It was a very special day on "This Is Us" last night. Yeah, sure, Kate got married to Mr. Grumblypants McBritish – but the REAL thing viewers wanted to RSVP for Tuesday night was everything going on around the ceremony, from a drastically deteriorating Rebecca to Kevin surrounded by not one, not two but THREE potential suitors both old and new. (Including Rachel from "Inventing Anna!" No one bring up wire transfers around her – touchy subject.)
It was a very eventful ceremony, with the near future suddenly becoming the present on "This Is Us." So let's just jump right into the five biggest takeaways from Kate and Grumblypants' big day ... right after I finish getting this awesome new haircut that I'm sure is gonna turn out great.
1. A Kevin mystery is afoot!
By his standards, Kevin's certainly had more disastrous wedding days – but he still managed to make a mess of things. (And I'm not just talking about that terrible "Princess Bride" impression.) No, after seemingly avoiding romantic emotional entanglements, Kevin managed to find himself in a love triangle at Kate's wedding. Actually, a triangle involves just two other people – Kevin's actually managed to find himself in some sort of potential love quadrilateral, with one contender leaving a swoony poem and undergarments strewn across Kevin's room the night before the wedding for Madison and Beth to accidentally find.
Fueled by mimosas and boredom, those two fall down a rabbit hole solving this fresh mystery – and so does the audience.
The most obvious potential undergarment forgetter is, of course, Sophie – the great love story Kevin and "This Is Us" just can't give up. You knew her wordless appearance last week at the wedding reception wasn't just a polite cameo – and indeed, she's at Kate and Mr. Grumpypants McBritish's wedding ... seemingly without a plus-one at that. However, our amateur and alcohol-fueled sleuths on the case confirm that she is still married ... but she is sure awkward and suspicious around Kevin when he runs into her after walking Rebecca around. Speak of the devil, the mother and son were just talking about Sophie and how Kevin "got himself into a pickle" the night before (hmm) a conversation that Rebecca, in her Jack delirium, detours into discussing Kevin and Sophie's first marriage and how she thinks they'll work it out. (HMMM!)
However, she's not the only suspect in the case of the Mysterious Misplaced Bra. There's also Cassidy, who's at the wedding and, according to Madison and Beth's snooping eyes, a little touchy-feely with Kevin before the ceremony. Plus, while they're all on an elevator, Cassidy whispers something about picking up a wrap that she apparently left in Kevin's room the night before amongst the supposed craziness. Case closed, right!? Madison and Beth certainly think so, cheers-ing their success ... only to snoop in on that awkward Sophie interaction, un-closing their case. Plus, the last time we saw Cassidy, the whole point was how Kevin's emotional instability and flightiness was the opposite of what she needed in her life – so I'm side-eyeing this suspect. But maybe Kevin's changed a lot between then and now ... and between the engagement party where he was sleeping with the State Farm jingle woman. Hmmm ...
That leaves our third person of interest: Rachel from "Inventing Anna!" But actually, it's Arielle, the newly introduced wedding singer who keeps shooting Kevin knowing eyes throughout the ceremony – eyes that know what he looks like naked, perhaps!?
Who's the declothed culprit who left behind her clothes but possibly stole Kevin's heart? Almost certainly Sophie – but let's go through everyone!
I highly doubt it'd be Cassidy; considering the emotional baggage they're both bringing to the table, that seems like a bad decision for everyone. Here's to those two staying platonic friends. So that leaves Arielle and Sophie, and while there's a part of me that thinks actress Katie Lowes – also famous from her role as Quinn on ABC's "Scandal" – is too notable to just be a toss-off red herring of a guest appearance, a larger part figures that the show's not going to risk making Kevin's big final match someone we've just met. That's a lot of emotional work to do in just a few episodes – and, if done wrong, could really bungle the ending. (See also: Mr. Grumblypants McBritish.)
So that leaves Sophie (and all the baggage the show's trying to pretend didn't happen). OR there's always a fourth option: Kevin slept with no one the night before, coincidences put all those things in his room and he ends up single after all, learning how to love himself and to accept his journey without some grand narrative.
