Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Tuesday’s finale of This Is Us.
Is this the end?!
This Is Us finished off its freshman season with a heart-wrenching finale on Tuesday, and fans of Jack and Rebecca are not going to be happy. That’s because at the end of the episode, titled “Moonshadow” (more on the significance later), the Pearson parents separate.
Yup, it’s going to be one long summer.
Jack and Rebecca’s relationship woes have been bubbling up for the past several episodes, and in the finale, the writing was on the wall.
A not-so-sober Jack successfully made his way to Cleveland, Ohio -- where Rebecca was about to kick off her five-city tour -- in a last-ditch attempt to fix his marriage. But any semblance of a resolution crashed and burned once Jack learned Ben unsuccessfully tried to kiss Rebecca, causing a massive fist fight between Rebecca’s two loves. “It’s over, Ben, it’s all over,” she told her ex-beau minutes before they were supposed to take the stage. Instead, Rebecca drove Jack back home in what must have been the most uncomfortable two-hour ride.
Once they made it to Pittsburgh, though, that’s when the fireworks began -- and not the celebratory kind.
After Jack said he’d apologize to Ben and that he’d go to more Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the root of Jack and Rebecca’s lingering issues, and deep-seeded resentment, came to a head in their biggest fight -- possibly ever. The sad thing is, it wasn’t one problem, it was many. What happened during their marriage that made their paths diverge so far away?
“I have zero life, Jack!” an exasperated Rebecca exclaimed, desperate to feel fulfillment in her life. “I’m a housewife to three teenagers who do not need me anymore and I have a husband who waltzes in at 8 o’clock, if I’m lucky, goes to the kitchen, recaps his day for me and then passes out upstairs at 10 o’clock. I have no life. I’m a freakin’ ghost!”
“You are a 40-year-old woman singing covers in pubs,” Jack said, not entirely wrong about his observation. “That is not a career, Rebecca -- that is ridiculous. And the fact that I am supporting this family financially and emotionally, and still I am being attacked for not being supportive, that makes me want to ram my head through a damn wall.”
The once-happy couple continued to air out their grievances without filter or regard for the other’s feelings. It proved to be one of the rawest moments of pure truth that they’ve shared -- it’s unfortunate that it had to be about everything that was wrong with their marriage. It seemed as though arguments -- likely not of this magnitude, however -- had started to become a regular occurrence in the Pearson household because in the middle of the fight, Jack commented about how insane the whole thing was.
“We love each other,” he said to himself, as if trying to persuade himself that everything could be fixed with a kiss and an apology. Sorry, Jack, not so. Rebecca heard Jack’s remark, asking him to tell her what he loved about her in that moment -- not those years prior. When he couldn’t find an answer, it confirmed that Jack and Rebecca’s marriage, as we know it, might really be over now.
The morning after, it was clear things between the estranged lovebirds had reached a painfully new level -- one they were unsure of how to navigate. “We can’t pull it all back in the light of day,” Rebecca told Jack, who had sobered up by then, recalling their hurtful comments from the night before. Were they going to get into marriage counseling? Was Rebecca about to ask for … a divorce? Were they going to give it one last go? No, it was none of the above -- but it was upsetting nonetheless.
Rebecca asked Jack to move out of the house and stay with Miguel “for a while,” to “give us some air.” (Vague terms like that never bode well for “temporary” breaks.) Though Jack remained stoic on the couch, it was obvious from his reaction -- the slight twitch in his face -- that his life was crumbling before his very eyes. “OK,” Jack agreed.
Before Jack left the house for possibly the final time (but hopefully not) -- the same one he surprised Rebecca with all those years ago -- he approached the next chapter in their lives in classic Jack fashion: with a smile and a wink.
Jack chose that moment to reveal to Rebecca that he had a blind date with another woman the night he first heard her voice at the pub where she was singing the song, "Moonshadow," on open mic night (after ditching her own blind date with a boring finance guy named Ethan). “I wonder who she was,” Rebecca pondered aloud, her mind drifting about what could have been.
“I never have,” Jack confessed, answering the question his wife had posed in the heat of their argument the night before, about what he loved about her now, listing off what a great mother she was, her laugh, her funny dancing. “I love that you’re still the woman who, all those years ago, ran out of a blind date because she simply had to sing. You’re not just my great love story, you are my big break.”
But he left with one eyebrow-raising promise that, well, just opened up a whole slew of questions.
“And our love story, I know it may not feel like it right now, I promise you it’s just getting started,” Jack assured, before signing off with his trademark wink (only this time, doubt crept onto his face). A tear rolled down Rebecca’s cheek as she clutched onto the moon necklace he gifted her after seeing him leave the house -- possibly for good.
Are we crazy for harping on Jack’s final line? Does Jack believe there’s still hope for him and Rebecca? Is he going to try and win her back? Will they get back together at some point in season two? Is it also a reminder to the audience that the ride has really only just begun?
Before the end of the episode, we also got an update on The Big Three’s life-changing decisions. Kate moved back to Los Angeles with Toby and decided she wanted to be a singer, attempting to do what her mother failed to accomplish. Kevin decided to go for the Ron Howard movie, leaving Sophie in New York City (yet again). After adding a photo of William to his family album, Randall had an epiphany: He was going to adopt and have his own Big Three.
Ahead of Tuesday’s finale, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman shared a text exchange he had with Milo Ventimiglia after the 39-year-old actor read the finale script for the first time, where Ventimiglia simply wrote “insane.” “They’re gonna riot,” he predicted.
What did you think of the season finale of This Is Us? What are your theories on what Jack meant with his final line to Rebecca? Which storyline had you reaching for your tissues? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us at @etnow!
This Is Us returns this fall on NBC.