Are you sitting down? There was a lot to unpack from Tuesday’s season closer. We break it all down.
Warning: Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday's season 4 finale of This Is Us. You are entering major spoiler territory.
It’s going to be a very long summer.
Season four of This Is Us wrapped up in classic Pearson style in its revelatory finale on Tuesday, answering several big-picture, season-long mysteries (Who is Kevin’s baby mama? What tears Kevin and Randall apart?) and introducing a bevy of new questions to obsess over (Does Madison end up being Kevin’s wife? Who is Nicky married to?).
But, as we all know, this isn’t the end for our favorite TV family -- far from it, actually. With at least two more seasons to go (hooray!), we’ll have plenty more opportunities to fill out all the blank spaces in their history. As the long hiatus begins until season five, we’re breaking down the biggest revelations from the season four finale and posing every unanswered question we still have. So, buckle up everyone!
The Biggest Answers From the Season 4 Finale
1. Madison is Kevin’s pregnant fiancée (we think)
Remember in the fall finale when we found out Kevin was engaged and expecting a baby with a mystery woman? Well, that question was finally answered in the finale. It’s Madison, Kate’s best friend, who Kevin had a one-night stand with after reconnecting with ex-wife Sophie at her mother’s funeral, and she’s not just having one baby but two. Pearson twins! A bit surprising, right? (Though we have questions about the viability of a Kevin-Madison relationship. More on that later.) We already met Kevin’s mini-me in the season three finale flash-forward, but now we’re introduced to his twin sister.
While the finale never explicitly showed Kevin getting down on one knee and proposing to Madison or established that she was his fiancée (and later, wife), the timeline -- a little over five months between baby Jack’s first birthday (early March) and the Big Three’s own 40th birthday celebration (late August) -- wouldn’t really allow Kevin to woo another woman and get her pregnant, too, would it? Also, how does Kate react to the news that Kevin and Madison are about to welcome two children together? How do the rest of the family feel about it?
2. Kevin and Randall can never go back
You know what they say about family: You can often say the harshest, most brutal things about your family members and still come together at the end of the day, and eventually forgive each other. But we’re not so sure about Kevin and Randall’s rage-filled verbal fight. They’re both in the wrong, yet both in the right -- and it’s abundantly clear that their brotherly bond, which has gone through more peaks and valleys than a roller coaster, may be changed forever. It all comes to a head after Kevin puts two and two together, that Randall was the one who persuaded Rebecca to go from “no” to “yes” about the nine-month Alzheimer’s clinical trial in St. Louis.
Kevin makes a dig about Randall’s God complex and his desires to “save” the family, while Randall calls Kevin out about his selfish need to keep Rebecca at home so he can spend more time with her because he left home as a teenager. But things get brutally serious when Randall zeroes in on Kevin’s greatest fear: that he’ll never live up to Jack’s wishes. “The shame he felt for you and the pride he felt for me? You’re not even chasing Dad’s shadow, you’re chasing mine,” Randall spits back. Kevin has his own diss ready and it’s a heartbreaker. “I used to think the worst thing that happened to me was the day Dad died. No… Hand to God, the worst thing that ever happened to me was the day they brought you home.” How the heck do you move on from that? (Also, did Kevin’s fight with Randall force him to commit to Madison and their babies?)
3. Kate and Toby have another child… through adoption
Thankfully, not everyone was dealing with terrible life developments in the finale. Kate and Toby decide that they’re going to expand their family and give baby Jack a sibling! But with the potential for Kate to suffer through another dangerous pregnancy, they opt for adoption. After all, it is in the Pearson blood.
In the flash-forward in the way, way future, we meet a woman, Hailey, who works at an art gallery. It’s unclear why she’s important to the Pearsons’ story until the very end (we were supposed to think she was tied to Kevin’s story), when we see her race down the hospital hallway and enter the delivery room after Jack Damon and his wife, Lucy, welcome their new baby girl, Hope. Turns out, Hailey is the child Kate and Toby eventually adopt.
4. Nicky is married
While it was surprising to see Nicky sitting at Rebecca’s bedside in the flash-forward and not Miguel, the finale added another wrinkle when it revealed that Jack’s little brother was actually married. But to whom? It certainly couldn’t be to Rebecca, could it? Or could it be Sally, the briefly mentioned girlfriend Nicky mentions to Kevin and Cassidy? (He lamented that they lost touch after he went to Vietnam and when he drove to her house in hopes of a romantic moment, she wasn’t home.) The fact that Nicky, who’s getting his life back together by going to AA meetings and being Kevin’s biggest support, has found his person is eyebrow-raising and a new mystery we can’t wait to dig into.
