To say that the This Is Us fall finale raised even more questions about the Pearson clan would be putting it lightly. Tuesday’s episode of the NBC tearjerker included yet another mysterious (and worrisome) flash-forward, along with a whole lot of other developments we’re not entirely sure what to make of. Happily, though, executive producer Isaac Aptaker is here to answer the finale’s most pressing questions. Well, some of them — more on that in a minute.
Set on Thanksgiving Day, the fall finale brought the Pearsons together once again. But things were not quite as warm and cozy as one would hope for the holidays. Rebecca, still struggling with her memory, finally admits to Randall that she needs to see a doctor. Enter a nine-months-in-the-future flashback, and the police have just returned Rebecca to the Pearson family cabin where Kevin and Kate are getting ready to celebrate their birthday. When Rebecca understandably asks where Randall is (it’s the birthday of the Big Three, after all), Kevin reminds her that the brothers aren’t on speaking terms. And, oh yeah, Kevin has a pregnant fiancée we know nothing about. Did we mention that Toby and little Jack are nowhere to be seen?! This seems significant considering Kate discovered some suspect text messages about her marriage on Toby’s phone.
So, what gives?
Though he’s been aching for her to admit it, hearing her say the words was absolutely devastating. And while the road ahead is unknown, she has the very best family by her side. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/6TIyFCXKdz
As for Rebecca’s seemingly deteriorating mental state, Aptaker told EW that fans will get a more definitive idea of what’s going on — you guessed it — when the season returns next year. “We’re not giving an exact medical diagnosis just yet, but she’s definitely on that path,” the EP said of a possible Alzheimer’s or dementia confirmation, adding, “The reality is, it actually takes a bit of time to come up with a diagnosis. There’s not an instant blood test where they can tell you what’s wrong, but it’s something that we’re going to be exploring in the back half of the season with as much medical accuracy as possible.”
On the flip side, Kevin’s life developments seem to be happening at warp speed. “It’s definitely fast,” Aptaker said, laughing. “Aug. 31 is [the Big Three’s] birthday, so we’re nine months in the future and he is already engaged and soon to be with child. People can draw their own conclusions there, whether they want to believe that things are hunky-dory or if this was a bit of panic and something that Kevin might wind up regretting.”
When it comes to the trouble between Kevin and Randall, Aptaker hints that fans may come to find out that rift revolves around Rebecca’s diagnosis. “Yes, I think that the secret could be it. There’s going to be a lot of complicated decision-making down the line regarding Rebecca’s treatment and care, and that all makes existing sibling rivalries rear their heads, for sure,” Aptaker shared.
— Clare Fitzpatrick (@Coach_Fitz24) November 20, 2019
Finally, Kate’s current dilemma will be explored in-depth as soon as the season returns next year. Reassured Aptaker, “When we come back in January, we’re going to right away deal with the aftermath of Kate discovering LadyKryptonite5 and trying to figure out what the hell that’s all about and who this woman is.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be This Is Us without a proper cliffhanger (or seven). To that end, Aptaker isn’t serving up answers to all of the questions created by the fall finale. And what’s more, he even dropped a super cryptic question mark of his own. When asked if there was anything he wanted to leave fans with, he coyly responded, “A trilogy.”