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This Is Us: our expectations for the Season 2 finale

14 March 2018

In the trailer for tonight's season finale, fans see an older version of Jack, which has triggered curiosity, seeing as we know he's dead by now. He's optimistic, where Kate is more reserved and cautious. If the flash forwards that put a very ominous stamp on this finale are any indication, things will only get bleaker, which means that it's time to accept the fact that This Is Us is officially no longer the feel-good weepy show that it's known for being.

For one, a twist. You might be moved and even weep your way through a box of Kleenex during any given episode, but the emotions it elicited felt safe and weirdly good.

In season two, okay went out the window. I admire it for acknowledging that.

Time flies when you're watching and sobbing to This Is Us, and tonight we've finally reached the second season finale of the NBC/Fox series with the episode,"The Wedding".

But holy house fires, did it really take that concept to an extreme over these past 18 episodes, which makes it unusual when people still talk about this show within the context of comfort food TV. It's exciting because we all want to see characters go through a journey and hopefully evolve in the right direction and she's working at it. I don't think a TV wedding has been this disinterested in the couple getting married since Ross looked into Emily's eyes on Friends and said, "I take thee, Rachel". Famous last words? There's also some gloomy foreshadowing when Kate tells her mom that Toby isn't in her dreams about Jack and Rebecca's 40th anniversary. At one point, she breaks away from the family and all the pre-wedding activities and retreats to a spot in the woods she frequented with Jack with an urn of his ashes under her arm. And the official description of the episode, titled "The Wedding", is just as vague: "The Pearsons come together to celebrate Kate and Toby's wedding". (Or maybe, he's been diagnosed with a severe disease.) In the revealing scene, Kate walks into the darkened bedroom to check up on Toby, who's lying on his side and looking unhealthy and unhappy, and share that they should see the doctor the next day to discuss "adjusting your meds".

But wait, it gets worse!

What's great about healthy relationships is there is a give and a take, and Toby has given a lot to Kate. While we don't think either Kate or Toby will get cold feet, it is possible that one of them could suffer a health scare like Toby did in Season 1. Another flash-forward found Future Randall telling Future Tess that it was time to go see "her", and Tess replying that she didn't feel ready. He and Kevin have laid out some replacement options for Jack's T-shirt, including the old family baseball bat, but Kate assures them she has a better plan, racing out on an unspecified mission right after her mother arrives.

The series has also taken what easily could have been a exhausted subplot, involving Randall's foster child Deja (Lyric Ross), and in the last few episodes broadened that into something more resonant than clichéd, while presenting Randall with a parenting challenge that, as is so often true on the show, ties into his past while simultaneously hinting at his future. Or is Annie the one dealing with some sort of dire circumstance? And because the This Is Us writers are pros at setting up the long game, the finale revealed several major teases for obstacles facing several major characters in the final moments of the episode. One horrific, but very realistic, possibility: At some point in the distant past, Deja got into a bad fight with Beth and the family, resulting in something traumatic (possibly fatal) happening that broke the family unit apart. It's not comfort food TV anymore. After Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall anxious at the start of the episode about Deja going down the wrong path, it looks like that's exactly where she's headed.

This Is Us: our expectations for the Season 2 finale