God, I love a good wedding episode. The season two finale of This Is Us aptly titled The Wedding aired last night and it was a very good wedding episode. Ending this chapter with Toby and Kate’s nuptials was the obvious conclusion to a season that has been frustrating at times and exceptional at others.
This Is Us is exceptional when it relies on all of the things that make it a classic network TV drama and all the things pretentious TV critics like to make fun of it for –like poignant monologues, organic suspense and moments that make you cry your eyelashes off. Just me? The Wedding had it all. It was almost perfect. The idea of Kate getting married without Jack there to walk her down the aisle was enough to get me misty before I even started the episode. The Deja storyline is enough to make me cry just thinking about it. There was enough. There was enough emotional material without the cruel dream sequence flashes (can we call these flash forwards?) that showed us what would have been Rebecca and Jack’s 40th wedding anniversary and vow renewal. Low blow, This Is Us.
Sure, I still sobbed uncontrollably at the sight of Old Milo Ventimiglia but I felt manipulated. I know This Is Us is constantly pandering for tears but this one felt like a cheap gimmick, and honestly, just an excuse to make Milo Ventimiglia a part of this episode while finally giving him a few scenes with the whole grownup cast. It does not bode well for season 3 that they’re already resorting to dream sequences to keep Jack on the show.
Aside from the blatant emotional manipulation, I loved everything else about this episode. I loved Kate’s wedding dress. Chrissy Metz looked stunning. I loved the mother/daughter moment between Rebecca and Kate when Kate delivered my favourite line of the episode:
“Mom, you are not in my way, you are my way.”
TEARS. This scene was also a good culmination of all the subtle ways that This Is Us has improved on its Women Problem this season. And small golf claps to the This Is Us writers for not making a single part of Kate’s wedding day issues be about her weight! Congrats on doing the right thing!
I also LOVED Randall’s and Kevin’s wedding toasts. If I had to choose, I’m going with Kevin’s (no disrespect to Sterling KATHLEEN Brown) because using a deep breath as a metaphor for letting go of Jack’s death and all the pent up bullsh-t the Pearsons have held on to over the years felt like the perfect symbolism for the evolution of this show.
Watching This Is Us is like deeply inhaling and then, after a beautiful beat, releasing a much-needed, tear-filled exhale. Exhaling with this show is exactly what America needs. It’s what we all need. After the show’s surprise SAG win, I called it the TV equivalent of a warm hug and recognised its vital place in the current pop culture landscape. Last night’s finale was the warmest of hugs and solidified its place in comfort TV – there’s nothing more comforting than a good ol’ wedding episode.
It wouldn’t be This is Us without some twists but you know how I feel about twists on this show so I’m going to try to tackle them quickly. Kevin and Beth’s cousin Zoe are together in the future. INTO IT. They are going to Vietnam for a plotline that probably has to do with Jack’s unnecessary dead secret brother Nicky. NOT INTO IT.
It looks like Toby is going to relapse with his depression. I’m intrigued by how this show is going to tackle this specific mental illness and I have faith that they’ll handle it respectfully because of their nuanced storytelling of Randall’s OCD. Also, Toby’s parents weren’t wrong. Don’t @ me.
DEJA TOOK A LOUISVILLE SLUGGER TO BOTH OF RANDALL’S HEADLIGHTS. I did not see that coming and I am HERE for the drama that will ensue. My heart breaks for Deja but goddamn is her storyline riveting television.
Future Randall and Future Tess are worried about going to visit someone. I swear to Beyonce if they give Beth a debilitating brain disease I am going to throw sh-t at my TV screen. My prediction is that they are going to visit Deja in jail which makes me just as angry as the Beth thing. Just let Randall’s family live happily ever after, dammit!
This Is Us is the only one of the shows I watch that makes me happy when it ends for the season. I need a break from all the feelings. I’ll probably still spend my Tuesday nights crying on my couch but for the next several months, I’ll blame the wine instead of This Is Us.