Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us.
This Is Us took us back to Jack and Rebecca’s big wedding day on Tuesday, but the cracks in their marriage may be too big to mend.
The Pearson parents traded “I do’s” at the municipal courthouse to joy and laughter, but more than a decade , multiple jobs, and three kids later, Jack and Rebecca get a big dose of reality: Marriage is hard. When their friends, Miguel and Shelly, break the news that they’re getting a divorce (“It’s for the best,” Miguel says), it forces Jack and Rebecca to analyze their marriage that much deeper.
Jack, perhaps, has the toughest time getting his head around the fact that a couple could divorce. After all, he has a staunch belief that once you put that ring on, that’s it. “You stay together until you die,” Jack says at one point. But Rebecca has a different outlook, telling him, “It’s not always that simple. Sometimes people just drift apart,” before backtracking and promising that it wasn’t a veiled comment about their own marriage. “I’m not Shelly, you’re not Miguel.”
But the truth of the matter is, they could be. Realizing that he and Rebecca are heading dangerously down the path that Miguel and Shelly took, Jack seeks out Miguel for any sign as to when he knew his marriage was over -- and it wasn’t one big event that tipped the scales. As Miguel explains to Jack, they “stopped noticing each other.” “You either roll up your sleeves and you fight with what you’ve got or you decide that you’re tired and you give up,” he says.
In a moment of clarity, Jack pulls off a romantic surprise for Rebecca, bringing her to their very first apartment in hopes of reconnecting and rekindling the flame that may have been lost over the years. They even read their original wedding vows, wondering how well they have held up over the past decade or so.
Jack: “Rebecca, saying I do means saying I will. I will love you today and every day for the rest of my life. I’ve been trying to focus on all of the little moments that I don’t want to forget but the moment that is burned into my brain and heart was the first time I saw you. Rebecca, you have changed the way I think about love. I know that things may not always be easy, but no takebacks now. You’re stuck with me. But our love has always been worth it. I will encourage you, trust and respect you. I will create a home with you full of love, and laughter and compassion. I will raise a family with you and grow old with you. I will share my dreams with you, so today, in front of everyone here, I pledge myself to you.”
Rebecca: “Jack, I fall a little bit more in love with you every day. In you I have found my soulmate, my best friend, my lover, my partner, my safe place. You are my great love story and Jack Pearson, our story is just getting started. We’re going to be OK.”
But are they really going to be OK? After Rebecca re-reads her vows, she breaks the news to Jack, who’s been juggling work with increasing fatherhood duties (running to Kevin and Randall’s opposing football games, for instance), that the band she’s been singing in -- which includes an ex-boyfriend, by the way -- landed a five-state tour. “I think I want to go,” she declares. Was this moment the last hurrah for Jack and Rebecca? It certainly seems that way.
Elsewhere, This Is Us reunited ex-loves Kevin and Sophie, a nurse at Manhattan General Hospital, after 12 long years, and we got the sense that Kevin never truly let go of his childhood sweetheart, recalling their first kiss during an 8th grade field trip, sitting in their booth at their favorite diner or recalling the conversation where they decided to try the long-distance thing (spoiler: it didn’t work).
So why didn’t this marriage work? Like Miguel and Shelly, a multitude of reasons, it turns out -- not the least of which included Kevin cheating on Sophie and “ruining our marriage,” she recalls. Sophie didn’t handle their divorce well either, revealing that she moved back in with her parents and dated “a bunch of jerks,” even marrying one (spoiler: they split up) before settling in with an X-ray technician who’s “solid.”
But true love waits for no one, and Sophie decides to give Kevin another chance. You have to, after finding out he created a fake Facebook profile under an Asian name just to keep tabs on her life and knowing about her mother’s fight with MS. It’s creepy under any circumstance, but we’ll give Kevin a pass. (And did anyone catch Sophie referencing Miguel with her nickname, “my little Miggy”?)
Speaking of MS, Randall’s personal complications with his dying father, William, start to take hold of his professional responsibilities, to the point where his workload is being split up among his colleagues.
The most heartbreaking revelation of all, though, is the lingering tremor in his hand that may turn out to be something far more serious: Does Randall have MS? Could it be a symptom of Parkinson’s? Is it simply anxiety attacks? Fingers crossed it’s nothing more -- but we have a feeling that whatever it is, it’s about to change his life.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.