[This story contains spoilers from Tuesday’s season two finale of NBC’s This Is Us.]
This Is Us wrapped its second season Tuesday with Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) exchanging “I dos” at the Pearson family cabin with the whole family present — including patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), despite the fact that he died two decades ago.
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.
“It was layered with young Kate and current Kate and their relationship or what the relationship could have been,” Metz says, “down to what he would look like at this age and all of those things that everyone who has lost a loved one thinks about — the memories that could have been and things that could have been shared. It’s heartbreaking because as much as things happen for a reason, it’s really hard to contend with someone that you really love is gone, especially when you have a relationship like Kate and Jack did. It was really layered, and it was really wonderful and a lot of fun to have all of us together. I had to wait two years, but that’s what’s really special about it. It wasn’t just like, ‘Oh, let’s just unnecessarily put them together.’ It was this really defining moment.”
While some viewers worried that Kate wouldn’t make it all the way down the aisle, Metz says she didn’t. The episode needed to end on a happier note, especially after the emotional season that focused on the circumstances surrounding Jack’s death.
“People wanted to be so happy for Kate and Toby, and for the family, that it was really important to leave on a [happier] note. They had so much going on in the past two seasons that it was really like a really great hug. Like, ‘Oh, thank god.’ So many people had predictions that, ‘Kate is so emotional and she can’t handle things’ that she would leave Toby at the altar, so I’m glad to know that it was a feel-good finale.”
Below, Metz discusses the episode in depth, including Kate finally moving on from her guilt over Jack’s death, taking care of Toby during his depression (which was glimpsed in a short fast-forward at the end of the episode) and her expectations for season three.
A lot of Kate’s issues from the past two seasons have been centered on her experience relating to her father’s death, but she had a cathartic moment in the woods thinking back on her talks there with Jack as a kid, and later with Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) speech that made it seem like she really is ready to move on.
Yes, that’s the culmination of the past two seasons with Toby and knowing that he is the right man for her and that Jack would be so thrilled and so happy to see them so happy. It’s definitely a release of the guilt and the shame and the pain that she’s held on to for so long and [finally feeling] that somebody could actually fill a bit of Jack’s shoes. She’s got to keep it moving and go through all of that to really start her life as the Kate she’s always wanted to be and always had the potential to be and never really believed it. Like all of us, myself included, sometimes we need people to believe in us so we believe in ourselves. That’s what Toby has done for her and made her feel loved and lovable again. There’s definitely a shift happening and a change with Kate and within the relationship. It’s exciting because we all want to see characters go through a journey and hopefully evolve in the right direction and she’s working at it.
When Kevin and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) were driving together in the car, Kevin confessed that he worried he spent too much of his life letting Kate take care of…