5:30am PT by Amber Dowling
'This Is Us': 11 Burning Questions for Season 2
[This story contains spoilers from the season one finale of NBC's This Is Us.]
When the trailer for freshman NBC drama This Is Us hit social media last summer it soared to Star Wars-like views, in part because the subject matter was so relatable to a broad audience (and in part because of star Milo Ventimiglia’s bare backside).
Eighteen episodes later, the series wrapped its freshman run Tuesday with a steadily increasing viewership and a two-season renewal that will keep the show on-air through 2019.
With such a long path in front of it, This Is Us was sure to weave plenty of potential story threads and plot twists into its final first-season episode, “Moonshadow,” despite focusing almost exclusively on Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) relationship. With a long spring and summer wait in store for viewers and the cast and crew now on an official hiatus, THR rounded up some of the most pressing questions for season two.
1. How and when did Jack die?
Viewers learned that Jack (Ventimiglia) died early during season one, with the reveal that he passed away when The Big Three were teens coming later. But just how and when the patriarch actually passed remains a mystery shrouded in a storyline set in the past that hasn’t yet been written. It seemed likely that those questions would be answered heading into the finale when Jack drunkenly got behind the wheel to drive to “save” his relationship with Rebecca (Mandy Moore), but that turned out to be another one of the show’s misdirects as Jack arrived drunk, but safe.
2. What was the state of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship when Jack died?
Viewers know that present-day Rebecca still wears the moon necklace Jack gave her, which means there’s hope for the couple to reconcile when the series returns next season. However, as things currently sit, Jack has moved out of the house for at least a few days while he and Rebecca cool off following an epic fight. If and when they actually get back together remains a big question mark, given some of the nasty things they both said.
3. How did Rebecca and Miguel become a thing?
Thanks to the present-day timeline, viewers know that Rebecca eventually moved on from Jack and turned to his best friend. Was Jack alive when this happened? Or did the pair bond while grieving Jack’s death? Or maybe that connection was forged even further down the road. That entire story is still wide open as far as viewers are concerned, as Miguel (Jon Huertas) has been used mostly as a supporting character with few historic reveals to date.
4. Whatever happened to Shelly?
At one point in the season it was revealed that Miguel and Shelly (Wynn Everett) divorced, but where did Shelly go from there? Sure, Miguel was Jack’s best friend, but wasn’t Shelly also Rebecca’s BFF? Did Miguel win the couple in the divorce or was there a fallout further down the road (potentially when Miguel and Rebecca got together)? Whatever happened, Shelly just seemed to disappear after she and Miguel made their big divorce announcement.
5. Will Randall and Beth adopt a child?
In the closing minutes of the finale, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) came to the realization that he wanted to adopt a kid — which naturally took Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) by surprise. Earlier in the season, the couple had a bit of a pregnancy scare and Beth made it clear that she wasn’t ready to have any more children; how she’ll react to Randall’s newest request remains to be seen.
6. Will Randall go back to work?
After William (Ron Cephas Jones) passed away in the "Memphis" episode, Randall realized he was spending his time on the wrong things in life. That mostly meant his demanding job, which he quit in the penultimate episode of the season. When the series returns, will Randall be gainfully employed elsewhere? Has he decided to become a stay-at-home father instead? And how will it all affect the family financially?
7. How did William actually get sober?
At some point between Rebecca’s first and last visits to William in the past timeline, Randall's biological father became sober. How did that happen, exactly, and what did he do with all of those years? There have been snippets of clues here and there, but there’s still plenty of the man’s history that has yet to be explored.
8. Will Kevin take the gig with Ron Howard?
Another relationship that viewers have only just begun to learn about is that of Kevin (Justin Hartley) and his ex-wife Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge). It’s known that the two were childhood sweethearts who married young and then got divorced after Kevin cheated on her. But when they decided to get married and how it all played out with their respective families remains to be seen. In the present-day storyline, it seems as though their newly resurrected relationship may be in jeopardy again: in the finale Kevin left to go and take a meeting with Ron Howard about filming a potential movie, a gig that could bring up all of the old issues that separated Kevin and Sophie in the first place.
9. Can Kate launch a successful singing career?
Another nugget that dropped in the finale was Kate's (Chrissy Metz) decision to pursue a singing career — just like her mother. She made the proclamation to Toby (Chris Sullivan) as the two were unpacking back in L.A., but any decisions beyond that have yet to be made. Will Kate’s quest bring her closer to her mother? Can she claim the career that her mom always wanted to have? And what will it mean to Toby and Kate’s overall relationship?
10. Will Toby and Kate ever walk down the aisle?
A big part of why Toby and Kate decided to wait to get married stemmed from the fact that Kate was unwilling to talk about her father’s death. However, Kate finally opened up to Toby in the penultimate episode and revealed that Jack’s death was her fault. Now that this piece of information has been exchanged, will the couple get their nuptials back on track? Or will they continue getting to know each other in the near future?
11. When will Dr. K return?
It’s no secret that Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) became an instant fan favorite as the family doctor who delivered Kevin and Kate. Both he and showrunner Dan Fogelman have indicated they’d love to delve deeper into the character’s past, but how and when that moment will come remains a mystery. Meanwhile, will the good doc show up again in the Pearsons' life in the later flashback sequences? It's pretty much inevitable. If the clan was around for his life-or-death surgery, they’re bound to be around for his eventual funeral, too.
This Is Us is expected to return sometime in the fall. What are you most looking forward to? Click here to read our finale interview with creator Dan Fogelman and here for our postgame with stars Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia. Keep up with all things This Is Us at THR.com/ThisIsUs.