Nah, it's gonna be Sophie, isn't it?
2. Give Madison and Beth a detective show, cowards
Listen, "This Is Us" is coming to an end, and you know NBC doesn't want to completely say goodbye to one of its biggest hits. So let's make a "This Is Us" spinoff – and Tuesday night gave us a terrific option: "This Is Wedding Detectives." Give us Madison and Beth, kinda-sorta haphazardly solving mysteries at weddings while sucking down mimosas and bantering about their potential suspects. Crime shows are always popular, and I will watch just about anything Susan Kelechi Watson does next – so make it happen, NBC. If somehow you're nervous and not confident about it, just call it "Chicago Wedding Detectives."
3. Give Mandy Moore an Emmy
Last week we got our first glimpse of Future Rebecca, and while it wasn't all good news – her hair went full grey and she needed Randall's support getting to the table at the engagement party – she could still interact with everyone and even remember Mr. Grumblypants McBritish's name (albeit with a little effort). Unfortunately, on Tuesday night, things looked a lot worse for the Pearson matriarch as Future Rebecca became Present Day Rebecca – who unfortunately thinks she's Past Rebecca.
It starts early as the show elegantly transitions from a giddy haircut in the past to the grey near future, with Miguel needing to explain to Rebecca that she should get her hair done because it's Kate's wedding day. But that's not even the most concerning part: Throughout the episode, Rebecca's brain trips her up and makes her think that Jack is still around. She tells Randall that she can't wait for her (very much dead) husband to arrive to the wedding, drawing a lot of anxious eyes that only increase when she calls Kevin "Jack" while taking a big family photo. Miguel and Kevin play through it – the latter especially, letting Rebecca have her delusion later in the episode, not correctly her as they converse, her brain flip-flopping between knowing she's with Kevin and thinking she's with Jack.
Randall, however, is a little less eager to quietly play along – especially since Rebecca has a not-insubstantial part to play in the wedding, performing a song after his reception toast. And when the time comes to take the stage, Rebecca takes her sweet time finding her bearings. (It's OK; in case it's a mess, Mr. McBritish has "My Heart Will Go On" karaoke on standby just in case they need something to out-awkward the moment.) But eventually she does get to playing her song – a moving tune, co-written by the very good band Dawes, about seeing the past, present and future that also HAPPENS TO BE THE END CREDITS MUSIC WE'VE HEARD FOR THE LAST FIVE SEASONS! Who do I call about getting an award for kinda, sorta, almost predicting this a few weeks ago!?
See, I said the music would turn out to be a plot point! Wrong character, wrong instrument, wrong melody ... but other than that, I was on point! AWARD ME!
As for people much more deserving of awards, let's talk Mandy Moore. Fun fact: She's 38 years old – something I keep forgetting considering how well she's played Rebecca deep into old age and, now, dementia. She's always been an underrated glue figure on the show, often the person on the receiving end of others' (mainly Jack's) big emotional speeches and grand gestures in the early days. The later seasons, however, really moved her character to the center of the Pearson clan and to the fore of its emotional core – and she's taken on the role and responsibility with incredible grace, never overplaying attributes that could become actorly or tic-laiden and always hitting the right notes. Quite literally in Tuesday night's case, not only playing Rebecca's drastic drop in mental retention with tragic yet tender reality but also singing the beautiful song at Kate's wedding.
Moore earned an Emmy nomination back in 2019, and after her impressive work – both big and nuanced – in last night's episode, I think it's time we turn that nomination into a win.
4. Miguel is reaching his breaking point
Tuesday's episode may have ended with happy dancing and the Pearsons/McBritshes learning to stop worrying and love the moments they have – but Miguel's clearly about to crack. In fact, with Randall, he's already begun – and about much more than just Rebecca, too.
