*Note: I watched the season 2 finale when it actually aired along with the rest of the world but never got around to putting this recap up. Since season 3 started YESTERDAY it seemed like 1) it was either now or never to get this posted and 2) it might be a good refresher before the next season really gets going.*
Well, we made it to the season two finale of This Is Us. There were only eighteen episodes, but the season was stretched out due to TV’s winter break and then the almighty Olympics, so it felt way longer, and not in a good way. Does it finish with a bang?
Who: Me and my mom
What: This Is Us Season 2 Episode 18 “The Wedding”
Where: Her couch
When: March 14th 2018 (we watched it the day after it aired but I don’t remember why)
Why: It’s the season finale, duh
Opening shot is some beautiful flowers, birds chirping, our main characters talking indistinctly and seated in a row. Why? Because it’s a wedding! But who’s the bride? Kate is sitting next to her brothers so she’s out. Rebecca?! Who’s the groom? JACK?! Apparently everyone is gathered for their 40th wedding vow renewal–and screen goes black.
Obviously, since Jack is dead and all, I presume there will be some later reveal that this scenario is someone’s fever dream, but it’s nice to get a glimpse of what might had been (damn you faulty crockpot!).
Lovely shot of Kate looking contemplative on a bridge in a knit pink poncho watching the set up for her actual real life wedding. Toby comes over to check on her–he knows getting married without her dad there will be hard but he begs her not to Runaway Bride him. Controversially, I HATE TOBY but I like that he talks in movie/tv/song references. That’s his one bright spot for me. Otherwise I’m so over him. Kate gives him the bowtie Leslie Nielsen wore in Naked Gun 33 1/3 Final Insult as a thank you gift for letting her make unconventional wedding choices.
Some of them? Having her father’s urn next to the guestbook, or his Daytona T-shirt as her “something old”. Toby reassures her that he’s just fine with her choices, different though they may be.
This nice moment is interrupted by Kevin yelling at some poor peon on the phone because the wedding favors are not packed appropriately. Everyone is receiving a Ka-Toby (ugh trying too hard) wine opener, a bottle of champagne (ooh generous), and a scented candle (but what scent?!). Kevin is an excellent party planner. The best part? The poor guy on the other end is Randall. I would rather be shot into space (btw I HATE space) than plan any family function, so kudos to them for taking on a wedding. Toby is reluctant to pick his parents up from the airport because he doesn’t want to hear his dad keep trying to convince his mom to marry her boyfriend–if she does he doesn’t have to pay her alimony anymore. Ah family.
As Toby leaves, and before Kevin goes off to get in a fight with the caterer, she asks him if he thinks Jack would have liked the wedding being held at the family cabin. She looks very nervous, which makes me nervous. He reassures her that Jack would have loved it. Good save Kevin.
Meanwhile, Randall has commandeered his kitchen as a Ka-Toby favors zone and he’s redoing the bags from the earlier phone conversation with Kevin. Turns out he put two bottles of wine in some bags. Randall’s a mess and Beth looks a little concerned since he’s usually a very productive machine. Deja walks in and Beth turns it up to eleven, telling her all about how she’s excited that she’ll get to meet her cousin Zoe. No response. Randall asks if she’s all packed and she’s very surly. Things are not well in Deja-land, likely stemming from hearing her mother tell a judge she “wanted to terminate all parental rights”. Yeah, that’ll turn the nicest person into an angry machine, and Deja is taking it out on them.
Now my favorite part: before grabbing the girls Randall asks Beth to play his favorite game: worst-case scenario. The rules? You and another person go back and forth saying the worst thing you’re thinking about a situation. I am very familiar with that game but I call it “crippling anxiety”. I play it all the time, but usually by myself and ideally right before bed. Anyway Beth indulges this behavior and here are some of their fears: that Deja will end up in jail, that she’ll kill them in their sleep/while they’re awake, Deja will turn their daughters Tess and Annie against them, and that at least one of the girls will end up a stripper or “on the pole”. Now who doesn’t feel better after that? *Literally no one ever.
Rebecca is trying to figure out what to wear, which frankly I don’t believe. No way this close to the wedding she doesn’t have a dress picked out yet. Nope. Impossible. I think the writers just want to show us the struggle that is trying to find a dress that 1) looks good 2) is event appropriate (she is the MOB after all) 3) doesn’t look like she’s trying to steal focus 4) that Kate will like and 5) its an outdoor wedding so will work regardless of weather, as if we, the majority female audience of this show, don’t already intimately understand this particular nightmare. As a reminder, all Miguel/men have to do is put on a suit they’ve worn literally one thousand times before. Rebecca is extra stressed-out because she and Kate have a tense relationship at best and nonexistent one at worst. She wants the day to be perfect for Kate and feels like her presence is a living reminder for her that Jack isn’t there. Tough spot. Miguel makes the moment about himself which does make her laugh, so I’ll allow it.
Randall arrives at “wedding central” to drop off the goody bags and rendezvous with Kevin and Kate, but disaster has struck! After dumping out her suitcase and frantically searching its contents Kate can’t find the Daytona t-shirt she was going to pin to her dress as her something old.
Her brothers slowly back out of the room like they’re dealing with a wild animal and call Toby to find out where he packed it because it must be in another bag. Well guess who forgot to pack the shirt? Yep, Toby. He’s got them on speaker while in the car with his parents so no one can really lose their cool, but all three know this is not good. Plan B: Kevin and Randall will gather all of the things they can find that belonged to Jack and she’ll take her pick from the bunch because the new mantra is: it’s just a t-shirt. Yeah I’m not optimistic.
