as Kevin.
Randall said that “when her good time inevitably comes to an end, everyone will be grateful” he made the call for the trial, but this thinking hinges on so many variables. For instance, does the trial work? Does she survive the trial (we know she does, but they don’t at this point)? It also ignores the obvious point that there’s no cheating death. Eventually, Rebecca will die and it’s something he has to come to terms with. There’s a great argument for prolonging life, but not if it isn’t what the patient wants.
If they left it alone, this argument didn’t have to end a brotherly relationship, but Randall couldn’t let it go. He came back to fight with Kevin — at a very, very, very bad time when Kevin was getting overwhelmed from every direction — to bring up that he was there for Rebecca and taking care of the family while Kevin was pursuing his acting career. Clearly, Randall holds a lot of resentment for his brother making something of himself and continues to try to guilt him into thinking he abandoned the family or something similar. For the first time ever, I found myself wishing Kevin would just punch Randall, but I was impressed with how he managed his emotions and remained calm and collected. This is yet another example of Kevin’s growth as a character. He didn’t break down, he didn’t rush to grab a bottle, he simply digested what was happening.
Kevin challenges Randall’s beliefs that he “took care of the family” by bringing up the night of the fire. Randall retorts that they’ll never know if Kevin would have saved their father like he believes he would have because he wasn’t there, once again, and then throws the punch: “and dad died ashamed of you.”
At this point, my jaw was on the ground because Randall Pearson, how dare you? He’s obviously hurt and in defense-mode, but this was a gut-punch unlike any other and said to a man who has already carried so many demons.
He continues in such a harsh manner that it’s best I just leave you with the full quote: “I think that’s the part that really gets you, isn’t it? The shame that he felt for you and the pride that he felt for me? You’re not even chasing Dad’s shadow, Kevin, you’re chasing mine. But you’ll never be him, and you’ll never be me.”
And, if that’s not enough, he tells him that he’s never cared about anyone but himself. Everything else was just a “tired, stale performance…. like all of your performances,” once again proving that Randall is not here for Kevin’s acting career.
Whoo, thank god Beth made Rebecca, Miguel, and the girls leave because it would be heartbreaking to witness this fight.
Kevin has a simple yet effective comeback to all of this, and again, he says it without even getting upset: “Hand to God, Randall: The worst thing that ever happened to me was the day they brought you home.”
I’m going to need a minute…
That was harsh, but it also felt like it was a long time coming. That’s not a rift that either of them will bounce back from anytime soon because a lot was said that cannot be taken back or forgotten.
Randall clearly feels some type of way about the situation and there’s no convincing him otherwise, whereas, I think Kevin is at the point where he’s done prioritizing his brother and living in the shadows and is ready to focus on himself.
Right before the second wind of this fight kicked off, Madison rang the doorbell after going to the obstetrician’s office to confirm she’s pregnant. Pregnant with Kevin’s baby. To echo Beth, “Mh-hhhm.”
Remember when I mentioned a man with a horse and a daughter named Sadie at the beginning of the episode? Well, that’s Madison’s doctor, who listens to her say that the father of her baby deserves a great love story and tells her not to write him off just yet. It’s unclear why we needed to know so much background about the doctor’s personal life. Is he going to be more involved? Is he going to be the Dr. K to Madison and Kevin? I read a wild theory that the doc is actually Kyle, the triplet that Dr. K stole from Rebecca and Jack, and while that would be a twist with a capital T, I can’t see the show taking that direction. So, for now, we have to wait and see.
Back to Madison, though. We don’t know what Kevin would have said to Madison had it not been for that explosive fight that made him want to care about someone, make something of himself, and prove his brother wrong. However, seeing Kevin’s face while she tells him the news and says she doesn’t want anything from him makes me think he was going to be on-board regardless. After all, he wanted a child by his 40th birthday, remember?
Madison was so quick to write herself off from Kevin’s life, but who knows, maybe she will become his great love. Then again, the writers gave us glimpses of BOTH Cassidy and Sophie, so it’s not 100% certain that Kevin’s wife and Kevin’s baby momma are the same person.
Still, Kevin tells Madison he’s all in and he wants this baby more than ever. Madison then corrects him that it’s not just one baby, it’s twins. Full-circle, friends, full circle.
