The fall finale of This Is Us offers the biggest turn of the series so far

Photo: Brent Lewin (NBC)

"The problem with documentaries is that you can not force them to end what you want as well." This is only one of the many flashing lines of tonight. That's us Autumn finale, all of which are intended to warn viewers that the mysteries of the show may not resolve as expected. (The other meta moments include Kevin, while acknowledging that he is in a twisted TV show and that Zoe points out that it is only the finale of the fall, not the season 1.) So , although "The beginning is the end is the beginning" answers about who the Mystery Village Woman is (and could officially depart completely from this mystery), it offers another clue that changes the game: Future Beth is a teacher ballet!

Okay, we can say that some changes are more important than Beth's unexpected career path. (But really, who saw that coming?) In fact, the last five minutes of this episode are full of revelations. The mysterious "she" of Flash-Forward's timeline turns out to be Rebecca, which is actually a pretty logical and simple answer to this mystery. Kate and Toby are going to have a boy who, I guess, will end up wearing Jack's name. And just as the episode would seem to answer the question of how Nicky died in Vietnam, That's us instead offers the massive twist that he's not dead at all in Vietnam. In fact, he (maybe?) Simulated his own death and is still alive nowadays! It's a massive turn, although it may not be the case enough as unexpected as That's us think that this is the case, given the frequency with which I saw it speculate in the comments. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that this is a huge change of game, a potential that could break the show if it is not handled properly. But it's for later episodes to understand. Although it's hard to talk about anything but these last twists, we also have an autumn finale to analyze.


I must admit that I found that "the beginning is the end is the beginning" is a frustrating episode to watch at times, but in a different way from the weaker episodes of the third season as "A Philadelphia Story" and "Toby". While these episodes were scattered and lacked finesse, "the beginning is the end is the beginning" is more solid in the run. It's a well-paced, well-directed, extremely well-played, and at its best, scene filled with scenes as low-key as emotionally felt that have driven the best episodes of the season. But it's also an episode that shows the gap between the strongest scenarios of the season (the Vietnam War, Kevin and Zoe's trip, Tess's exit) and the weak ones (Randall's political scenario, the scattered bow of Kate).

On their Blank check podcast, animators Griffin Newman and David Sims use the term "sweaty" to describe an awkward story that shoehorns are clumsy, and "The beginning is the end is the beginning" is a really very moist episode. Take the case for example, Phong Le, the Vietnamese animator Kevin and Zoe, reveals that Nicky is not listed in the database of the Vietnam Veterans Monument. First of all, it's odd that he thought he'd check Kevin's story about his uncle's death in Vietnam. Second, it's odd to think that Nicky is not on the memorial is irrefutable proof that Nicky did not die during the war, as if no clerical error could be committed. (And if Nicky simulated his death / Jack supposed he was dead, why would not he be on the memorial, anyway?) The biggest problem is that the scene itself is just clumsily written and extended for dramatic reasons. that to capture realistically people could actually talk to each other.

This perspiration is even more evident in the stories of Kate and Randall. Kate's bow says that she understands her concern about her pregnancy while seeking a new direction for her life. Yet the episode explores this in unnecessarily complicated ways. Her doctor tells her that being an Adele-o-gram requires too much time sitting in the car (okay?), So she tries to find a job as a choir teacher in high school (of course ?), Then it becomes a story how she must finally graduate to complete her life (I guess?). To be honest, since money is clearly not a problem, it seems mostly that Kate needs a hobby, not a new job. But at least I can vaguely see what the episode aspires in its scenario, even if it takes a very devious way to get there.

On the other hand, I remain totally disconcerted by what the story of Randall even tries to say. In the end, this seems to result in a conflict between Randall's devotion to William's old community (despite being too far away to win the seat of the city council) and his duty to Beth / children. But not only does this not really fit with Randall, the family spirit of season two: "The beginning is the end is the beginning" again takes a path unnecessarily diverted to achieve it. Although last week's episode ended with Randall and Beth headed for a big hassle about her comment on only taking her political advice because she's his wife, this episode begins with the fact that this conflict has been fully resolved off screen. Then he creates a set New conflict to bring us back to the point where Randall and Beth disagree.

It is not helpful that all the logistical concerns that I detailed in my review of "Kamsahamnida" apply again here. "Vote for me and I'll solve all the problems without ever having to compromise!" Randall seems to be a rather whimsical sales pitch from a man who admits he does not even know how politics works. And I still can not know if I'm supposed to see Sol Brown as a bad guy or not. It may not be a positive sign that I actively encourage the member to counter the moving speech in Randall's debate by pointing out that it is quite difficult to personally shovel the snowy sidewalks of your constituents when you live in a state. totally different.

Yet, despite all my reproaches on "The beginning is the end is the beginning", it contains elements that really work, really. First, Eris Baker interprets the epic performance of the episode as she navigates through Tess's tentative scenario. After being asked to do little more than being a cute kid in the past two seasons, it's truly exciting to see Baker as confident as she is here. And I love how this episode gets mixed up with the relationship between Tess and Rebecca, which reminds us of how many character combinations That's us went to explore in his main cast.

The two best scenes from this episode – discussions around the Rebecca-Tess debate and Kevin's meeting with local historian (Joseph Hieu), who grew up in the Vietnamese fishing village – evoke the same idea: Older generations often carry burdens they hope to protect themselves from the future. Some do it in secret, as Jack and the historian's father both have a cheerful face to hide the horrors of war from their children. Others do it more directly, such as how Rebecca reveals to Tess the fact that repressing her fears and secrets can result in a lot of physical and emotional pain. Both scenes capture That's us at his most discreet, the best empathetic, as do all the really convincing elements between Jack and Nicky in this episode.

So it's more than a little worrying that the end of twist seems to move That's us on the soap opera territory. If I'm honest, it's hard to imagine Nicky's resolution in a way that does not seem too exaggerated. On the other hand, I would be more than happy to be wrong. Given the quality of the season this season, I guess anything is possible. Let's hope the series stops to give everyone an identical evil twin for a moment.

Observations lost

  • The editing of Kevin and Jack walking in the same village in two different chronologies was really charming.
  • Given the frequency with which the Vietnam War is explored from the American point of view, I am really glad that this episode gave such a long scene to a Vietnamese character describing the experience of his own family in the war.
  • Randall, helping Annie train for her spelling was perhaps the cutest thing I've ever seen.
  • So, do we think Beth and Randall handled Tess well? I have the impression that they were a little emotionally distanced in their responses. I expected them to say explicitly, "It's totally acceptable to love girls!" Rather than "we'll love you anyway," but it may be hacking. I have also "HUG HER !!!!" written in my notes in large capital letters. (In connection, I feel as if Kate had told Rebecca that she was a true violation of Tess's trust.)
  • During my first viewing, I thought the flash-up seemed to confirm that Randall and Beth were still together in the future, but after reviewing it, I guess they could also be just a divorced couple especially friendly.
  • In case you have forgotten this detail, like me: Pin the tail on the donkey is the game that the Big Three play each year on their common anniversaries, as shown by the episode of the first season "Three Sentences". I guess that means they're going to visit Rebecca on her birthday and they're recreating those memories for her.
  • And with that, That's us go on vacation. I'll see you here again on January 15th!

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