The Biggest Questions We Still Have
1. Is Madison the one Kevin ends up married to?
Sure, it’s commendable that Kevin goes “all in” with Madison’s pregnancy and chooses to be there for her and their children, but their relationship has been pretty much nonexistent outside of their one-time hookup. Interestingly, Kevin made it pretty clear the terms of their relationship when he stated to Madison that the “love of his life” will be his kids -- and not her or whoever eventually ends up being his fiancée and, later, wife. Does that change as time goes on?
It’s been a fascinating road for Kevin romantically, as he’s ping-ponged back and forth with a handful of significant love interests, never quite able to fully commit to one. Is Madison the one that gets him over the hump? This sheds light on the pragmatic approach Kevin is taking (for now): “I’m so sick of chasing ghosts. I’m tired of doubting myself… Whatever you need, I am all in… I want to be a father. I think I’d be great at it. The love of my life will be my child.” A little over five months is not too much time for Kevin and Madison’s relationship to go from 1 to 100, but Kevin is quite impulsive so perhaps their romance evolves into something more or he meets someone new? Even more heartbreaking to ask, is Kevin settling?
Even if Kevin and Madison are actually engaged by the Big Three’s 40th birthday party, that doesn’t mean Kevin ends up married to her in the future. (We never actually see Madison in the flash-forward.) A question Kevin’s future daughter asks him in the flash-forward may also illuminate whether he’s married to someone else in the end: “Are you OK?,” she asks. “Yeah, I’m OK,” Kevin replies, kissing the top of her head. Hmm, we have so many questions!
2. Does this mean Kevin is done romantically with Sophie and Cassidy?
It was interesting that This Is Us chose to bring back Cassidy and Sophie for brief cameos in the finale, especially when their appearances came toward the end of the episode, around Kevin’s line about not wanting to chase ghosts. Is this the show’s way of closing the chapter on these two women who have orbited Kevin’s life and represent aspects of his past? Cassidy, with the alcoholism, and Sophie, with his childhood?
3. Are Kevin and Randall’s relationship irrevocably changed?
We’re really not sure how the brothers can even remotely get back to the same page or close to what their relationship was like before their life-altering feud over Rebecca and the infamous Alzheimer’s clinical trial. But we’re hopeful that the brothers, who may be on the outs for months, if not years, will figure it out -- eventually. This Is Us may be the reason for tears, but at the end of the day, it is an aspirational show to a degree, and if the finale flash-forward showed older Kevin patting older Randall on the back as they watch their mother in bed, we’re taking that as a sign that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be OK in the end.
4. Do Rebecca and Miguel actually make it to St. Louis for the trial?
Something clearly goes wrong between baby Jack’s first birthday in March and the Big Three’s 40th in August because we know Rebecca is back at the family cabin when she was supposed to be at the nine-month clinical trial -- and her dementia has rapidly progressed. So, do they actually make it on the plane to St. Louis? Our best guess: probably not. Even though Rebecca succumbed to Randall’s persuasion tactics (even Beth disagreed with his mode!) and agreed to take part in the trial, does she revert back to her original wish and skip it altogether? Are Randall’s biggest fears -- of not being the family’s savior and disconnection from his loved ones -- now becoming reality; has his nightmares come true? This is a little murky.
5. When will we find out what happened to Kate?
This is more a series-long mystery, as we still haven’t gotten confirmation that Kate is even alive in the flash-forward. She’s the lone member of the Big Three we haven’t seen in all her future glory and Toby isn’t wearing a wedding ring. When Toby mentioned in an earlier season finale that Jack had called and “they were coming,” we’re now beginning to think the “they” was Jack and his sister, Hailey. The lack of answers surrounding the whereabouts of Kate is getting more and more worrisome as the seasons wear on.
6. What happened to Miguel?
Justice for Miguel Rivas! We didn’t get answers as to why Miguel wasn’t by Rebecca’s bedside, but Nicky was and we were hoping to get clarity on that looming question by the end of season four. Did Miguel die of old age? Was he so fed up with Rebecca’s situation that he bolted? We need answers.
Unfortunately for us, we'll have to wait a long couple of months to get answers to these questions and more.
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