Major spoilers below for This Is Us, so make sure you're all caught up before reading on.
The latest installment of This Is Us delivered the second part of the Big 3 episode trilogy, with Kevin"s inner and outer turmoil getting the bulk of the focus. His relationship with Sophie is on the rocks, and while it doesn't look like they're completely finished just yet, everyone who saw that mystery blonde in the previous episode is aware of the ongoing complications. Things got really complicated, however, once it was revealed the blonde woman is actually Kate's best friend Madison, which inspired fans to rail on show creator Dan Fogelman.
Some out there may be asking why the Madison reveal would stoke such immediate ire in viewers. Note that the actress who has portrayed Madison for the past few seasons, Caitlin Thompson, is actually Dan Fogelman's wife. The creator brought that up himself a couple of years ago, when fans first started wandering down the speculation path that Kevin and Madison might hook up. Here was his announcement at the time, which might clue everyone in on why viewers are peeved with him.
Back then, Dan Fogelman made it sound as if he would never, ever allow This Is Us to get to a point where his wife Caitlin Thompson would enter a fictionally sexual relationship with Justin Hartley's Kevin. That post, in turn, legitimately convinced a lot of fans that the show wouldn't pair Madison and Kevin together.
Whenever TV execs and actors fib about where shows are going, it's usually for the sake of keeping people surprised, and most of the time, things are worded as loosely as possible to keep things open for interpretation. As one might imagine, no one saw any nuances hiding in Fogelman's 2018 post, and out came tweets like the one below.
And tweets like this one. (Admittedly, I'm amused by "FogelmanGate" already getting a hashtag.)
The one below serves as a decent stand-in for what a majority of the dismayed fans were thinking.
As a silver lining, Dan Fogelman can take comfort in knowing that there are always a ton of fans out there reading his thoughts and ideas about This Is Us, so it's not all falling on deaf ears. Granted, some of it is falling on vengeful and angered ears, but such is life in the entertainment industry.
In an interview with EW, executive producer Isaac Aptaker addressed the switcheroo for Kevin's relationship status, and seemed to imply that Dan Fogelman wasn't exactly lying about Madison and Kevin's chances at the time, and that it was the rest of the creative team that persuaded him.
We’ve just been slowly wearing Dan down since he tweeted that! [Laughs] It took, what, two and a half years, and we did it. It’s something we’ve talked about and had in our heads from early on. There is a different component to Dan that I can’t speak to of what it’s like to put your wife in that situation. But actually, my favorite part of the episode is when Jack is giving that speech to young, young Kevin [Kaz Womack] about sometimes you have to pivot, regarding the stuffed animal and the mobile. And then all of a sudden, his week takes this really, really sharp turn. And he has a scene with Madison that is really lovely, where they’re connecting over tea and they’re talking about relationships, and he bolsters her, and then somehow that leads to them winding up in bed together. Which may be a great decision; it may be a terrible decision. I’ll leave that up to our audience to decide.
To be sure, there are certainly viewers out there who were perfectly fine with the way things played out, and others who had problems that were completely independent of Kevin and Madison's hook-up. They just weren't quite as vocal as other This Is Us fans.
The tweet below, though, could probably be used as a mantra for TV viewers across the country who think that show creators and writers have every story fully formed out right when the season starts, which is almost never the case, since art in any form is always a work in progress.
Of course, just sitting back and not guessing and theorizing would be a pretty boring way to watch TV.
Fans won't be bored when This Is Us continues next week with the third part of its Big 3 trilogy, with Kate getting the spotlight. (Bring Sophia Bush back!) This Is Us airs Tuesday nights on NBC at 9:00 p.m. Stay tuned for everything else on the way with our Winter and Spring 2020 premiere schedule.