While all of this is going down at Kate’s house, Kate, Toby, and baby Jack pay a visit to the NICU where they spent a lot of time praying and hoping for Jack’s survival. It’s incredible how the passage of time offers up a different perspective in the same place. Toby suggests that they have a second baby, which Kate immediately shoots down because of how hard her first pregnancy was, but Toby reminds her that the Pearson clan has a good track record with adoptions. Both of them weigh their options and consider whether or not it’s a good idea, and honestly, none of that matters because they both do really want a second child.
FUTURE: Which finally brings us to the future aka Rebecca on her death bed at Kevin’s house, the one he built by the cabin from his father’s renderings. He arrives at his mother’s bedside. Randall and Nicky are already there. Though Randall and Kevin seem estranged, the fact that Kevin puts an arm around his brother means that there’s some hope that they patched things up eventually.
Kevin also says “hi” to Nicky, and the camera pans to his hand, which has an engagement ring. Who did Nicky marry? Miguel’s absence and the fact that Nicky is sitting by Rebecca’s side makes me think that maybe Rebecca married Jack’s brother, but that’s kind of weird. The other theory is that Nicky married Cassidy, but again, that’s also weird. So, for now, much like Madison’s obstetrician, this remains a mystery.
We also see Kevin’s twins — a boy and a girl, though no Madison.
Also in the future, Jack Jr. and his wife are waiting to meet their child. Finally, she goes into labor and they deliver a beautiful baby girl whom they name Hope. It’s fitting considering all this family has overcome.
And remember Hailey, the girl from the museum that we met at the kickstart of the episode working in a museum? She’s Jack’s sister, who rushes to the hospital to meet her niece. We assume that she’s the adopted daughter, but there’s a theory here that Kate and Toby run into some trouble adopting — they have a lot on their plate and a special needs son — so they have a second child and Kate doesn’t make it. It could be why in the present, we never see Kate and the focus is solely on the Kevin and Randall.
Alright, that was a lot. What did you think of the finale?
Are you glad Madison is pregnant? What did you think about the fight? And whose side were you on?
Why do you think we got so much insight into the doctor’s personal life?
5 Possible Theories About Who Madison’s Doctor and His Daughter Sadie Could Be on ‘This Is Us’
Okay, so you watched the season 4 finale of This Is Us and found yourself thinking, “who is the doctor and his daughter, Sadie.”
The episode spent so much time and attention on the doctor’s backstory, before we even knew that he was Madison’s obstetrician, and introduced his daughter.
Some may say that there’s nothing to it, it was just a way to introduce a character, but avid watchers of This Is Us know that’s absolutely false.
There has to be some bigger meaning and connection that simply hasn’t been revealed yet. Plus, they wouldn’t give us so much insight into Sadie being a horse-whisperer unless it was relevant.
Check them some of favorite theories about who Dr. Mason might be below and let us know if you have any ideas:
Theory #1: It’s Dr. Katowsky’s Son/Grandchild/ Relative
It cannot be a coincidence that Dr. K was heavily featured in this episode talking about his own loss of a child, right?
There’s a huge probability that Madison’s OB-GYN, Dr. Mason, is Dr. K’s son aka the child that he and his wife had after the first miscarriage. *a fan pointed out that child was a daughter, but Dr. K had other children. Someone pointed out that those children would be older and that he once mentioned having grandchildren, so it’s possible Dr. Mason is related in some way.
The doc seemed to have a knack for giving some really great advice just like Dr. K. He told Madison not to write off Kevin before she even talked to him and told him about the pregnancy, which led to Kevin being “all in” with the twins. There may be proof of this Dr. K and Mason are related because in the very first scene he tells Sadie that her horse is “is just a lemon.” And we know Dr. K loved his lemon metaphor.
Theory #2: Someone Like Dr. K
Considering Dr. Mason gave great advice just like Dr. K, many fans believe he’s going to be a huge part of Kevin and Madison’s pregnancy journey. He might be the one that they turn to for advice, guidance, and assurance just like Kevin’s parents did with Dr. K after he delivered Kevin and Kate. It would be a sweet way of bringing things full-circle. And hey, this still allows the Dr. Mason to be Dr. K’s son. Dr. Mason might be Kevin and Madison’s person.
