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The This Is Us Creator Explains Why He Wanted Rebecca to Be Waiting for Kate

"I've always been so enamored with the relationship between Kate and Rebecca," show creator Dan Fogelman says.

Randall Kate And Kevin With Rebecca

Now that the gut-wrenching second-to-last episode of This Is Us is behind us, fans are readying themselves for the show's series finale on May 24. And according to series creator Dan Fogelman, audiences will be in for a slightly less devastating punctuation to the Pearson family’s story (compared to the penultimate, that is). 

“I'm really proud of it [the finale],” Fogelman told People in a recent interview. “I think our cast and crew and writers and everybody that works on the show put together a very confident finale that was long-gestating and long-planned. It's very simple.”

He later added, “I think this show hopefully will leave people with the feeling that, of course, has a little bit of melancholy in it, because it's about loss and time, but it's also something beautiful that I think is captured and said at the end of it all, and I hope it speaks to people who have stuck with the show for six years" 

Fogelman also answered some questions about that heart-wrenching penultimate episode—including why Kate (Chrissy Metz) was specifically chosen as the child Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was holding on for to say goodbye. (In Season 6, Episode 17, Rebecca is on her deathbed, and Kate is rushing home from a trip to London to be by her side. In Rebecca's mind, approaching death is visualized by a moving train—and before she reaches the caboose, she needs to hear Kate's voice.) 

"I've always been so enamored with the relationship between Kate and Rebecca, this mother-daughter dynamic that is equal parts fraught and complicated, and in the later years of their lives, really incredibly beautiful and simple," Fogelman told People. "I always thought Kate would have to race to get there in time, because she has taken the steps in her life, based off the advice from her mother, to spread her wings and fly. That very advice has taken her out of the room when her mother is about to pass. I thought that was just a really simple story that doesn't even need to be spoken about to see it. She's off doing something big and fantastic and fabulous that was spurred on by her mother's 'Go live your life to the fullest' speech, and now that very thing may prevent her from being at her mother's bedside as she passes. And then the fact that in our story, her mother is able to hold on until she gets there, it felt like a full-circle realization of their entire relationship." 

As for why we didn't get to see everyone's goodbyes to Rebecca—only a few were shown—Fogelman says, “I just realized it was going to create a giant mess for me of what to put into the television show. So we chose a couple of targeted people." 

The series finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday May 24th at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. That's when we all will say goodbye.

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