Goodbyes are always hard, especially when you love the characters on a show so much that they feel like your best friends.
Our This Is Us Season 6 Episode 18 Round Table team got together one last time to discuss the Pearsons’ final send-off, what we’ll miss most about this iconic series, and more.
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being it didn’t feel like a finale at all and 10 being it wrapped everything up perfectly, how would you rate the series finale?
Christine: I’m going to give it an 8, just because it felt like it could have been any excellent episode and didn’t need to go over the top to be a satisfying series finale.
But that’s the beauty of This Is Us. It wasn’t into big cliffhangers but thrived in the little moments.
This installment was filled with little personal moments that felt like a giant hug for fans before the show departed for good.
Laura: I’m going to give it an 8 too. The present was lovely with Rebecca’s funeral and paired well with a quiet day at home.
However, I was hoping for a mini- flash forward to seeing Deja’s baby being born.
Jack: I’m going to give it a 9.5. It was almost a perfect 10, and I loved that we wrapped up with the Big Three promising to stay close as life goes on, as well as everything everyone else said.
I would have liked to have heard the eulogies, especially since Randall spent so much time struggling to write his. I felt like we needed a payoff that we didn’t get.
I also would have loved it if we’d gotten to meet Deja’s son and if we’d learned more about what was going on in the other girls’ lives. I’d have liked a shot of Tess with a girlfriend/wife or Annie at her job, just a glimpse of where they were headed.
What did you think of our last foray into the Big Three’s childhood?
Christine: It was their transition from little kids to adolescence, and it showcased each of the personalities perfectly.
Randall made a mistake and was harder on himself than anyone else could be. Kevin was insecure about how other people saw him, and while the two boys couldn’t wait to grow up, Kate wanted to hold on to this family moment with both hands.
Laura: As Christine said, it fit them so well.
Poor Kate was so much like Rebecca and wanted to hold onto these family moments before they grew up, while Kevin and Randall were embracing becoming teenagers. However, Randall made a mistake and was hard on himself, and Kevin was insecure about what people would think if he didn’t appear perfect.
Jack: I loved that the Big Three were transitioning into teenagers at the same time as the present-day Big Three were struggling to transition into life without Rebecca.
These quiet moments at home were also what made This Is Us such a relatable show. I was glad we got one more day with them.
Was the “quiet day at home” really a quiet day, or was it more significant than it seemed?
Christine: The quiet day had a lot going on for the Pearsons, and it gave Jack and Rebecca a day to see their kids for who they were and who they were becoming without the distraction of having to run them to sports or school events.
I particularly loved Jack showing his boys how to shave. It was all the more poignant because we know in a few short years, he wouldn’t be there to guide them anymore.
Laura: The quiet day at home was so much more.
It gave Jack and Rebecca a chance to bond with their children without distractions.
I also loved Jack teaching his sons to shave. It was such a poignant and bittersweet moment, knowing he wouldn’t be around in a few years.
Jack: I loved the quiet day at home. It turned out not to be so quiet, with Kevin and Randall struggling with their insecurities. I was glad we got one more interaction between Rebecca and Kevin and the scene of Jack teaching the boys to shave.
I also thought it worked well juxtaposed with the funeral scenes. I felt like the Big Three were remembering these moments as they prepared for the funeral, and that was a beautiful tribute to Rebecca and the family as a whole.
The Big Three all grew and changed over the course of the series. Which character arc did you enjoy the most?
Christine: I loved them all, but I think Kevin’s was my favorite.
He was the handsome, charming, insecure screw-up who never felt like he’d measure up to his father.
It may have taken longer than expected, but Kevin turned into a good man and a good father who earned back the love of his life and then used his success to start a nonprofit to help others. It was incredibly satisfying to see Kevin become who he was always supposed to be.
Laura: I also loved Kevin’s.
I started seeing a change around Season 3 or 4 when he found Uncle Nicky and wanted to help him, and he continued to change once Rebecca became sick, and he became a dad.
Kevin has the biggest heart. He just had to grow up.
