Jazz Tangcay recaps the This Is Us season finale and gives a sneak peek into the viewing party held by NBC, tissues included.
SPOILER ALERT – IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE THIS IS US SEASON FINALE, STOP READING NOW!
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…
There is a reason This Is Us is a massive hit on NBC. It’s absolutely stellar television, and it’s not on cable or streaming. It’s network TV. The This Is Us season finale episode ended the absolutely incredible debut season answering one question but still leaving another question unanswered. But we’re OK with that.
Titled “Moonshadow,” the episode finally reveals how Jack and Rebecca meet, but it fails to answer how Jack dies. Who thought this week would be that reveal where we find out how Jack meets his death? Last week’s episode had us thinking that maybe Jack was going to die in a car crash after drunk-driving, but that would be too easy. Instead, we’re left wondering for the entire summer, maybe even longer when Season 2 returns.
Flipping between the 70’s and 90’s, we learn that Jack shows up to Rebecca. However, by the time he arrives, he’s drunk and ends up getting into a brawl with Ben, her ex-boyfriend. Rebecca has to drive him home and there is a historic fight between Jack and Rebecca, but we’ll get to that later. Flashback to the 70’s and we see young Jack emerge from under a car, fixing it for his neighbor who wants to set him up with her friend’s granddaughter. The handsome looking Jack with a mustache accepts. IS IT REBECCA?
Meanwhile, 70’s Rebecca is with her girlfriends – one married, the other pregnant – and she appears perfectly happy pursuing her singing career. Later, she receives a rejection letter from Electra records and reluctantly accepts to go on a blind date. Young Jack and his friend Darryl dream of setting up a mechanics shop. They’re the good guys who dream of making it, and Jack wants to go in the opposite direction his father did. He’s a young war veteran who is saving his money so he can move out of his parent’s home and have that perfect life.
Jack and Darryl go off to play poker at a seedy joint, and good-guy Jack wins. As he celebrates his win right outside the bar, he gets beaten up. That’s it, Jack is done being the good guy and decides he’s going to steal the Happy Hour cash from Ray’s bar. He has just the plan.
Are you still following? OK, because here’s what happens next, Rebecca is on this awful date with this suited guy who’s talking mergers and acquisitions, but she’d rather be at an open mic. Halfway through she calls an end to the date and leaves.
At the same time, Darryl and Jack put their plan to rob the cash register at Ray’s into action. It’s all going swimmingly until Jack notices the woman on stage. It’s Rebecca singing “Moonshadow,” and they exchange a smile. SWOOOOOOONNNN!! There we have the night Jack and Rebecca first met.
This Is Us being what it is, we cut back to the 90’s in between the scenes of drunk Jack being driven home by Rebecca in complete silence or being given a bag of peas for his bruised hand where he punched Ben. The emotional intensity is off the scale. Jack has been drinking, and he tells her he has never driven drunk when he’s with the kids.
Rebecca unleashes telling Jack her life has been about being a housewife and she has nothing in her life but their children who are teenagers and have no need for her. She tells Jack that she has a husband who comes home late, talks about his dad, and passes out. “I have no life! I am a ghost!” He yells. Rebecca yells. She asks him what he loves about her right now and then goes to the bed.
The next morning, it’s suggested that Jack should go and stay with Miguel, but just before he leaves he has a confession to make. Jack tells Rebecca all that he loves about her. “I love the mother that you are. I love that you are still the most beautiful woman in any room and that you laugh with your entire face. I love that you dance funny and not sexy, which makes it even sexier. But most of all, I love that you’re still the same woman who all those years ago, ran out on a blind date because she simply had to sing. You’re not just my great love story, Rebecca. You are my big break.” He ends by saying, “And our love story, and, I know it may not feel like it now, but I promise you, it’s just getting started.”
Season 1 ends with Jack walking out of the door and Rebecca holding on to her necklace. That, folks, is how Season one of This is Us wraps.
This is Us is such fine television with a superbly talented cast. Its writing from episode one hooks you each episode. These reasons keep the show at number one on NBC and garner a legion of fans who tune in each week. This week we learned a lot about Jack, but the writers held off on telling us how he died. That still works because, instead, they gave us the beginning. How This Is Us all began. In between, there was a current montage of the kids. Kate has decided she wants to sing. Randall wants to adopt a baby, and Kevin gets a call from Ron Howard.
It was a perfect ending. It might not have garnered any tears, but that’s ok because there were plenty tears shed in previous episodes.
If you haven’t caught This Is Us, spend summer going on an emotional journey and having your feelings manipulated – a good thing because This is Us is great TV.
We can’t wait to find out what happens next. Does Rebecca chase him? Is that the end of Jack and Rebecca? There are many questions that need answering, and to be perfectly honest, I’ll happily wait a few more seasons for them to be answered.
NBC/Universal held a season finale viewing party with cast and showrunners in attendance. Here are some photos from the night:
Watch the Aftershow exclusive on YouTube