Normally I would try to sugar coat things but there just isn’t any sugar coating this one: This Is Us‘ first season finale was so over-hyped and underdone there’s still a bad taste in my mouth.
Listen, I absolutely love This Is Us. Ever since I saw the pilot last summer I knew it was going to be an amazing show and up until now that has been the case with every single episode. Yet somehow, some way, they managed to totally screw up what should have been an amazing finale.
Jack’s death will be the death of us all
Ever since we found out that Jack is dead in the present day story line we’ve all been wondering when and how he died, which is only natural. Near the end of the season we found out that he died when Randall, Kate and Kevin were teenagers, which gives us a better idea of how long this family has had to adjust to this life-changing fact. But with the season finale now done we still don’t know the answer!
And at the end of this episode we were supposed to find out how Jack died, but instead of doing that the show just danced around the subject some more and decided to make us wait until next year. Why even tease us with it, then?
One of the reasons people like This Is Us so much is because of the emotional rollercoaster of cliffhangers they’ve put us through. Between Kate and Toby, Kevin and his numerous lady friends, and Randall’s entire arc with his father there’s been plenty of sob-worthy moments and insane cliffhangers in the show’s first season alone.
Although this far into the first season it sure does feel like This Is Us is using cliffhangers to keep people watching without needing to actually finish up the story line in question.
At the end of the episode last week Kate says it’s her fault that her dad died, which got us all worried and concerned about what she thinks she might have done to say such a thing. That’s a major bomb to drop on an audience that has been waiting to find out how Jack has died, and I was so ready to find out the answers.
Directly after this line they show Jack on a payphone asking for Kate, telling her that she was right about not supporting their mom and that he was going to go and make it better. He drops the keys on his way to his car, gets in and drives off. End of episode.
So, clearly, something must have happened either on the way to Rebecca’s concert or at the venue that made Kate think this. Nope. That’s just another cliffhanger that we now have to wait months to find the answer to.
Finale? More like fake out!
Nothing about this episode screamed “finale” to me, because nothing was final!
Jack drove two hours to see his wife perform, drunk (which is irritating but at least proves to everyone how he’s not perfect), and ends up punching the guy who had the nerve to try and kiss a married woman. Good for him on defending his wife, but boy was his behavior terrible.
At this point I’m like, “Okay so since he didn’t die on the way there there’s gotta be something that happens at the venue.” Maybe the jerk that tried to kiss Rebecca ends up fighting with him and almost beating him to death? Nah, that’d be too convenient apparently.
Rebecca ends up driving them both home after she decided to quit the show (since her co-star just tried hitting on her) and then they end up at home, still mad at each other. In fact they go to bed still mad at each other, which is something my parents always told me to not do. Maybe this is why!
After they get home they get into an argument and Jack is forced to sleep on the couch, where Rebecca approaches the next morning and tells him he should stay at Miguel’s for a while. And don’t get me started about how the mention of Miguel’s name at (what seems like) the end of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship just grinds my gears. Does anyone really trust that guy?
This is the turning point, everyone. This is where the show could have gone from good to great but instead went from good to “what the hell?!”
If Jack and Rebecca had agreed on getting a divorce at the end of this episode then what Kate said last week would have made sense. She was the reason that Jack went out and drove all the way to Rebecca, which instead of making up sparked the beginning of the end of their marriage.
But instead of their final conversation being a tear-jerking goodbye and end it was actually Jack looking like a stand-up guy and explaining how deep his love and faith in them is, telling her how this will just be a blip in the radar. We’re left with an ending showing a couple that… actually might be okay?
It could have been so much more
This entire episode was so unsatisfying! We thought we would get Jack’s death but no, nothing even close. We thought that his relationship with Rebecca might be coming to an end, but it looks like he’s not giving up yet. So what did we find out?
We found out that Kate wants to sing, Randall wants to adopt a baby (which I am so here for) and that Kevin is going to a meeting to get a new part in a movie we already knew about.
All of these things could have been major plot points in the finale, with time devoted to each of them so that at the end of the episode, when they made their decisions, we actually felt like the episode had answered things and have opened up paths for next season. Instead they decided to tease us about Jack’s death some more and not even really try to answer that question for us.
Now, I’m not totally bitter. I realize that they probably weren’t aware they’d get renewed for two new seasons instead of the one. They might want to utilize the star power that is Milo Ventigmilia a little longer, and that’s fine.
But shit, man. Don’t end the penultimate episode with a line from Kate saying Jack’s death was her fault if you aren’t going to then show us why! You should have ended it with William’s death, honestly.