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Few shows know how to send us into a sobbing fit like NBC's This Is Us. Even though the show is over, viewers are still unpacking the meaningful lessons learned from the resilient Pearson family. Here's a look back at some of the most emotional moments of This Is Us.
1. Randall's adoption
Viewers went into the pilot episode of This Is Us with no idea how deep the show would go. The first gut-wrenching moment came when Rebecca (Mandy Moore) lost one of the triplets during labor. This devastating blow coincided with Randall's birth and subsequent abandonment, which led Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to convince his wife to adopt him. Little did Jack know just how much this decision would impact their story.
2. The breakup
The depth and sincerity of Jack and Rebecca's relationship is the foundation on which This Is Us is built. Series creator Dan Fogelman is an expert at presenting the extreme highs and lows of relationships side-by-side with immense clarity. In Season 1, Episode 18, "Moonshadow," we see the cracks in Rebecca and Jack's relationship when Jack drunkenly ruins Rebecca's singing career moments before she takes the stage. The horrific altercation ends with the couple temporarily parting ways. Thankfully, it was just temporary
3. Jack's death
Season 2, Episode 13, “That’ll Be The Day” and Episode 14, “Super Bowl Sunday,” reveal the crushing moments that change the Pearson family forever. Even though we know Jack's death is coming, watching the devastating events unfold is beyond unsettling. The house fire that kills the Pearson family patriarch is started by a faulty slow cooker, and although he initially makes it out alive, Jack later passes away at the hospital due to complications from smoke inhalation. Prepare to sob.
4. Kevin entering rehab
Kevin's (Justin Hartley) decision to finally enter an in-patient rehabilitation program wasn't an easy one. However, Season 2, Episode 5, "The Fifth Wheel," ups the ante even more, when the whole family joins him for a group therapy session where the Big Three release a lifetime of complex and messy emotions they've held inside.
5. Randall's breakdown
As a product of adoption, Randall's (Sterling K. Brown) struggle to understand where he comes from is one of the most beautiful story arcs ever. That said, his beautiful moments of self-discovery are framed by all-time lows, and Season 1, Episode 15 “Jack Pearson’s Son,” lays bare Randall's rock bottom. His marriage is on the rocks, his work life is pushing him to the brink, and his biological father is dying—needless to say, he is going through a lot. The tension between Randall and Kevin also reaches a boiling point, which makes the scene where Kevin leaves his Broadway performance to support Randall such a powerful moment.
6. Deja's goodbye
The role reversal of Randall becoming an adoptive parent to Deja was a full-circle moment. Finally, he understood the position his parents were in, and why doing the "right" thing isn't always black and white. So, when Deja's mom shows up and announces she will be fighting for custody of her daughter, the emotional tension was at an all-time high. Deja's goodbye in Season 2, Episode 10 ("Number Three") is too much.
7. William's death
After Randall finally starts building a relationship with his biological father, William, their time together is cut short due to William's terminal cancer. In Season 1, Episode 16, "Memphis," Randall is forced to confront the unbelievable grief of his father's passing.
8. Rebecca's cognitive decline
As the glue that holds the Pearson family together, no one was prepared for Rebecca's cognitive decline. In Season 4, Episode 15, "Clouds," Rebecca's Alzheimer's diagnosis is made official, and it is one of the most crushing moments in the history of the show.
9. The Katoby breakup
It was so heartwarming to watch Kate build a relationship with Toby (Chris Sullivan), someone who loved her unconditionally. However, as Kate and Toby settle into married life, it's clear there are some riffs they might not be able to make it through. Season 6, Episode 11, "Saturday in the Park," tells the story of their toddler Jack running away and the vicious fight that marks the end for Katoby.
10. Rebecca's death
Once Rebecca receives an Alzheimer's diagnosis, it's clear the conclusion to This Is Us was going to be rough. Although Rebecca's death was devastating, the dream sequences in Season 6, Episode 17, "The Train," offered stunningly poignant moments of reflection as the family says their goodbyes.
Watch every episode of This Is Us on NBC.
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