Everyone handles Rebecca's clear deterioration differently at the wedding, from Kevin having little problem playing the role of Jack when Rebecca's confusion takes over to Kate ... well, it's her wedding day so she's plenty of other things to worry about. Of the bunch, Randall – pardon me, that's SENATOR Randall – seems particularly perturbed about his mother's mental regression and her scheduled musical performance, so Miguel tries to distract him with a wine tasting (and a bad "Sideways" impression, but I appreciate the effort). Unfortunately, even some tasty pinot noir and a beautiful vineyard backdrop can't get Randall's mind off how shaky Rebecca seems – and, maybe even more so, how shaky Miguel seems, literally. Randall points out that Miguel's hand is tremoring whenever they toast their wine glasses, plus he accidentally noticed a bottle of blood pressure pills with Miguel's name on it.
Miguel tries to drink through it – but later on, when Randall tries too hard to help with some wine boxes, Miguel's playful and happy facade cracks. He didn't need Randall to overanalyze his trembling hand, an apparently normal side effect of his meds that's fine; he needed Randall to give him an hour of time just enjoying life and catching a breath, forgetting about any Rebecca worries and forgetting how bad things are getting. Because, as he tells Randall, things are getting bad – and they're only rolling downhill faster. And he just needed a little bit of time to recover from the whiplash of it all and think about cabernet instead.
Randall gets it; his speech at the wedding reception makes that clear, talking about how you have to savor the moments that slow down the march of time (complete with a little nod to Miguel's "whiplash" comment). But judging by Rebecca's increasingly hazy behavior and Miguel's stressed break, everyone – including us viewers – should enjoy that happy party while they can because things aren't gonna be that fun for a while I imagine.
5. Sure, let's give Jack's mustache an origin story
Ever since "This Is Us" wrapped up the drama around Jack's death – and certainly after Jack's brother – it's struggled to find a purpose for one of its most famous characters and its past timelines. There hasn't been much story or plot to unpack from the Jack era (this isn't particularly a complaint; frankly, it'd be more annoying if the show revealed some new random drama that somehow had never been spoken of before five seasons in) instead using fairly brief flashbacks to simply frame each episode, speaking on the themes at hand and how they ripple throughout the years.
And also sometimes the flashbacks are used to give facial hair an origin story.
Yes, in between reflecting on how the Pearson clan has dealt with Rebecca's changes both mundane and massive over the years, as well as finding an actual moving thoughtful and non-trite way to basically say "carpe diem," "This Is Us" turned into "Jack's Stache: Origins." And twist: As it turns out, it was a whole other hairdo's doing!
Back in the past, Rebecca's bored. Worried that her life's becoming too routine – so much so that even the Big Three licking at their cereal bowls like dogs doesn't even phase her – and DEFINITELY not a fan of the deli guys giving her the nickname (*cringes*) "Pound of Ham," Rebecca decides she needs a change. And thanks to a tabloid magazine with Princess Di on the cover, she thinks she has the answer: a new haircut. Unfortunately, the new short 'do isn't her favorite – and definitely not the kids' favorite, as everyone takes turns doing their best Chris Rock impression and roasting the new look. Even Jack – who apparently learned NOTHING from Will Smith – chuckles at first before telling the kids to keep their mom's name out their mouths. (Thankfully no slap – that would be a very different NBC show.)
After the He-Man jokes stop, Rebecca eventually reveals to Jack her worries about falling into boring routine and losing who she is in the process. And while Jack, as the child of a broken house with little resembling normalcy, likes the comfortable happy routine, he understands his wife's concerns – and, better yet, knows how to help alleviate them. He makes some fun dinner plans, booking a nice reservation and night-out – complete with an impromptu performance from Rebecca at the spot's open mic night – but most importantly he shaves off his goatee and reveals The Almighty Stache.
So there you have it; that's how Jack became Jack But Now With A Mustache. I look forward to finding out what other mundane mysteries we can solve in the remaining episodes. Forget Kevin's potential love interest. I want an answers to questions like "Where'd Jack go to technical school?" or "How's Toby liking his Big Green Egg?" or "Whatever happened to that guy Kevin saved in that fiery car crash?" (OK, but actually, I'd like a follow-up there.) Maybe we can get Madison and Beth on the case. See, NBC, "This Is Wedding Detectives" is writing itself!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.