Jack: I liked Kevin’s too, but Kate was my favorite.
I loved how she let go of the past, embraced who she really was, and had the courage to walk away from Toby when it wasn’t working anymore.
She significantly impacted visually impaired kids while teaching the music she was passionate about. Not bad for the girl who always felt like she was less than her brothers.
Randall and Rebecca both seemed to suffer from anxiety over loss that affected them their whole lives. Were you surprised that Rebecca also struggled with this?
Christine: No, I think all mothers struggle with this on some level.
Having a child is like allowing your heart to wander the world outside of your body without your control or protection.
It’s both wonderful and terrifying, and I think Rebecca felt that to her soul.
Laura: No, losing a child is awful, and opening your heart to loving other children can be terrifying.
Jack: Rebecca always seemed so confident and strong-willed despite her sensitivity and sentimentality. So it was surprising, though understandable, that she always struggled with fear of loss.
What will you miss most about This Is Us?
Christine: I’ve grown to love these characters, even during the moments when they drove me crazy.
This Is Us showed that life and family are never perfect, and sometimes they are heartbreaking, but if you just keep going, do the best you can and put love first, it can still be extraordinary.
Laura: It was one of the best realistic family dramas out there.
I grew to love the Pearsons. I’ll miss all of them, especially the Big Three bond, Randall and Beth’s honest relationship, and the belief that things get better.
Jack: I loved This Is Us because the Pearsons were similar to my family.
I’m the proud uncle of quadruplets, so it was awesome that the Big Three were all the same age, and it happens that they grew up in the 1980s like my brother, sister, and I did.
I also loved the way it jumped back and forth in time.
It reminded me of my favorite generational novel, and I was thrilled that Dan Fogelman described the series that way recently.
How would you grade the final season as a whole now that it’s over?
Christine: I have to give it an A+.
They did an excellent job of wrapping up everyone’s stories while still showing us that there was hope for the future. And they also reiterated that we are all connected and affect one another even when we don’t realize it.
Laura: Definitely an A. They wrapped up stories and connected everything beautifully.
Jack: I would give it an A as well. The time jump between Kate’s divorce and her remarriage felt rushed, and I think another half-season would have given those stories time to breathe.
But other than that, I thought this final season was perfect. I loved how they wrapped everyone’s stories up, and I also found it inspiring.
Discuss anything not covered above.
Christine: I loved this entire season, but my favorite episode was the one that focused on Miguel.
That installment blew me away. If Jon Huertas doesn’t get an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor and Mandy Moore for best actress, then there is no justice.
Laura: I loved the entire season. What will we do on Tuesday nights now?
Jack: There is definitely a big hole in my Tuesday nights now!
I also loved the Miguel episode.
The KaToby divorce episode is a close second. I empathized with both Toby and Kate as they struggled to make their marriage work and then went their separate ways.
What was your favorite scene, storyline, or quote from this week’s This Is Us?
Christine: Oh, Randall finding out he was going to have a grandson was epic.
His joy was contagious, and in the midst of their grief over having lost Rebecca, there was no way not to laugh at Randall’s antics.
And I love that Rebecca’s Pin the Tail on the Donkey game was being played by her grandchildren decades later.
From the moment Rebecca saw the picture on the box, she knew that this silly little game was somehow important, and she was right.
Laura: I loved all of the above.
It meant so much that Deja is naming the baby after William.
But I adored Jack teaching his boys to shave. We haven’t had many scenes of him with just the boys in a while.
Jack: It was hard to pick just one favorite scene. I also loved Randall’s joy at learning he was going to have a grandson.
But if I had to pick just one scene, it would be the Big Three talking after the funeral and agreeing to stay close. I especially loved Kevin telling Kate that they’d drift with her if she drifted away. That scene made the finale perfect for me.
Over the years, we’ve seen the Big Three fight and argue, but they will always be close, and they are going to navigate the world without Rebecca together now.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics! Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your answers to these questions.
The series may be over, but you can still watch This Is Us online any time you want.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.