‘This Is Us’ Recap: Here’s Where We Left Off Ahead of Season 5

The Pearsons return Tuesday with a two-hour premiere featuring the Big Three’s 40th birthday

This Is Us - Season 4
Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

After a longer-than-usual wait between seasons, fans will finally reunite with the Pearson clan when the fifth season of “This Is Us” premieres tonight on NBC. And because of that longer-than-usual wait, we’re willing to bet that even the biggest Big Three lovers might not remember exactly where we left America’s favorite family when the Season 4 finale aired back in March.

Don’t worry, TheWrap is here to remind you about what’s going on with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel (Jon Huertas). Sorry, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), we’re not recapping the past in this post.

Speaking of jumping around in decades, we also have two different storylines set in the future to follow, so there’s a lot to keep track of on “This Is Us” heading into Season 5, which will begin with the Big Three’s 40th birthday and will be including real-life events like the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.

Here’s what you need to remember about the “This Is Us” fourth-season finale.

We’ll start with Kevin, who had a lot going on when we left him back in March. Had an enormous fight with Randall in which he told his adopted brother that the worst day of his life was the day his parents brought Randall home. This blowup happened because Kevin and Randall deeply disagree on what is best for their mother, Rebecca, in light of the news that she’s probably in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Randall wanted his mother to go to a clinical trial in St. Louis, she agreed, then changed her mind after she spent a day with Kevin and decided she wanted to stay near her family. She then switched her choice back to the clinical trial after Randall called and begged her to reconsider. When Kevin found out that Randall had gone behind his back and asked their mom to do the clinical trial, he was enraged.

The fight happened on Kate and Toby’s lawn after their first-birthday party for their son, Jack Jr. So after Randall stormed off, Kevin got some big news from Kate’s friend Madison (Caitlin Thompson) following their one-night stand: She is pregnant with his twins. Kevin said he would stand by her and that his children would be the “love” of his life. If you don’t remember, a flash-forward to the Big Three’s 40th birthday that happened at the end of the Thanksgiving episode in Season 4 showed Kevin was at the cabin with Rebecca, Miguel, Kate and Toby — and referenced his pregnant fiancee. But we didn’t get official confirmation whether that’s Madison in the Season 4 finale. (Though this promo suggests it definitely is.)

“The question as to who Kevin’s fiancee is at the birthday party. That’s been part of Kevin’s romantic question and I don’t know if there’s any immediate answer coming to all of that,” “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman told reporters in March. “I think there’s many more chapters in Kevin’s romantic story… Kevin has a journey ahead of him and I don’t want to get too far ahead of it just yet.”

Kate and Toby
As we said above, Kate and Toby were hosting the whole family at their house for baby Jack’s first birthday. After the party was over, the two went to the hospital where Jack was born and started talking about the idea of having another child. They both know the risks to Kate, so their conversation was about adopting a sibling for Jack. By the time the visit was over, they were still interested in the idea and we got some pretty solid confirmation that they decide to go through with it. More on that below.

Randall and Beth
After going through an incredibly emotional time at home in Philadelphia following a home invasion and Randall’s attempt to begin to heal a lot of old wounds through therapy, Randall, Beth and the girls headed out to California to attend baby Jack’s birthday. See above for the crazy fight that ensued between Randall and Kevin at the end of that party.

From what we’ve learned about Season 5 so far through the trailer, Randall and Beth and their children will be talking about police brutality against Black people and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more.

Present Day Rebecca
In the present day, Rebecca has decided to attend the clinical trial in St. Louis that Randall thinks will help her following the news that she might be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This reversal of her previous position, as we said before, did not go over well with Kevin. We know from that flash-forward to the Big Three’s 40th birthday that Rebecca and Miguel are with Kate, Toby, Kevin and Kevin’s fiancee at the cabin, so we’re not sure how her going to that trial, which was supposed to be for nine months, worked out.

“It’s going to be, obviously, a challenging chapter for Rebecca moving forward,” Fogelman said in March. “We have a big storyline planned for Mandy next season in present day as an older woman and also her whole past timelines.”

The future
The Season 4 finale ended with a jump to that flash-forward “This Is Us” fans know all too well at this point: a time when a much older Rebecca is lying in bed in Kevin’s house, apparently suffering from Alzheimer’s, and her family is gathering to visit her. The new information we picked up from this particular flash-forward scene was that Kevin — who has his young twins by his side — and his uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) are both married at this point. But we obviously don’t know who their wives are yet. And Fogelman won’t confirm if we’ve already met either one yet.

“I’m frozen like a presidential candidate, how do I answer that question?” the “This Is Us” boss told TheWrap in March, when we asked if fans have already seen either Kevin or Nick’s wives. “I don’t think I can answer that question, ’cause either answer would give too much away. I can safely- nope, can’t answer that! Because if I say yes, it pins us on both. If I say no, it pins us on both — so it would spoil some of the fun moving forward.”

OK, we let Dan off the hook for that one, but followed up asking if we can at least expect to see a “future” version of a character that has yet to be introduced in that particular flash-forward, like Kate or Miguel, by Rebecca’s bedside in the Season 5 premiere.

“Not necessarily, although I won’t rule it out,” he said. “But there is gonna be something big in the season premiere… in terms of something else *that* major, but not necessarily that.”

The distant future
A good portion of the Season 4 finale was devoted to the way off future, the furthest point we’ve been to with the Pearson family, where Kate and Toby’s son, Jack Jr. (Blake Stadnik), and Lucy (Auden Thornton) are awaiting the birth of their baby girl Hope. That jump to the distant future also came with the reveal that Jack has a sister, played by Adelaide Kane, who comes to visit her newborn niece. There are still a lot of questions about whether or not Kate and Toby are still together in the older-Rebecca time period, given the fact we have only seen Toby alone, awaiting the separate arrival of Kate and Jack Jr. at Kevin’s house where the family is gathering to be with Rebecca — but this introduction of Jack Jr.’s sister seems to indicate that they did go through with adopting another child.

“We really loved the actress we found to play the daughter [Adelaide Kane] and obviously we’ve really loved Blake playing Jack,” Fogelman said. “So our hope is to make people become invested in those future storylines by getting to those characters slowly, as we’ve done, so that by the time you’re really landing in full stories with them, if we do, really, you feel that great investment.”

“This Is Us” Season 5 kicks off with a two-hour premiere Tuesday at 9/8c on NBC.


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