'This Is Us': The Biggest Answers From the Season 3 Finale (and 6 Questions We Still Have)
By Philiana Ng
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Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday's season three finale of This Is Us, titled "Her."
Another chapter is in the books on This Is Us.
On Tuesday's season three finale, titled "Her," fans got answers to some crucial questions that have been swirling all season (and for some, all series) around the Pearson family, including the fate of Beth and Randall's marriage, the future of Kevin and Zoe, the status of little Jack and a pseudo resolution to the "her" mystery. But as This Is Us has shown so brilliantly in its past three seasons, with more answers come even more questions.
As the Pearsons' family history continues to be fleshed out, one thing's for sure: We're nowhere near the end of their story. So, as the long hiatus begins, we're breaking down the biggest answers we got from the finale and asking every question we still have (and there's a lot!) as we head into a likely fourth season.
The Biggest Answers From the Season 3 Finale
1. Beth and Randall don't break up.
Ever since the sophomore finale, we were led to believe that Beth and Randall were on the rocks and that they may not even be together in the future. Credit for that long-gestating red herring goes to the writers, who did a good job making us think our favorite This Is Us couple wouldn't make it out of their marital woes, which comprised a big portion of the season's final episodes. Well, we can all rest easy: Beth and Randall figure out a way to work through their issues, bumps and all.
R & B's compromise came after Deja channeled her inner Randall and told an inspiring story about a trying eight-month period of her life in an abusive foster home. Whatever she said, which included affirmation over how lucky he was to have won the figurative lottery twice, offered much-needed clarity for Randall, who decided he was stepping down as city councilman in Philadelphia. "I won the lottery… me landing you. I thought I could figure out a way to do this that wouldn’t hurt us but I wasn’t realistic. I bit off more than I could chew,” he says to Beth when he tells her of his decision.
But Beth has secretly been searching for real estate in Philly. Why? To open up her own dance studio. Turns out, she's not 100 percent happy as a dance teacher working under someone else's vision. She immediately shoots Randall down and tells him they're uprooting the family to Philly, and that yes, he should still do the city councilman thing. Fear that Beth is again sacrificing her dream becomes the topic of conversation, but Beth assures Randall she's not. In fact, she's already found the perfect studio space for her latest venture. "I want to cut the ribbon on a place of my very own, one that I could run the way that I want to," she says.
"We scale back. We bet on us... We don't work when we're apart, but together, we set the world on fire," Beth tells Randall. And obviously, lifestyle changes are going to have to be made. They'll have to downsize, possibly sell their suburban home (something Randall doesn't seem ready for) and the girls will be forced to adjust. What's important to remember is that in the not-so-distant future, Beth and Randall are very much still together -- a point that is emphasized greatly when they reunite at Kevin's massive home, kiss and the camera zooms in on Beth's ring finger to show off her stunning sparkler.
2. Kevin and Zoe end their relationship... over babies.
Kevin tells Zoe that he's OK with her decision not to have kids, even though he sees fatherhood in his future, but their relationship begins to crumble when Kevin makes an off-handed remark that his own mother didn't want kids and it was Jack who ultimately changed her mind. It seems glaringly clear that Kevin, now sober, believes Zoe is going to change her mind about motherhood too as time goes on. Unfortunately for Kevin, he's completely wrong.
It all comes to a head when Zoe tells Kevin that she's not changing her mind about not wanting to become a mother -- and the way in which she says it is enough to put Kevin back on his heels. The writing, though, was always on the wall. "You're never going to want a...?" Kevin asks, stunned by Zoe's unwavering feelings on the matter. Zoe reaffirms her stance on motherhood that she's had all along, shaking her head no.
With the two wanting different things in their lives, it doesn't make sense for them to stay together and Zoe moves out of their apartment, effectively ending their rocky relationship. Flash forward to the future and it appears Kevin has added "dad" to his list of duties after all, as a blonde-haired young boy who can't be much older than 10 is seen entering his huge abode -- the other Pearsons commenting how much he looks like his father. So Kevin ultimately gets what he wants, but how?
3. Little Jack doesn't die.
The fate of Kate and Toby's baby boy, Jack, was up in the air for a good while, simply because the mortality rate for a 28-week preemie is high. While there had been hiccups along the way with Jack's progress, we know he makes it out OK, especially after seeing flash-forwards to Kate and Toby bringing him home from the hospital and older Toby saying this to Randall in the future: "I just talked to Jack and they're on their way."
