We've gotten to the point on This Is Us where we feel like we're watching it on a bed of eggshells.
After the hour long emotional gut punch that was the last episode, we spent tonight just waiting for the next shoe to drop—for someone to really break down about William's death, or for the truth about Jack's death to finally be revealed. Every step Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) took, or every time he got in the car, or every time he ate or drank, we feared that would be the step or the car ride or the drink that led to his death, and it turns out we were probably right to think that.
And then there were the things we didn't know we were waiting for, like that moment when Randall (Sterling K. Brown) described a dream in which Jack and William (Ron Cephas Jones) met, and shared a stories about Randall teaching or learning to drive. We're not sure we survived that scene, and in fact we're now writing this from beyond the grave. RIP us.
While, in the past, Jack grappled with Rebecca (Mandy Moore) being on tour, the present showed the entire family had a little party to honor William's death. He left a letter putting Randall's young daughters, Tess and Annie, in charge of the memorial. That meant the memorial was filled with balloons, pills that were really M&Ms, drinks with the same name as William's favorite pot strain, speeches on a kids' karaoke machine, and a walk around the neighborhood in "old man hats."
As if that weren't enough, Randall and Rebecca then had their moment as Rebecca explained why she kept William a secret for all those years. She kept planning to tell him, but got so scared that she would lose her son that she never actually went through with it.
Randall forgave her, and they made up.
Then, Kevin's (Justin Hartley) play went well, and afterwards, he and Sophie finally slept together, just before he got a call from Ron Howard, inviting him to be in a movie. Randall stopped by his office to quit his job and berate his coworkers for sending him a box of pears when his father died, and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) found a postcard from William after lamenting how she didn't get her personal goodbye moment with him. Everything was beautiful, even if a little complicated.
But at some point, we had to go back to Jack in the bar, a little drunk. He arranged to have his kids sleep over at their friends' house instead of just staying for the night, and told Kate over the phone that he was going to make up with Rebecca, in Cleveland, two hours away, just like she scolded him for not doing earlier. Cue him fumbling with his keys as he heads to his car, cue present-day Kate (Chrissy Metz) telling Toby (Chris Sullivan) that her dad's death was her fault, and then cue the promo, which shows that his car is full of beer cans, and tells us we're nearing a turning point in the story.
Of course, this could be a fake out, and there could be some big twist coming that gives Jack a much more righteous, heroic end, but something tells us this is really it: the right intentions, accompanied by the wrongest of decisions.
Next week's season finale is going to be brutal.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family.)