The fall finale of This Is Us showcases a pivotal moment for the show, one that marks the midway point with a thick cloud of poignancy for the upcoming second half of the series. For now though, it’s all about the celebrations and Thanksgiving anchors all of our characters together for the annual dinner.
We begin the episode with a montage of Nicky through the years; his Father shouting at him while Jack keeps him on the straight and narrow. After admitting that Thanksgiving is the worst time for him, Jack and Nicky head out together and drink in a bar, watching football. After winning a boatload of money, they indulge in expensive shrimp, which goes on to become a Thanksgiving tradition.
In the present, a nervous Nicky gets ready to leave with Kevin while Randall and Beth prepare for the upcoming dinner they’re hosting. The atmosphere is still frosty between Rebecca and him though after their fight, and she refuses to talk about her mental state. On the plane to Randall’s, Kate admits the truth to Toby about the avocado last episode. Toby immediately takes offence though, lamenting her for not telling him the truth but pushes this to the back of his mind given baby Jack’s first Thanksgiving is on the horizon.
As Nicky and Randall take off together to pick up memorabilia from their previous house, Kevin heads off alone with Tess after she admits the truth about her sexuality, leaving Beth and Miguel alone when Shauna arrives. She immediately connects with Deja, prompting Beth to feel anxious until Kate and Toby finally arrive.
Rebecca meanwhile heads off alone for a walk and after asking for directions, appears to have been turned around. She wanders into a shop and picks up flowers to smell after asking for directions to the bakery, and it’s here we see first-hand her memory loss, culminating in her leaving her phone in the shop. After eating Chinese alone, she realizes she’s left her phone in the shop and begins panicking.
An air of awkwardness hangs over Thanksgiving at Randal’s as Kate and Beth both take a breather and admit what’s getting them down. Beth laments how well Shauna is doing while Kate admits to hating new cross fit-Toby. Randall returns home soon after and tries calling Rebecca again to no avail. Brushing it aside for now, Beth heads upstairs and talks to Deja about Shauna. Nicky gets up and tells the family about his past before unveiling five pounds of shrimp; a Pearson tradition which, as we see via a brief forward-flash to grown-up Jack, sticks through the years.
Nicky thanks Kevin for everything he did to help him and suggests Kevin move back to Hollywood, while Tess comes out on Instagram, thanking his Uncle for help. He decides that now’s the time to settle down but with no Rebecca around, Randall starts to get worried. It’s here we see that her memory loss and picking up flowers was actually during the Big Three’s 40th birthday. This future scene sees her ask where Randall is but it’s a touchy subject and somewhere in the future, the brothers are going to fall out. In the present though she finally admits to Randall that she needs to see a doctor when she arrives back at the house.
Over the years, Thanksgiving has been quite the dramatic affair for the Pearson’s and this year is no different. This Is Us constantly throws up surprises and seeing Rebecca’s mental deterioration is inevitably going to be tough to watch over the upcoming episodes. Kate and Toby appear to be on course for a dramatic fight too while Randall’s implosion, alienating his twins, is certainly going to be tough to watch going forward.
For now though, This Is Us bows out with another strong episode, one that asks a lot of questions going forward while setting the foundation for the season ahead.