Aaaand we’re back to the alternate universe vow renewal. Jack’s telling a sweet anecdote about how Rebecca used to write him a note to read during lunch for 22 years and reading it was the highlight of his day. It’s like he’s a perfectly written character or something. Jumping back to reality, Beth and the girls arrive and Deja is insisting on being in a foul mood. That’s the spirit! Cousin Zoe is indeed really cool and I’d like to hang out with her, just saying.
Oh so what have the guys rounded up as t-shirt stand in options? From the looks of things, some boxing gloves, thermos, baseball bat, canteen, radio, flashlight, tape measure, hammer, and screwdriver. Bluntly, all these options are bad. Kate seems unbothered and has moved onto Plan C, which involves her just stepping out super quick she’ll be right back no worries. This is worrying. Rebecca and Madison show up to get ready with the bride and there’s no bride. Kate’s actually gone on a jaunt to a local ice cream parlor to see if she could buy her dad’s favorite flavor and then serve it with her wedding cake–instead of something old an old tradition. I must say, I’m impressed with that out of the box thinking. Unfortunately, and predictably, the place was sold to some hipsters who now make flavors no one actually wants. Le sigh. So, Plan D?
Some nice filler scenes of Rebecca singing to Jack at their fictional vow renewal before we get panicked Kevin pretending he’s not panicked that Kate has left the premises. They supply the bridesmaids with booze before deciding to go look for her themselves.
Meanwhile, Beth is telling cool cousin Zoe that Deja is now hell-bent on making their lives MISERABLE. Zoe is going to try and talk to her and convince her a grey hoodie is not wedding appropriate attire. Good luck Zoe.
Kevin and Randall go get some ice cream at the new hipster place, so even though they missed her they know they’re at least on the right track. While aimlessly driving around Randall suggests they play worst-case scenario and beyond the usual suspects (Toby has a heart attack when they tell him Kate left him), they each acknowledge that they haven’t been the most present or supportive brothers. It’s sweet but also sad and this game solves nothing but who am I to learn from that.
Zoe finds Deja and tells her that her mom left her against her will with Beth’s family and that she became an expert at making their lives miserable. She was so angry and felt like by being difficult she was showing loyalty to her mom. Then one morning she woke up and forgot to hate them–the people who loved her. It seems like Deja has received the message but we shall see.
Meanwhile, Kevin’s busy practicing his speech when his parents show up AND TRY TO TALK HIM OUT OF MARRYING KATE! They think she’s unstable and that Toby works too hard trying to keep her upright. Do they know it’s the day of the wedding?! They couldn’t have had this talk during the months and months before? Toby’s dad brings up Toby’s first marriage, which fell apart, and his subsequent deep depression and they think this marriage is headed for the same fate. Toby cannot believe his parents are doing this to him now (neither can I) and that they have two options. To be at the wedding with smiles on or head straight to the airport because he is marrying the woman he loves with or without their support. Right on Toby.
Kate calls her mom and tells her that she’s been dreaming of her parents 40th vow renewal, but Toby’s not in these dreams at all. Kate realizes what she has to do and drives to a tree stump and takes her dad’s ashes out of her bag. She tells the urn that she has to let go a little bit to make room for Toby in her life and that she knows he would want that for her. I assume she spreads some of the ashes but the next shot is of her walking towards her brothers who have finally found her. Okay now let’s go get Kate married!
In other miracles Deja has put on a nice dress and Beth looks so happy and relived–good work Zoe! Rebecca and Kate have a really nice moment where Kate tells her mom that “she’s not in my way, you are my way” and that “all she ever wanted was to be like [her]” and have a marriage like hers.
Listen tears you better get back in my eyeballs.
Next shot is young Kate asking her dad if she can marry him one day and Jack’s response is no, but that she’ll meet someone even better than him, and that that is the luckiest guy. It’s sweet and we see Kate walking down the aisle with her brothers, Toby’s parents are there, vows, and Kate and Toby are now officially married! Mazel tov!
At the reception Toby’s mom remarks that Deja looks just like her dad, meaning Randall, and we see Deja’s expression go from polite to dark–I’m a little concerned about what is going to happen. Kevin gives a toast and brings up their dad a lot, and has the family do a deep breath. It’s kind of a downer of a wedding toast but also nice in its way.
Randall takes the mic and talks about how little we can control in life and we get a cutaway to..ZOE AND KEVIN FLYING TO VIETNAM? Kevin is holding a photo of his dad Jack and uncle in army fatigues so I guess that will be part of season 3. Also, how do I feel about this relationship? I don’t know yet.
Oh and then another cut away to Kate telling a prone Toby that his doctor wants him to come in tomorrow to adjusts his meds. Did he have a breakdown? Clearly. What triggered it? Well I guess that’s another season 3 plot point.
Meanwhile, while Randall is busy toasting, Deja is beating the heck out of his car. Paging cool cousin Zoe we need an angry kid whisperer stat. We also get a jump forward where older Randall and adult Tess are talking about going to see a “her” and how neither one of them is ready for it. Is that “her” Deja? Or Beth? IS BETH DEAD? She better not be season 3, I’m serious.
Okay that was intense and now Season 2 is officially in the books. Season 3 looks like it’s going to have some pretty major heaviness to it. Are you ready?