Chrissy Metz and Chris Sullivan in NBC's This Is Us

Well, that’s one way to end the season. When we think it’s going right, This Is Us goes left. The Season 5 finale included a wedding, but it wasn’t the one I or the rest of America saw coming.

This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16 Recap: “The Adirondacks”

The Wedding

It’s a nice day to (contemplate your relationship and potentially) start again! While Kevin works on his speech (wink), Madison revisits some of the worst moments of her life. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Madison’s mother walked out on her, but left a pair of earrings to wear on Madison’s wedding day. As a teenager, Madison’s father gave her money for a prom dress and said it’s ok to settle in her relationships. As an adult, Madison’s boyfriend broke up with her. To say these are the three worst moments a bride could think about on her wedding day would be an understatement!

Things start to go wrong at the venue, and Kevin experiences a minor panic attack. By trying to make everything perfect, he loses sight of what this day is truly about. Maybe it’s just cold feet, but it might be more than that.

Guess what? It was more than that. Madison walks into Kevin’s dressing room and asks him the million-dollar question. Madison asks, “Are you in love with me?” Kevin says he loves his kids and the life they’re building together, but he never tells Madison he loves her. Ouch! Kevin begs Madison to make it work, but Madison refuses, saying she can’t marry Kevin if he doesn’t love her. The wedding is off.

After the wedding’s called off, Kevin, Kate, Randall, and Rebecca sit in the Adirondack chairs that Uncle Nicky purchased as a wedding gift. They reminisce about Jack and how he’d know exactly what to do in this situation*. Due to her fading health, Rebecca asks Kevin to build the house that Jack was going to build her up at the cabin. Kevin agrees, and the Big Four embrace. Maybe I’m a cynic, but a wedding was just called off, and everyone is happy again?

*There was a flashback where Rebecca and Jack argued in front of the Big Three and it frightened the young children. Long story short, they professed their love for each other in a mock wedding in front of the kids. I’m not trying to minimize this scene, but it was not the most important thing from last night. It was touching though. I’m not a monster. I do have a soul.

Let’s Make It Work

Well this tweet aged poorly.^

Kate and Toby’s relationship was on a collision course towards a major argument due to Toby’s impending employment in San Francisco. Before the wedding, Toby shares what he thinks is good news, which is a new job. However, the job is in San Francisco and he will eventually need to be there three days a week. Kate is stunned, and questions if Toby understands the gravity of the situation. Toby stupidly commits the mortal sin of saying he loves his children and follows it up with a “but.” He desperately wants to go back to work. (Side note: How long has he been out of work? A few months? You would think it’s been five years with the way he complains! Double side note: Being unemployed sucks.)

At the venue, Kate recalls her wedding vows and remembers what true love is all about, putting your partner before yourself. Because of this, Kate calls her coworker, Phillip, and announces her resignation as a teacher’s aide. Surprisingly, Phillip puts his foot down, compliments Kate’s teaching ability, and refuses her resignation.

Later on, Kate and Toby talk it out and decide that Toby should take the job while Kate will keep her job. They’re going to try long-distance like high school sweethearts who separate for college. I don’t have the numbers on me, but I bet two-thirds of long-distance college relationships fail.

Randall And Rebecca

A mother and her favorite son finally made some ground in their fractured relationship. Since his return from New Orleans, Randall hasn’t talked to Rebecca about his trip and birth mother.

When they first sit down, Randall shows a picture of Laurel, and Rebecca immediately cries. Both of them can’t handle the grief so Randall immediately changes the subject.

Later on, Rebecca confronts Randall and explains why she cried earlier. Rebecca tearfully apologizes to Randall for withholding information about William. She realizes what she did and messed with Randall’s emotions throughout his life. Rebecca will always feel guilty for what she did. But, a tearful Randall accepts her apology and they sit down to chat about Laurel. This was one of the few happy endings tonight on This Is Us.

The Flashforward

Finally, let’s talk about the flash-forward aka the only thing people will want to talk about. My mind went in all different directions while watching so it’s hard to form complete thoughts. I’m just going to rattle off everything I saw. Ready, break.

  • Kevin is at a wedding in the future. He’s practicing a speech in the mirror, but it’s not for him.
  • Big Three Construction is a real thing.
  • Kevin has a girlfriend (women’s clothes in his room), but who?
  • Randall has a “Rising Star” profile in a magazine.
  • Uncle Nicky is alive and married.
  • Beth and Madison are still alive.
  • Kevin is 45 so this flash-forward is about fourish years into the future.
  • Madison and Kevin seem to be on good terms. I did not spot wedding rings on their fingers, but both seem to be cordial and happy.
  • The location is Kate’s second wedding.
  • Kate is marrying… PHILLIP FROM MUSIC SCHOOL.
  • Kate and Toby are divorced.

End Scene.

Now that is how you finish a season. I encourage you to read Dan Fogelman’s interview on how the time jump frames the sixth and final season. It appears there are two major events in the future: Kate’s wedding and the family gathering at the house Kevin built. What is the time gap between these? If I had to guess, it’s either five or ten years. Five would make the Big Three 50-years-old at the new house so let’s go with that.

Unfortunately, we have to wait until 2022 for the final season. Until then, maybe I have to give up on my “Kate is dead” theory? See you next year.

Did you enjoy the This Is Us Season 5 finale? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

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