Tonight, This Is Us season 3 episode 9 did its part in order to deliver a painful, poignant, and in the end shocking hour that resolved some stories. Yet, in the process it also opened up others and gave us quite possibly the most stunning closing scene in the history of the entire series.
Related This Is Us video! – Be sure to get some more thoughts right now regarding the midseason finale below! Also, be sure to subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube for more.
We’re not going to get the final scene here out of our head for some time, as it turns out that Nicky Pearson is actually … alive? Well, we don’t want to go that far in saying that just yet, but it certainly does seem as though there was at one point a Nicky in Bradford, Pennsylvania, a real town located close to the New York border. We saw a letter addressed to him and a figure moving around in what looked to be a small home. Kevin went all the way over to Vietnam in order to find out the truth about his father and uncle’s experience, only to then realize that Nicky was never listed on a War Memorial registry there.
We know now that Nicky at least made it back from the war alive, and we certainly do like to think that the closing shot of Nicky was in the present. If that is the case, we have to wonder how much Jack knew. We saw Jack swim out to a boat in the past after hearing gunfire there, but we didn’t seem him recover a body. He may have assumed that Nicky died overseas and never saw the body — yet, if that was the case, wouldn’t he have still been listed in the registry? The more likely scenario in our mind is that Jack knew Nicky didn’t die overseas, but instead preferred to think of him as dead because he wasn’t the same many anymore. The war made a monster out of him and he had to sever a relationship for the sake of his own future.
If Jack carried this secret with him all of his life, it says a lot about the burden that he had on his heart and his soul. In the second half of the season, we imagine that there will be more information on that; and, to go along with it, also more of Kevin trying to seek this man out. After learning that he may still be alive, we hardly imagine that this is a kernel of information he will ignore. We think that a reunion of sorts is on the horizon, though it may not be a happy one.
One more thing: Wow. What a reveal. We’re going to spend weeks trying to get over that.
Randall’s painful present
One of the other important reveals to come out of this episode is that Randall and Beth are in the midst of a tough time, one that may ultimately lead to something so much worse. Notice that in the flash-forwards, Randall and Beth are not necessarily speaking about each other in a romantic way. Randall broke an enormous promise to her in this episode, as he claimed he needed to see the election through even after he learned he fundamentally stood no chance of winning. He didn’t want to accept defeat, but he had also told Beth previously that the moment she wanted out, he needed to come with her. Their family needed him, given that Tess just opened up about her sexuality and Deja is interested in seeing her mother. He’s still not willing to step away and that’s a problem.
Do we think that Randall could eventually be in public office? Sure, but this isn’t going to be it. It’s just too hard to imagine him staging a come-from-behind victory here.
Beth’s baby is a…
Boy! The gender was revealed tonight in the form of a cake. At first, she and Toby were hesitant to even learn about the gender, seemingly out of fear that they would be pouring their heart and soul into someone who may not make it to birth. Yet, they decided to put forward that investment and we have a lot to be hopeful for here. (Alas, we haven’t yet seen Kate or Toby in the future, so it’s hard to know if the baby makes it or not.)
The big flash-forward reveal
As it turns out, Randall and Tess are going to visit Rebecca — or at least that’s how it seems, given that Randall’s biological mother died long ago (pending some other shocking twist). Beth, regardless of whatever her relationship is with Randall, seems to be joining them.
This is everything that a This Is Us fall finale should be — an installment that gives you so much more information and establishes much of what will be coming in the second half of the season. If we can offer up any advice here at all, it’s simply to buckle up and prepare for what is an extremely bumpy ride. Also, we’re going to need the entire hiatus to get our jaw up from off the floor.
What did you think about This Is Us season 3 episode 9? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: NBC.)