Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the series finale of This Is Us, so make sure you’re caught up before you continue.
After six seasons of jumping from the present to the past to the future, gasping at some shocking plot twists and listening to countless Pearson monologues, This Is Us concluded its final chapter with the series finale, “Us.” The episode was seemingly simple, mirroring two timelines — a lazy Saturday afternoon spent with Jack and Rebecca when the Big Three were young opposite the future timeline where the expanding Pearson family said their final goodbyes to the late, great matriarch at her funeral. Though Kate sang, and Kevin and Randall each gave eulogies, their words were inaudible, but creator Dan Fogelman thankfully provided some insight behind what we viewers didn’t hear.
Randall commented multiple times in the penultimate episode “The Train” on “the dichotomy of it all,” with sadness and joy coming at the same time. The finale continued the exploration of how he balanced losing his mother with the revelation that Deja was pregnant with his first grandchild. (Credit to Sterling K. Brown for that amazing reaction when he found out she was expecting a boy!) But in his struggles, his mind wasn’t fully present at the funeral, hence the haze viewers heard when the Big Three gave their eulogies.
Not only was that an appropriate song for the character — as it’s made a few appearances on the show during its six seasons — but the lyrics are absolutely perfect for the moment and the relationship that Kate and her mother had.
Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley, meanwhile, were asked to improvise and write their own eulogies, knowing that nothing they said would be heard when the episode aired. Brown and Randall must have some similarities between them, as the actor seemed to channel his character pretty realistically for the assignment, Dan Fogelman said:
His affinity for grand speeches isn’t where the similarities end between Sterling K. Brown and his character. They both have great love for Mandy Moore (or, in Randall’s case, Rebecca), and Brown made an emotional plea this season for the actress who, at eight years younger than him, plays his mother to win an Emmy Award for her stunning portrayal of a woman living with Alzheimer’s.
For his part Justin Hartley may have tapped into some of that Kevin-Randall sibling rivalry when delivering his eulogy. For being asked to do something pretty somber, it sounds like the actors dealt with like true brothers would. The creator recalled:
It was a pretty simple way for This Is Us to go out, in that it didn't introduce a crazy twist ending or spliter off into a larger variety of timelines, but there were quite a few treats for loyal fans. Beth and Randall got in one last round of “Worst Case Scenario,” we learned the origin of the oft-played Pin the Tail on the Donkey game, Toby’s love for his ex-wife reassured us that KaToby actually is forever, and Nicky expressed his appreciation for Kevin bringing him back into the family with his signature crankiness. What more could we really ask for? Besides another season down the road when all the main actors are older, of course.
Now that This Is Us has come to an end, be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what premieres are coming soon, or relive the entire six-season run of NBC's hit drama with a Hulu subscription.
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Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.