This Is Us Ending Explained: The Finale’s Meaningful Little Moments And What’s Next For The Big Three

Jack and Rebecca on This Is Us.
(Image credit: NBC)

SPOILER ALERT: We're about to get into major spoilers from the series finale of This is Us

This Is Us’ series finale opened with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) saying, “Hey,” to each other in a flashback scene from a lazy Saturday for the young parents. That mirroring of the husband and wife’s afterlife reunion was the first of many beautiful moments we got from This Is Us’ ending. As the Big Three honored their mother at her funeral, fans got a hint of what the future held for the Pearson family and how the seemingly insignificant moments can become the most enduring. 

The NBC drama had audiences hooked back in 2016 when it pulled its first timeline misdirect in the series premiere. As Rebecca gave birth to triplets, 36-year-old Kevin, Randall and Kate’s stories each played out simultaneously, and it wasn’t until the end of This Is Us’ pilot that we realized they were actually the children born to Rebecca and Jack in 1980, setting us up for six seasons of traveling back and forth in time to stitch together the Pearson family saga. Let’s take a look at where the series finale left the Big Three, and those wonderful little moments from the episode “Us.”

Kevin, Kate and Randall on This Is Us.

(Image credit: NBC)

What’s Next For The Big Three?

Back at Kevin’s house following Rebecca’s funeral, the grown Pearson children revealed their plans for their next steps. Kate (Chrissy Metz) revealed that she was going to continue opening music schools for the blind, as she apparently had gone international with her passion. 

Kevin (Justin Hartley) took most of the series to grow into himself and finally reunite with Sophie, who had been The One all along. He told his brother and sister that he was going to focus on his Big Three Homes nonprofit and spend time with his wife and kids.

Randall (Sterling K. Brown) seemed to be making some big moves, as he and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) had been weighing the pros and cons of his attending the Iowa State Fair with the Democratic National Committee to “shake some hands and eat some deep-fried Oreos,” hinting that there might be a big advancement in his political career…

Randall Pearson

(Image credit: NBC)

Randall Pearson For President?

It’s just the beginning of a hint of a possibility that Randall Pearson will run for president. If he does — and if he wins — is a secret Dan Fogelman is playing close to the vest. The creator told TVLine:

Randall’s political journey ahead of him is probably the closest we come in this show to our Sopranos going to black at the end of the episode, and you’re left to choose your own adventure as to what you think happens with him. In my mind, I know what happens to Randall and his family, but it’s meant to not be answered… It’s up to the audience to decide what they think happens next with Randall.

In a scene from Randall’s episode of the Big Three Trilogy, he told a police officer he might be president one day, and he also told Rebecca that if he ran for Senate, he’d win. But if Dan Fogelman insists this is a Sopranos ending, I guess we’ll leave it at that.

Rebecca and Jack.

(Image credit: NBC)

The Little Moments Are Everything

We’ve seen it time and again over the course of the show’s six seasons, but those little moments — especially the unplanned ones or the mundane — end up being the strongest memories that get passed down. The series finale showed Rebecca and Jack making an impulse buy of a Pin the Tail on the Donkey game because the kids on the box resembled their own family. That game continued to be played after Rebecca’s funeral, and Kate’s childhood strategy — “As long as I know where you are, I always know where I’m going.” — speaks volumes about the siblings’ relationship.

The final episode also showed the Big Three’s children playing Foursquare, just as Randall, Kate and Kevin had done on that lazy Saturday afternoon, and Jack and Rebecca’s flashback conversation about how they were doing as parents was a nod to a similar conversation in Season 1, when Jack gifted Rebecca a moon necklace — the same one she was wearing when she reunited with Jack on “The Train.”

Kate and Toby

(Image credit: NBC)

Kate And Toby’s Love Will Endure

KaToby fans can rest easy. Even though Kate and Toby’s marriage didn’t last, Toby assured Kate at Rebecca’s funeral that he loves her. Fans are safe to assume they remain close, as a previous flash forward showed the former couple with their new partners together at one of Jack Damon’s shows. 

Uncle Nicky and Kevin

(Image credit: NBC)

Kevin Gets One Last Good Moment With Uncle Nicky 

Nicky Pearson (Griffin Dunne) brought the comic relief when he was promoted to a series regular in Season 4. Curmudgeonly as ever in the final episode, he sarcastically railed on Kevin for reuniting him with his brother’s family, thus causing him the pain he felt at losing Rebecca. He said his parents would be ashamed if they knew what he did to a “sweet and sensitive old man like me.” It was fun to see Nicky end the series the way he started it — pissed at Kevin.

Randall and Beth

(Image credit: NBC)

Beth Crushes Final ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Game

Speaking of comic relief, Susan Kelechi Watson often got the show’s best moments as Beth. The series finale featured one last round of the couple’s trademark “Worst Case Scenario” game, where Beth vocalized her concern for what would happen to Randall now that his parents were all gone: 

You buy an RV. Wake up one morning, say, ‘Beth we need an RV.’ I say, ‘Sure, I can get down with an RV.’ You spend the rest of your days traveling back and forth between your parents’ various resting places, just driving from tree to tree.

It’s a dark game, but it sure made a grouchy Randall smile and made fans very happy.

This Is Us final shot.

(Image credit: NBC)

The Series’ Final Words, And That Beautiful Last Shot

The series’ final shot — young Randall looking at Jack as the Pearson patriarch looks on lovingly at his family — followed a similarly touching exchange between adult Randall and his own adopted child, Deja, who was carrying his first grandchild — a boy! That, as well as the final dialogue spoken, were planned years in advance, Dan Fogelman told EW:

I always knew in my mind's eye that the final words of the series would be a simple, ‘I love you’ between two characters — probably Jack and Rebecca — and that the final shot would be some version of the kids or a kid looking at a parent who was looking at his or her family. And once we got into the details of writing that scene four years ago — and once I saw that shot of Lonnie looking at Milo — I knew that would be the final shot of the series.

That’s it, This Is Us fans! Dan Fogelman really considered what fans would want to see before the final chapter was closed on the Pearsons’ story. He gave us some great moments between the characters and a glimpse at what the future might hold for the Big Three. Once you’ve cleaned up all tissues, be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.