How the NBC drama wrapped the Pearsons’ story in a moving series finale – Deadline


How the NBC drama wrapped the Pearsons' story in a moving series finale - Deadline

Six years ago today, the trailer for the then new NBC drama series This is us exploded and broke records with about 80 million views in 12 days. It was a prequel to the show’s phenomenal six seasons, which ended tonight with the series finale entitled Us.

The Closer was set immediately after the penultimate episode “The Train” when the Pearsons gathered for Rebecca’s funeral. teasing “us” last week, This is us Creator Dan Fogelman described it as “a day in the life that defines so much of what the show is about,” noting that the last two hours of This is us, which he wrote are “very different episodes that speak to each other”.

Besides Rebecca’s death, another thread connecting the two episodes is the dream sequence involving young Rebecca and Jack in the station wagon of the train that Rebecca found herself in last week. The final lines in both episodes were spoken by Rebecca and Jack in this caboose as they greeted each other with “Hey” on “The Train” and said “I love you” in the finale.

THIS IS US – “We” Episode 618 – Pictured: (lr) Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca – (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The finale began with young Jack and Rebecca waking up in their house in a bed that mirrored the caboose scene right down to Jack’s moustache. The duo’s morning chat yielded the memorable closing line Fogelman teased last week: “I wish I’d enjoyed it more while it was still happening instead of worrying about when it’s going to end,” Rebecca said. Something Jack said at the very end, as he and Rebecca lay in the galley bed, was a favorite line from the entire series for star Milo Ventimiglia, he revealed during a panel on Sunday. Decades ago, when Rebecca opened up about their chance encounter at a bar that sparked their romance, Jack (Ventimiglia) said, “When the world throws something so obvious in front of you, you don’t just walk away.”

In the finale, there were several parallels between Rebecca and Jack’s comedy talk and the scene of Rebecca’s death on “The Train,” including Randall telling his mother, “We’re fine now, you’re fine,” just before she died last week . and Jack said to Rebecca, “Babe, we did well. You did so well”, in the final. She also squeezed Jack’s hand on the train in the finale, just like she had done with Randall’s hand in her final moments in the previous episode.

The way the “The Train” sequence in the season premiere built on references to the train and caboose, the finale’s “Day in the Life” theme drew from Rebecca’s heartbreaking speech in Episode 2, in which she said, “I do don’t worry about forgetting about the big stuff. It’s the little things I still don’t want to let go of,” says playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey on a Saturday, one of those little moments she’s afraid to forget.

That Saturday with the Pre-Teen Big Three, where the family watched home videos, played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Jack taught the boys how to shave, was the centerpiece of the finale. The footage, which was shot nearly four years ago, has been edited along with re-filmed portions of the farewell.

Young Kate was great at the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game and explained how she did it so well, using her parents’ and siblings’ voices as a spatial reference. “As long as I know where you are, I know where I’m going,” she said.

THAT’S US – “We” Episode 618 – Pictured: (lr) Chris Sullivan as Toby, Griffin Dunne as Nicky

Chris Sullivan, who plays Toby on the show, cited this as his favorite line from the show. Toby himself was later seen playing the game with the Pearsons after Rebecca’s funeral.

In a different signature This is us Linking Past and Future, a scene with William, Randall, and young Tess and Annie, set as William and Randall set off on William’s final trip to Memphis, told William Randall about the joys of being a grandfather. It is juxtaposed with Randall preparing to become a grandfather in the finale.

In it, Deja Randall said she was going to have a boy, whom she and Malik would appropriately name William, who she had never met but had met through her own father, she said.

While we saw Randall struggle with writing his eulogy for Rebecca (“Mom was magical,” was all he could muster on a cue card), the show decided to use the speeches the Big Three gave at the memorial service for her mother kept not showing.

Instead we have a final scene with the siblings sitting on the steps of the family cabin.

We found out what their plans are for the future. Kate will work to open more music schools for the visually impaired. Kevin plans to focus on his nonprofit organization. And Randall, whose burgeoning political career has been hinted at for a number of years, will explore a presidential bid with a trip to Iowa.

Kate shared her nightmare that after both her parents left, “we drifted off.” Promising each other to stay close, she and her brothers sang the famous Big Three chant we’d seen just minutes earlier in one of the home videos the Pearsons watched on that lazy Saturday decades ago.

In the finale, Randall and Beth had one final round of their groundbreaking worst-case scenario game, while Toby and Kate shared a sweet moment of him telling her he loves her, a nice parting gift for die-hard KaToby fans.

The episode also contained a few montages that skip time jumps that a This is us Staples — there were the Big Three waking up as children and the morning of Rebecca’s funeral, as well as several generations of Pearsons pushing their little ones on park swings, from Rebecca as a little girl with her father to Rebecca and Jack with the Big Three as Toddlers, then their kids as adults with their kids, and finally Jack Jr. and his baby daughter, which by the way is the future that’s taken the show the furthest.

At the end, Rebecca told Jack on the train that she didn’t want to leave her children alone and that “there was still so much to do with them.”

“You will,” Jack assured her. “It’s hard to explain, but you’re going to do all these things to them. You will be there.”

As the two said “I love you” to each other, the show moved on to its final montage to a stirring score previously used once on the show in the Season 1 episode where Kevin showed his nieces his painting. The camera alternated with each of the Big Three, with Randall looking at Deja who had her hand on her stomach. The last shot of the finale was young Randall and Jack from the Saturday scene, with the camera focused on Jack as he looked at his family.

In a post-mortem interview (you can read it here), Dan Fogelman breaks down the episode and answers questions about key moments and scenes in the finale, including his choice of final lines of dialogue and settings and the decision not to show Big Three songs of praise her mother. He also talks about footage filmed but unused, Randall’s political future and potential This is us spin-offs.

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