THIS IS US: “Moonshadow” Marks the End of a Masterful First Season

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This Is Us brought its remarkable first season to an end this week with another solid episode. Join Melissa and Ange as they discuss this intense hour and reflect on the season as a whole.

Melissa: The final episode of the season focused on Jack and Rebecca – their coming together in the beginning and, perhaps, the beginning of them coming apart. I have to admit, I was getting worried about the state of their relationship until Jack delivered one of his trademark amazing monologues about why he loves Rebecca. Did you wonder for a minute if they were actually still together when Jack died?

Ange: Yowch, talk about being put through the wringer – that fight scene was harsh and definitely had me concerned and wondering ‘oh no, what if they were separated when Jack died?’ Up until that point I had assumed that they were together when he passed. I’m glad we got that end scene though. Jack’s monologue restored my faith that this was just a bump in the road for them and one that they overcame. (Side note, that line, “You’re not just my great love story, Rebecca, you are my big break,” broke me. I was ready not to cry in this episode and then that happened and opened the floodgates, or at least the tear ducts.)

Melissa: That line was classic Jack, and it left me hopeful for their marriage. That fight tho! That was some world-class acting. When they were yelling over each other, the way the camera was right up in the action, it felt like we were in it with them.

Ange: Like I said: Yowch! It hurt to watch and they sure weren’t holding back. It was intense! Milo and Mandy absolutely slayed it – Mandy is totally my pick for Woman of the Week FYI. And you’re right, it felt like were right there with them. It was real. In that moment, I forgot that they were characters on a TV show; to me they were real people having a real life fight.

Melissa: Agreed on Mandy Moore as Woman of the Week. She is giving the performance of her career as Rebecca. What do you think about the backstory we got on each of them? Jack’s dark night of the soul did not go the direction I expected. A robbery attempt? Jack. You’re better than that. Good thing Rebecca ditched Mr. “mergers and acquisitions are my passion” to hit up open mic night!

Ange: I was surprised that so much of this episode was focused on Jack and Rebecca and that we actually didn’t see any of the present this week until the montage at the end. I’m not sure how I felt about that. I know we had the William and Randall centric episode a few weeks before and maybe that’s why it surprised me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting that but then again that’s basically what this show does – whip out the unexpected. Back to your question though, I do like that we got a bit more backstory and even went back to before they met – totally weirded me out seeing a baby-faced Jack/Milo though, haha! It was sweet seeing how they finally met and I’m glad Rebecca ended up being the light that saved him from a potentially dark path.

Melissa: Let’s talk about this episode in the context of a season finale. It wasn’t “shock and awe” like so many shows produce, but it did set up some significant changes for season 2. We have the question of how Jack and Rebecca return to each other; Kate deciding to go after her dream to be a singer; Kevin meeting with Ron Howard; and Randall telling Beth he wants to adopt a baby. Okay, that last one is kind of a bombshell. But overall I thought this was just another solid episode in a masterful first season.

Ange: Initially when the episode ended (and once I rubbed away my tears), I was like “that’s it?”, but when I stepped back and looked at the episode as a whole, I liked that they didn’t have a massive cliffhanger (besides that fight scene and the temporary separation of Jack and Rebecca was enough to put my feelings through the wringer this week!) and they revealed enough to have set up storylines for next season with The Big Three. So agree, a solid ending to a masterful first season.

Melissa: Any final thoughts about this first season? I mean, obviously they should be up for all the awards. Duh. But are you on board for season 2? Do you have an MVP for the season as a whole? Is there a particular storyline or character you’re eager to see next season?

Ange: Brilliant, amazing, and yes please give them all the awards! They’ve set the bar high for TV and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for season 2 for everyone. Picking a MVP is way too tough – there is no weakest link in this cast, but I’d also like to acknowledge the writers and creative team too. Let’s just make everyone involved with the show MVPs!

Melissa: I feel like every performer – even the supporting actors – had an opportunity to shine at some point this season. That speaks to a level of trust in the writers, producers, directors, and fellow performers allowing them to give their best. Looking forward to season 2!

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