Did anyone else just leave that "This Is Us" finale feeling a little bit stunned?
Season four went out with several bangs, including not one, not two, but three surprise children, and one massive brotherly fight that it feels pretty dang hard to come back from. Times they are a-changin' in the Pearson family, that's for sure.
First of all, Beth, Kate, and Kevin were all pretty unhappy with the way Randall convinced Rebecca to do the clinical trial. Kate didn't get much of a chance to react just yet, but boy did Kevin lose his mind. He saw it as Randall convincing Rebecca to take sides with her children, especially when she clearly didn't want to do the trial, and Randall knew they'd all regret it if they didn't do everything they could, just like he regrets not doing everything he could to save his dad.
And that was also the button Kevin kept pushing as he went after Randall, saying that if he were there, he would have saved Jack. Randall fought back, telling Kevin he would forever have to accept the fact that Jack died ashamed of him, and Kevin will never know what it's like to devote himself to another person. Kevin then said that he used to think the worst thing that ever happened to him was Jack dying, but now he thinks it's the day Randall was brought home.
Right before this brutal, hard-to-watch fight, Kevin had just learned some major news unrelated to his mom and Randall: Madison is pregnant. And she plans to keep it. But there was also some news she hadn't told him before he went out for air/that fight: it's twins! And when we tell you we screamed at that reveal, we are not joking. We screamed.
We also got confirmation that the other twin is a girl when we saw her in the future, along with Kevin's son, who we had already seen. Kevin also told Madison he's all in, and thinks maybe the love of his life will be his kid and not a romantic love.
The episode's other surprise kid came after Kate and Toby took baby Jack back to visit the NICU for his first birthday, to add his picture to the wall of fame. As they were leaving the hospital, they decided maybe they should adopt another kid, which soon explained one of the random strangers floating about the episode.
A young woman named Hailey worked at a museum, and she was busy telling her coworker/best friend she shouldn't go on a date with him while he teased her about her movie star one night stand when she suddenly had to leave, because her brother Jack Damon's wife was having a baby. So Kate and Toby are about to adopt a little girl! That's the good news to come out of the present storyline right now. Many other things aren't great, but babies are nice at least.
In a conference call with a small group of reporters, show creator Dan Fogelman revealed that he's already written the season five premiere, and they've got season five and six planned out at this point. He couldn't give much away, but he could give a bit of insight into what's coming up.
Kevin's romantic journey is not over, despite his declaration that the love of his life would be his kid(s).
"There's basically many more chapters in Kevin's romantic story," Fogelman said. "We are far advanced already. I've already written the season premiere of next year and broken I think five episodes of the season, and we have mapped out plans for the entire next and sixth season honestly, so Kevin has a journey ahead of him, and I don't want to get too far ahead of it just yet."
That journey may or may not include the returns of Sophie and Cassidy, who both made brief appearances in the finale as if to say the show isn't done with them yet.
"As Kevin is contemplating a life of giving up on the idea of great love, cutting to these two women with whom he shared intense relationships with, that moved him forward and backwards in different ways...there's a reason for that. I'd say those characters are not done with, whether or not it's related to Kevin..."
Kevin and Randall's blowout, which we knew was coming from the flash forward to the Big 3's 40th birthday, was filmed in one take. Fogelman said this is not something that's going to be easy to get over.
"This is Cain and Abel type stuff for these two," he said. "This is a fight that goes towards, literally, their inception. Two kind of alpha men growing up under the same roof with the exact same period of time, both with two wildly different skill sets."
Fogelman reminds us that these two were sort of estranged at the beginning of the series, and only recently got close for the first time.
"So it didn't take long to bring them back to their kind of primal wounds, and pull them apart," he said. "It just felt like the guys did it so brutal and so brilliantly. Obviously it's all done in one take. I think part of making a drama, part of making a human sub-drama is not being afraid to let people be really flawed and really ugly, so that hopefully, as we tend to do on our show, the kind of hope we offer and the repair we might offer is well earned, and well-executed when it comes."
Some good news: Kevin and Randall seem to have made up 12 years in the future.
How will Randall fair if his family has sort of cast him out? Fogelman says he'll really be leaning on Beth and the girls.
"I think that Randall without being at the center of this extended family, and kind of having this kind of fallout with his brother who he's gotten close with, I think it can be fair to say, you know, the immediate family, the family that he lives every day, that would become something that would he would hold incredibly tight," he said. "His 40th birthday, it's not kind of him sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and crying the entire time, but I think it's fair to say we'll see his immediate family rallying around to kind of try and make it all work."
Rebecca and Miguel
While the rest of the fam might not be so on board with the move to St. Louis, Fogelman says it gives us a chance to really get to know Rebecca and Miguel as a couple for the first time.
"It's obviously a challenging chapter for Rebecca, moving forward," he says. "We have a big storyline planned for Mandy in the next upcoming season in present day, as an older woman, and also her past timelines. Particularly, it's an opportunity for us when we land in St. Louis with her with Miguel. So often they operate as a couple in service of the larger family. When you see them together, it's because the entire family's there and has storylines. But here's an opportunity where we're going to be joining them in a location together, kind of, together, as they kind of undergo this journey that they didn't necessarily plan on trying. And they will also allow us to kind of get towards, which has always been the plan in the back part of our series, get towards a further understanding of how their relationship bloomed, then stalled, then kind of bloomed again, and getting really inside of their lives."
Stay tuned tomorrow for a full examination of everything we learned about the future in tonight's finale!
"This Is Us" airs on NBC.
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