4. Nicky is still in their lives somehow.
Nicky's arc seemed to be wrapped up earlier this season -- it didn't seem feasible for him to reintegrate himself back into the Pearsons' lives, unless something dramatic happened. But in the future, Nicky seems to have become a part of the family somehow. "You'll just have to tune in to see," Griffin Dunne, who plays older Nicky, teased to ET in February, when asked whether there are still questions left unanswered with Jack's younger brother. How, when and why Nicky is the one by Rebecca's side, instead of her husband Miguel, we'll have to wait until season four to find out.
The Biggest Questions Still Left Unanswered
1. What is going on with Rebecca?
Unraveling the "her" mystery has been a work-in-progress since the season two finale; it wasn't until recently we learned that the "her" everyone was referring to was, in fact, the matriarch of the family, Rebecca. And Tuesday's finale was the first time we see older Rebecca in a deteriorated state. She's been bed-ridden in a private wing off Kevin's mansion and possibly in her last days, though we're just assuming the latter. The biggest clue that something is amiss with Rebecca is when Randall reminds her who he is when he enters her room for the first time: "It's Randall, your son. Randall." And Rebecca stares back at him, no sign of recognition or connection.
We're still unsure what Rebecca has or is going through, but memory loss seems to be a big part of it. It seemed especially telling that the car accident Rebecca endured when the Big Three were just kids could somehow be connected to her declining state decades later. (Why else would the finale parallel that car accident with her in the future? Surely, they have to be connected.) At one point in the episode, young Randall mentions that Rebecca could have brain damage, and Jack, though he doesn't express it with his words, is equally worried about his wife. If Rebecca's memory loss is a symptom of a larger illness (the theme of remembering seemed stressed throughout the episode), the car accident she was in years earlier could very well be the root cause of it, as survivors of serious car accidents, like the one Rebecca was in, can be susceptible to further brain damage in the future.
It's also unclear whether Rebecca is on her deathbed when older Randall comes in to check up on her. And if there were any hints that Rebecca was suffering health-wise in her later years, she hid it well, the only recent indication that she could possibly be sick being a brief scene in "The Waiting Room" episode when she was very clearly under the weather. So while we know a little bit about Rebecca in the future, we still don't know much.
2. Why is Nicky by Rebecca's bedside?
It's significant that Nicky is the person by Rebecca's side and that there doesn't seem to be any shock or surprise from any of the Pearson family members that he is in the picture again. Things ended on a sour note between Nicky and Rebecca, Kate, Kevin and Randall after they met him for the first time at his dilapidated trailer, so what happened in the years since that brought him back into the fold? And when did Nicky and Rebecca reconnect? Does Nicky's presence provide a clue that this could somehow tie back to Jack? Does Rebecca think Nicky is Jack?
3. What happened to Miguel?
The absence of Rebecca's husband, Miguel, could potentially mean something big. After Jack's death, he became an integral member of the extended Pearson clan and for him not to be among the family members congregating at Kevin's home is eyebrow-raising. Did he die? If he didn't, where is he? One potential theory that could bring things back full circle: Miguel and Rebecca got into a car accident in the not-so-distant past and Rebecca sustained serious brain injuries that led her to where she is in the future. While she survived, Miguel didn't. A morbid theory, sure, but it's strange that Miguel -- if he's still kicking around in the world -- isn't in the picture.
4. What is the status of Kate and Toby?
Every clue leading up to the finale seems to point to Kate and Toby no longer being together. Toby arriving separately to Kevin's home, which appears to be the first time he's seen it, seems to be an strong indicator that, unlike Beth and Randall, their marriage could be over. But it should be noted that the fate of Kate in the future is still unknown, as she remains the last of the Big Three to not be mentioned.
5. How does Kevin become a father?
Perhaps the biggest bombshell is Kevin becoming a dad, as a little mini-me that looks very much like a younger version of the former Man-ny star is introduced in the future flash-forward. "Hey Uncle Randall," Kevin's son says to Randall, who asks the little tyke where his dad is. "He went out to get takeout because he realized we had no food," he says, prompting Randall to quip. "Sounds like Kevin." Is Kevin a single father? Did he meet someone new, who wanted kids, after breaking up with Zoe? Is Sophie back in the picture? Is Zoe still part of the Pearsons' extended family?
6. Why does this moment with Rebecca matter so much?
It's been established that this moment in the Pearson family history is important. After all, why have nearly every important surviving member of the clan congregating in one place to see Rebecca? Is Rebecca actually dying and everyone is there to say goodbye? Why does this day, which has yet to be established, and/or moment matter so much? We thought we would get more clarity by the end of this season about the significance, but unfortunately for us, we'll have to wait another season to get answers.