This Is Us finale recap: 'The Wedding'

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And while not all of the monologues hit their mark - Deja's speech last week about how we're all fundamentally the same because we all sleep wasn't almost as profound as intended - there were many times throughout this season where my questions about why I continued to watch the show were answered by a lovely bit of oratory delivered by Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, or one of their co-stars.

There was no sophomore jinx for "This Is Us", which capped a second season punctuated by its post-Super Bowl episode with a strong, emotional finale that simultaneously managed to look back while cleverly planting the seeds for what lies ahead. Kevin and Beth's cousin travel to Vietnam to investigate Jack's military career! "She'll be thinking of him and having him in spirit". What happened from the time Kate and Toby said their "I do's" to when Toby found himself in life low?

The day before the wedding, after Kate gives Toby the bowtie that Leslie Nielsen wore in Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult as a wedding present, their kiss is interrupted by Kevin (Justin Hartley) who's playing wedding planner. Kevin tells Toby he's running late to pick up his parents at the airport.

In fact, Metz tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was the first time she was able to act with her TV father, in a pre-wedding jitters-induced dream sequence that featured Jack and wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) renewing their vows to commemorate their 40th anniversary. Randall might want Tess to make peace with Beth's passing/ill health.

The answer is still hazy-but in Tuesday's finale, it became clear that while Beth might not be dead in the future, she's nearly certainly not well. Among the awful options put on the table: Deja gets Tess to resent Randall and Beth, Deja goes to jail, Deja kills Randall and Beth. "I'm not ready", Tess replies, shaking her head. "Me neither", Randall concedes, before Tess gets up from her chair. It's quite clear from their exchange that it's someone they were once close with, but had a falling out in the past that caused them to sever ties. Could it be that Beth will someday perish of the same cancer that took her father?

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In the finale, Beth and Randall play a game of "worst case scenario" and there's one conversation they share that may be a serious case of foreshadowing.

Randall: Deja never turns this around and ends up in jail.

Beth: She might kill us both in our sleep. Part of her challenge is balancing being there for Toby but also for herself, and that's something that we all have to deal with.

Beth: Both on the pole. One horrific, but very realistic, possibility: At some point in the distant past, Deja got into a awful fight with Beth and the family, resulting in something traumatic (possibly fatal) happening that broke the family unit apart.

The series has also taken what easily could have been a exhausted subplot, involving Randall's foster child Deja (Lyric Ross), and in the last few episodes broadened that into something more resonant than clichéd, while presenting Randall with a parenting challenge that, as is so often true on the show, ties into his past while simultaneously hinting at his future. There is a very realistic possibility that Beth, in her older age, is terminally ill from an incurable disease - suffering from dementia and not the same Beth that Randall and Tess have grown to love. Or when Randall says "it's time to go see her", he could be referring to Beth (or Annie)'s final resting place. She told Us, "He'll get stuck on one line and he's such a perfectionist that he'll be like 'again.' He knows right when he gets to it, and he's like 're-do, sorry'". Sometimes we tend to project them on other people, and it's just unfortunate because when there's this heightened state of emotional play, be that a wedding or any of those events, things start to kind of bubble up.

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