This Is Us: Then and Now

If you have not watched the season 2 finale of This Is Us yet walk away now. You have been warned.

I feel like ever since the episode of This Is Us when the world learned how Jack Pearson died, absolutely nothing has shocked me anymore. Even looking back at older episodes nothing seemed quite as incredible as a crockpot fire. For two years now, the world has laughed and cried and fallen in love with the Pearson family. Now let me be frank, I did not love either finale of This Is Us to date. I feel like the writers just tried too hard in each one. However, I felt like the season 2 finale did a great job of asking questions, and so I wanted to write about it. I’ll be comparing the season 1 and season 2 finales in this post, and I hope you enjoy it!

The season 1 finale centers around Rebecca’s music “career” with additional flashbacks to Jack and Rebecca’s first date, whereas season 2 focuses on Kate and Tobi’s wedding. During the wedding episode, Kate imagines her mother and father renewing their vows in old age rather than her own wedding. Whereas most episodes are focused on flashbacks, the most recent finale has a lot of different flash forwards. What makes the vow renewal (or real wedding?!) important, is that you are left to believe that every other flash forward comes true. For those of you that may not remember, Jack and Rebecca meet after they were both set up on dates. Jack sees Rebecca singing on stage and looks on in awe.

What I like about both episodes is that there are three moments in time that are linked. It pieces together the very real ideal that our lives are in fact one life. We don’t live once in high school, again in our early thirties, and once again in old age. Everything that happens to us affects us always (okay, the everything and always may be a stretch). I recall watching the season 1 finale for This Is Us in my friends house, probably mid-day, wondering how such a normal episode could end so shockingly. Re-watching the finale gives me the exact same feeling. There is a lot of talk about Jack’s alcoholism, and Rebecca essentially blames him for sabotaging her future. There is also a moment where Rebecca tells Jack that dying from driving drunk would be a hell of a way for him to leave the family. This isn’t the only episode that aired around this time that alluded to Jack dying in a car. It is worth noting that season 1 focuses heavily on Jack and Rebecca’s tortured relationship, whereas season 2 focuses more on the kids’ relationships. While some might say that it’s “in their blood” or something along those lines, I think in reality this TV show just shows us the parts of relationships that we all would rather hide and pretend never happen.

If I have to draw parallels with everything that happens, I would say the whole money-stealing scheme of Jack and Miguel’s is akin to Deja’s rebellion. They each have their own, very different reasons, but to put it frankly they’re acting stupid. The thing is, I truly don’t believe either party understands the stupidity of their actions. They feel hurt and/or lost and so they decide to do something about it. We have all been there, and we would all ask for forgiveness now (I hope) looking back.

The one thing I think season 2 did better than season 1 was leave the questions in the finale, rather than the episodes leading up to it. The finale of season 2 left me wanting to know more, whereas the finale of season 1 just left me with a feeling of unresolved plot points. Who are Tess and Randall discussing (my vote: Beth). Why did Tobi have another depressive episode (my vote: Audio). What does Kevin’s future have in store (my vote: a new career). And finally what the heck is up with Jack’s brother


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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