Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 1 finale of This Is Us. Be sure to catch up before you read on!
Wowza. This Is Us ended its first season on quite a serious note, as the show finally gave us a real look at some of the problems Jack and Rebecca had in their marriage while the kids were teens. Jack may have gone to see Rebecca's band perform in Ohio to try to make up for his reluctance about her going on tour, but his visit ended up not having the desired effect on their relationship AT ALL. Instead of a joyful and apologetic reunion, the couple ends up in a mother of a fight.
As we saw in the previous episode, Jack decided to take Kate's advice and go see Rebecca's first performance on tour. But, since he was feeling down and was already a bit tipsy, he made the ridiculously bad choice of driving tipsy while also drinking additional beers on the road. So, he shows up at Rebecca's gig drunk, and then quickly proceeds to get even more drunk at the bar while there. When he finally extricates himself from the bar, to look for his wife, he actually locates Ben, the bandmate that Rebecca used to date, first. Unfortunately, Ben makes a poor choice in words which reveal to Jack that he's stepped over a line with Rebecca and, of course, Jack punches him and begins to beat the ever-loving snot out of him. Just as some men are pulling the two of them apart, Rebecca walks in, and she is not pleased.
Luckily for Jack, though, she's pissed at Ben for his attempt to kiss her earlier, so she announces that "it's all over" and leaves to drive Jack home. But, if you think that was the end of that, you are wrong, my friends, as once Jack and Rebecca get home they light each other up with all the hurt and regret they've each been feeling in the relationship over the years. Rebecca notes that it's interesting that Jack was able to quit drinking cold turkey seven years ago, but once she has something going for herself he suddenly feels the need to start up again. Jack is mad that he and the kids don't fulfill her. They argue back and forth, with things getting more and more heated, when she yells that she has no life, since the kids don't need her anymore and he gets home late and then falls asleep shortly afterward.
Jack counters, saying that she has no idea what he's given up for their family and that he's under a lot of pressure as the sole breadwinner. At one point he also manages to yell out "You are a 40-year-old woman singing covers in pubs. That is not a career!" Damn, Jack. Just...DAMN. When Rebecca finally asks him why he loves her, as she is right now, and he can't answer, she effectively ends the fight by going up to bed.
Phew. Man, was I ever glad for that breather. That was a hard ass argument to watch, especially from two characters who it's pretty easy to like most of the time. It should be noted that, in true This Is Us style, while all this marital drama was going on, we also got some more backstory on how Jack and Rebecca actually met. When Jack was 28, he and his friend Daryl were hoping to open their own body shop, but were having trouble coming up with enough money since they both just worked odd jobs for cash. They decided to play in an illegal card game run by some unsavory characters in the basement of a bar, and, Jack won pretty big. But, in their eagerness to celebrate, they got caught outside, Jack was beaten and all the money they won was stolen.
Jack's big plan was to go back to the bar the next week and simply steal the money from the cash register. In the final moments of the episode, with the couple deciding that Jack should go stay with Miguel for a while so they could both calm down and figure out what to do next, it's revealed that Jack and Rebecca met in that bar. She went on stage and began singing just as he was about to try to rob the bar. Lucky for everyone, Jack stopped to watch her and the two then met up and talked once she finished.
As if that weren't a swell enough ending, right before Jack leaves for Miguel's he tells her everything he loves about her, ending with "I cant go back to who I was before I met you...You're not just my great love story, Rebecca. You're my big break." Awwwww, right? I mean, what other show would have a couple get into a knock down drag out fight and then still find time in the final seconds of the episode to throw in some hope even as the couple is splitting up for a while? This Is Us will be back on NBC for Season 2 next fall.