This Is Us viewers need a break, even after a three-week hiatus due to the Olympics. Fans of the hit NBC drama may even be able to put away the tissues for the next few weeks — unless they are crying tears of joy, that is. In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, This Is Us executive producer Isaac Apatker said after back-to-back gut-wrenching episodes that detailed Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) tragic death and funeral, it was time for the show to return with “something a bit lighter and a bit more celebratory.”
Tuesday’s This Is Us episode, titled “Vegas, Baby,” will have the Pearsons heading to Las Vegas for Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) joint bachelor and bachelorette party. Aptaker told THR things will even get “a little crazy” in Vegas. The This Is Us EP explained that while the Pearson family dynamics could take things to a serious place for part of the episode, overall there’s a lightheartedness to it “as Toby gets ready to “bro down” with Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) for the Vegas weekend, while Kate becomes a bit anxious about spending the weekend with her sister-in-law Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) because they aren’t very close.
In a flashback storyline, the 10-year-old Big Three will plan an anniversary party for their parents. Photos from the episode also show a pre-Big Three Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) celebrating at a bowling alley. Aptaker said producers felt they needed to step away from the Jack death storyline for a bit, so they headed to the late 1980s time period for “Vegas, Baby.”
The This Is Us EP explained, “We’re doing a fun, romantic story set in the 10-year-old time period all about celebrating Jack and Rebecca’s wedding anniversary and what happens when our little Big Three decide to jump in and try to throw them an anniversary party for the ages — which of course never goes well when it’s being spearheaded by a few elementary school kids.”
One week after the “Vegas, Baby” episode, This Is Us viewers will get the backstory on Randall and Beth’s foster daughter, Déjà (Lyric Ross), as the show explores her life before she landed at the Pearsons’ home. The episode is titled “This Big, Amazing Beautiful Life.”
And for the Season 2 finale, This Is Us fans will finally see Kate and Toby walk down the aisle as the Pearson clan gathers at the Pearson family cabin for the couple’s long-awaited wedding. Viewers may recall the last time the adult Big Three went to the cabin, Randall hallucinated and “saw” his dad outside on a ladder. Fans may see a similar “hallucination” in the This Is Us finale. PopSugar posted leaked photos from the This Is Us season finale that show Milo Ventimiglia with gray hair and prosthetics as he embraces an elderly Rebecca. Many fans believe the scene is a dream sequence set at Kate’s wedding where she doesn’t have her father to give her away.
The final three episodes of the show will also include more flashbacks to Jack’s past, including his time in Vietnam, and Aptaker also teased more flash-forward scenes in the future. While This Is Us is known for its flashback format, the show recently gave a jump ahead to the future with a scene featuring a 50-something Randall and his adult daughter Tess.
Although the Pearsons are still trying to find closure on their relationship with Jack 20 years after his death, the This Is Us producer teased lighter storylines that will take the second season out on a high note.
“There’s a couple moments at the end of the [finale] that are definitely whoa moments that I can’t talk about at all, unfortunately, but are going to get people very excited for what’s next,” he said.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman agreed that This Is Us fans have been through the wringer and that it was time to go out on a lighter note.
“We wanted to live in a regular episode of the series and show you, ‘Here’s how the show could exist as it did before and be really fulfilling — hopefully also have some lightness and some fun.’ We feel like fans almost deserve a break because it’s been really heavy,” the This Is Us showrunner said.
“We’re building towards a wedding, presumably.”
As for that season finale episode, Fogelman said things will culminate with “a big, moving family event, which would presumably be Kate’s wedding.”
If you think Fogelman’s use of the word “presumably” twice in one interview is surprising, remember this is This Is Us he is talking about — which means nothing should ever be presumed.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.