Theory #3: Dr. Mason is Kyle
Okay, this theory is kind of wild and if This Is Us was a thriller drama/ telenovela rather than an inspirational, heartwarming family drama, we might consider it to be true, but sadly, we don’t think it is. That being said, we’re including it because it’s fun to imagine “what if.”
What if Dr. K was so desperate for a son that he stole one of Rebecca and Jack’s children instead. Imagine if Kyle never died but was taken and raised to be Dr. Mason, who reunites with his biological family, the Pearsons, years later by sheer coincidence when Madison walks into his office pregnant with Kevin’s twins. Again, if This Is Us was that kind of show, which it isn’t, this would be an incredible plot twist.
However, Dr. Mason seems older than Kevin, Randall, and Kate, plus, I wouldn’t want anything to tarnish the sweet, innocent Dr. K, who is a gem in this world.
Theory 4: Sadie Needed to Give the Doc Advice
Maybe Sadie and Dr. Mason were only necessary so she could give her dad that he then gave Madison about Kevin: “Little early to give up on him, don’t you think? You haven’t even give him a chance to be himself yet.” Sadie is a horse and Kevin whisperer.
Theory #5: He’s Madison Future Husband
Madison knows she’s not Kevin’s great love story, and she’s fine with it. Maybe through all of this, she falls in love with the doc and Sadie becomes her step-daughter. There’s no confirmation that Madison becomes Kevin’s wife simply because she’s carrying his children, so it’s entirely possible they both move on while being connected by their twins.
Showrunner Dave Fogel told Deadline that Dr. Mason will 100% become instrumental next season: “The doctor becomes an important character next season to Kevin – he’s having twins with a virtual stranger, not a normal birth experience. It’s no coincidence he was introduced in the same episode that Dr. K returned.”
That has to confirm Theory #1, right?
What are your favorite working theories?
Why Is Nicky By Rebecca’s Side on the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 Finale? This Theory Might Explain It
The This Is Us season 4 finale answered many burning questions including who Kevin’s baby momma is and what lead to Randall and Kevin’s rift.
It even answered some other questions like who is Hailey, the museum worker introduced at the kickstart of the episode. (You can read the review to find out because we’re keeping it spoiler free).
However, many of the mysteries that we’re still craving answers for take place in the future as Rebecca lies on her deathbed at Kevin’s cabin, which he built using his father’s, Jack’s, renderings.
We already know that Kevin (and his twin children), Randall, Beth, and Tess, are visiting their mother. We’ve also seen Toby and Nicky there.
Kate and Miguel have both been noticeably absent, which has led to some theories that they’ve both died. Morbid, I know, but we are talking about This Is Us.
However, based on the finale, there’s a new mystery surrounding Nicky and his wedding ring. Is he married? Why is he by Rebecca’s side instead of Miguel (if he’s alive still).
A working, yet heartbreaking theory, is that Rebecca’s Alzheimers has fully set in. Her memory loss may have caused her to regress to happier times in the past, and it’s likely that she forgot Jack passed and believes Nicky is Jack, her husband.
It would explain why Nicky is wearing a wedding ring and by her bedside the whole time.
Nicky loved his brother, and he knew how much Jack loved Rebecca. He always wanted a family and to be part of a family and Kevin made that happen, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would do this for Bec.
If that’s the case, it might explain why Miguel isn’t around because in Bec’s mind, he’s not her husband and he wouldn’t want to confuse her by being overly affectionate. And honestly, if this is the case, I feel for Miguel. He’s always been the for Rebecca and the Pearson family, and has always gotten the short end of the stick. Can we get some love for Miguel!?
There’s definitely some scenes that support this theory. When Rebecca first began experiencing memory loss, she would think about Jack. Similarly, US Weekly pointed out that Kevin also kept seeing Jack while getting advice or when he was getting scolded by Nicky. For the Pearson family, Nicky is an extension of their father, so it makes sense that Rebecca would believe that.
Do you think there’s some truth here? Or is Nicky married to someone else and simply being supportive?
And where do you think Miguel is? We’re crossing our fingers he’s still alive.
As for Kate, there’s a theory that she passed away after giving birth again. Only time will tell!
If you have theories of your own, leave them in the comments section!
This Is Us Review – Best and Worst Case Scenario (4×17)
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!
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