This Is Us Season 5 Finale Ends With a Surprising Twist, and We're Into It

This Is Us just threw us for a real loop with another flash forward at the end of the season five finale. Here's what we know heading into season six!

By Lauren Piester May 26, 2021 3:00 AMTags
Watch: "This Is Us" Ending After Season 6: Everything We Know

Well, consider our jaws all the way on the floor.

This Is Us just ended its fifth and penultimate season with one of the biggest twists in a while, and one that we certainly did not see coming from a mile away. Kevin (Justin Hartley) didn't get married this week, but someone else is about to!

We knew, thanks to a flash forward to 12 years in the future, that something was up with Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan). He appeared to be in a hotel room while Kate seemed to be elsewhere, and we just had a hunch that perhaps they were not together anymore. They weathered a texting scandal with Toby's Crossfit pal and dealt with unemployment, then in the latest episode, Toby revealed to Kate that he had gotten a job that would require him to be in San Francisco most of the time. 

Kate tried to quit her job by calling her boss, Phillip (Chris Geere), but he refused to let her go because apparently, Kate's good at her job and also sometimes funny. 

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That left Kate and Toby at a bit of a crossroads, and the flash forward at the end of the episode reveals where that crossroad takes them: Divorce!

Around five years in the future (based on Kevin saying that he's 45), Kate is getting remarried to none other than Phillip, and there's no Toby in sight. Reader, we screamed. Never have we been so excited for Kate Pearson story! Take us to midseason 2022 right now! 

Now, don't get us wrong, we have nothing against Toby or Kate, but together, they haven't been fun to watch since their early days. It makes sense that Kate might also find a second chance at love while thriving at her new job, though we've got a long way to go before we even get to that love story considering the fact that she and Toby are currently relatively happy together. Between this wedding, that family gathering at Rebecca's house and grown-up baby Jack and Hailey, there's a lot of ground to cover in the final season. 

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On a conference call with press, creator Dan Fogelman promised that "all of those timelines are going to be brought to completion and explained." 

"There will be no looming questions when we get through the end of next season," he said. "Everything will be resolved, and you can't always claim that 100 percent of your audience is going to like every single decision you make for the characters, but I don't think anything will be left on the table. So, all those locations you've been to, all those future timelines we've been to, they will all get resolutions." 

He also shared that the show will "heavily" live both in that wedding timeline and the family gathering by Rebecca's bedside, while still exploring all the other Pearson family moments that the show has already been exploring. 

"We have been working tirelessly to kind of set up this rewarding final season to make all the pieces fit together," he explained. "We know what we owe, we know what our plan is and that's been part of the great benefit of, from the very beginning, the early success of the show allowing us to kind of know our end game, has allowed us to build for what we hope will be a very rewarding final season." 

We also got a promise that we will finally be getting the full story of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel (Jon Huertas), meaning there are multiple second weddings on the horizon.

Other than the identity of Kate's future second husband, the finale flash forward revealed several other important things. Nicky (Griffin Dunne) is married by then, and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is a "Rising Star." We don't know what he's a rising star in, but it's enough to get him a write up in a fancy magazine (New York Magazine? Vanity Fair?) with that headline. We're assuming politician, but Kevin's got a Hollywood in, so who knows?

Of course, the flash forward was only a brief blip at the end of an episode that was supposed to be a happy celebration of Kevin and Madison's (Caitlin Thompson) love. The only problem was that Madison loved Kevin, but Kevin loved "their family." She called off the wedding just a couple of hours before it was supposed to happen. But, in happy news for those of us who were really rooting for that couple (and still are), they seem to at least be in a very good, friendly and possibly even flirty place by the time Kate marries Phillip. 

We checked carefully to see if either of them was wearing a wedding ring, but their left hands were carefully hidden through all of their scenes. (Darn you, Fogelman!) 

"I think the main takeaway should be, yes, despite the heartbreak of that beautiful scene between them and the unusual breakup between them, clearly something is very right with them in that future timeline at the end of the episode. To go beyond that, I can't say," Fogelman teased of their interaction. "We have our plan, and we've had it for quite some time. And so, outside of reading into, you're not wrong in reading into, like, there's genuine affection, or maybe something more there, but outside of that, it's for next season to reveal." 

As for Randall's rising star, Fogelman couldn't say much, but he did say that they've had a plan "for a while" and have been preparing for the story with "slight indications" of Randall's profile growing both locally and nationally. (Never forget the accidental strip tease that went viral!) 

It sounds like nearly everything that was set up in this finale has been the plan for a long time, and we're about to finally see what kind of trees are going to grow out of all the seeds the This Is Us team has been planting. To get a taste of some of what's to come, here's everything we know about the various futures on This Is Us, so far. 

Kevin's Son

We knew about Kevin's middle-school-aged son since we saw him as the family gathered for Rebecca, and as of season five, we know his name: Nicholas!

Kevin's Daughter

Kevin's daughter was a surprise from the season four finale, since Madison revealed she was pregnant with twins. Her name is Frances. 

Kevin's House

We saw Kevin rediscover a sketch his dad had made of the house he wanted to build, and now we know he had that house built on the hill next to the family cabin. 

Brothers Again

By the time this family gathering takes place 12 years after the birthday party at the cabin, Kevin and Randall have apparently mended their rift. We saw them work through their issues in season five, so it's nice to see that they can still be in the same room together.

Randall and Beth

Despite some questions about whether Randall and Beth's marriage might make it, they're still happily together in the future, which is good to know. 

Toby's Alone

He says when he arrives at Kevin's house that he talked to Jack, and "they're on their way." We assume that "they" includes Kate, but we don't know, since there's no mention of her. Kate is one of the few who has not yet appeared in this future story yet (along with Miguel). 

Nicky's in the Picture

Nicky plays a significant role in the family by the time they all gather in Kevin's house in the future. He's sitting by Rebecca's bedside, and Randall asked about him when he arrived at the house. He is also wearing a wedding ring. 

Rebecca's Not Well

By 12 years in the future, Rebecca's health seems to have deteriorated. Randall has to reintroduce himself when he visits her.

Kevin Looks Great

This is what Kevin looks like in the future. That's all. 

Meet Jack Damon

Kate and Toby's son Jack grows up to be a successful singer. In the latest flashforward, he and his wife Lucy have just had a new baby named Hope. 

Meet Hailey Damon

The season four finale revealed that Kate and Toby were adopting a daughter, revealed to be played in the future by Adelaide Kane. Her name is Hailey, she works at an art gallery, and she dropped everything to be there to visit her brother's new baby in the hospital. 

Randall's Daughters

The season five episode "The Ride" finally introduced adult Deja (La Trice Harper) and adult Annie (Iyana Hailey) and brought all of Randall and Beth's daughters together for the first time in the future. We learned that at the time of this gathering around Rebecca's bedside, Deja is studying to be a doctor and is secretly pregnant, and she and Annie are close enough for Annie to be one of the few who knows. Annie also seems to know a lot about babies! 

This Is Us airs on NBC.

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