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It’s no secret the inaugural season of This Is Us has left a fair number of viewers running short on tissues. Between the cathartic cries, emotional breakdowns and teary eyes by the end of each episode, the show has offered up relatable snippets of everyday life that have bolstered NBC’s ratings and taken social media feeds by storm.
The 18-episode run comes to an end Tuesday with “Moonshadow,” a somewhat standalone episode that delves more into Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) past and showcases how the pair met. The episode also picks up on last week’s cliffhanger finale, in which an inebriated Jack hopped into his car to make the two-hour trek to Rebecca’s show in order to make things right between them.
“The episode is exceptionally well done. As a married man I can admit that not every moment is all peaches and cream. Every marriage endures its ups and downs,” Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It sort of shows what it takes to be married: the steadfastness and perseverance and forgiveness that is necessary to make a marriage work. It will be something to rejoice and also something that married people will look at and be like, ‘Please, please be OK.’”
“It’s really a Jack and Rebecca episode with a lot of weight to it,” creator Dan Fogelman says. “It’s going to live in very special territory along with some of the other stuff we’ve done. It’s a cool, interesting, scary episode of television. Scary in terms of really watching a couple that we all love go through some stuff.”
Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin, shares that sentiment. “The last one’s a little different. The last one, tonally, is a little different; it gets a little dark, a little heavier,” he says. “But it’s good. It’s intense and you’re definitely going to cry, unless you have an empty space in your chest where your heart should be.”
This Is Us has already been renewed for two more seasons, so viewers can rest assured that there’s plenty of Pearson drama left to tell. That said, the question on viewers’ minds heading into the finale is whether Jack is going to be OK, or if they should be bracing themselves for another death like William’s (Ron Cephas Jones).
“I hope everyone has recovered from William’s passing, is all I’m going to say,” teases Ventimiglia. “Get ready. It’s a rocky ride at the end.”
“There are different kinds of ways that you’re hopefully moved by this show. The ending with Randall’s breakdown was one kind of thing and then you’ve got the kind of episode like ‘Memphis,’” says Fogelman of the emotional hour, which ended with William’s death. “And then there’s this whole other thing that happens in the finale. This whole other kind of emotion that I don’t know quite how to explain but I think it’s going to be very powerful for people and definitely going to create some tears.”
So how many tears should viewers actually expect to stock up on? Here’s what the cast had to say:
“There may be what… about 200 Kleenexes per actual box? So maybe just one box is okay. One box should suffice, unless you’re having a party.”
Sterling K. Brown
“A few… you won’t mourn the loss of someone but we try to leave you on something a little bit lighter so that we don’t wreck you and then leave you for four or five months.
Sam Trammell (Ben)
“You always need probably a full Kleenex box for every episode!”
Jon Huertas (Miguel)
“If I were a betting man, I’d say leave the Kleenex boxes alone and get like, four handkerchiefs and just fold them over. The Kleenex is too weak; it won’t hold the amount of emotion that’s going to spew. It’s going to be a very emotional season finale. I can’t even go into anything, but it’s definitely going to be the perfect close to a This Is Us season.”
Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth)
“I would say we keep up the kind of pace you had for the ‘Memphis’ episode. That pace is there, but you might not need as many tissues. It depends on your tolerance level. I don’t think anything is going to get up to a William. A three-packer is a peak.”
“All you got.”
This Is Us finales Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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