It's been a long time, but the Pearsons will soon be back on our screens!
This Is Us fans have been waiting since mid-March 2020 to learn what's going to happen next in the rift between Kevin and Randall, whether Toby and Kate will overcome their marital difficultles, and how Rebecca's treatment for dementia will progress.
Our TV Fanatics Jack Ori, Christine Orlando, and Carissa Pavlica got together ahead of This Is Us Season 5 Episode 1 to talk about our hopes for the new season, our sadness over this being the penultimate season, and more.
What do we most hope happens on This Is Us Season 5?
Christine: I'm dying to see how Rebecca and Miguel first got together! I've been waiting for this story for the last three seasons, and it hasn't happened yet. I'm hoping This Is Us Season 5 is the season.
Jack: Oh, yes! I hope we get a lot more of Miguel too. I feel like he's always in the background, and he shouldn't be.
Carissa; I have no faith that we'll ever see more about Rebecca and Miguel. I'm ready for Kevin and Randall to put the past behind them.
Will This Is Us REALLY depict more of Rebecca and Miguel's relationship? Should they?
Carissa: It just doesn't feel like he was ever intended to be a large part of the story. I mean, how the heck are viewers supposed to embrace Miguel when they never stop hearing about how great Jack was?
Jack: Yeah Miguel is always in Jack's shadow. But with Rebecca's cognitive decline it seems like he'll be playing a bigger role.
Christine: But there's a great back story for Miguel and Rebecca that we've never seen, and I'll feel cheated if we don't get to. If the Big Three treat Miguel the way they do now, I can only imagine how bad it was when Miguel and Rebecca first got together.
Carissa: I kept thinking we'd get to meet his kids. Guess not.
Jack: That could be interesting. I wonder if the Big Three all took the same side when Miguel first came into the picture.
Carissa: There is a whole other side of their blended family we've never visited.
Jack: That's true too, Carissa. This Is Us is really missing an opportunity by not addressing Miguel's family.
Christine: They had that one Thanksgiving with Miguel's kids, and it was horrible. It feels like the guy can't catch a break, and yet he seems to be a wonderful spouse to Rebecca.
Carissa: He certainly gets the shaft, so that must speak to his feelings for Rebecca to have stuck around so long.
Christine: Even now, it feels like the Big Three think their mother should have remained frozen in time after Jack died.
Carissa: Kevin's allowing Rebecca to breathe. Maybe with fatherhood on the horizon, we'll see a different side of him that'll allow all the kids to embrace Miguel and his family.
What are our thoughts about Kevin becoming a father?
Christine: I'm looking forward to seeing the family's reaction to Kevin and Madison's pregnancy news.
Jack: It does seem like Kevin was growing up a bit during This Is Us Season 4. His relationship with Nicky helped.
Speaking of which, Nicky mostly disappeared during the second half of This Is Us Season 4. Do we want to see more of him?
Christine: I'm not sure. I like Nicky, but it's difficult to see how he fits in with the family right now.
Jack: I really liked Nicky's sobriety story and his willingness to go to Thanksgiving with the Pearsons. I missed him when he was gone, but I don't know what to do with him either.
Carissa: Well, he's around as Rebecca begins to die. It seems like they got close. Maybe Miguel is getting that shaft too, and she turns to Jack's brother closer to the end.
Christine: Yes, I was surprised that Miguel wasn't in any of those flash forward scenes, but then again, the show does like to play with our perceptions of what's to come.
Jack: LOL Carissa. It could be. Though I have long wondered if Rebecca has a dementia-related belief that Nicky is Jack at the end. That's true too Christine. They are so good at misdirection and omitting aspects of the flash forwards.
Carissa: That has crossed my mind, too, Jack, except I don't know why he'd necessarily care.
What other thoughts do we have about that final flash forward?
Carissa: We still don't know where Kate is that day either, do we?
Jack: No, we still don't. I hope we get some more insight into that this season.
Christine: She could be on her way, dead, or anything in between.
Speaking of Randall, is Beth too accepting of Randall's behavior?
Carissa: On the This Is Us Season 5 trailer, Beth was coddling Randall. I don't feel good about that.
Christine: Yes, I think sometimes Beth enables Randall's control issues. Everything has to be Randall's way. We saw that with him and Beth throughout This Is Us Season 3.
Jack: I think so too. Beth respects that Randall has anxiety issues, but I feel like she's too willing to back off him when he needs to be called out because of it.
Christine: Everyone makes compromises in a marriage, but I think Beth compromises too much, whereas Randall doesn't bend.
Jack: It really does seem like Beth does all the compromising.
Carissa: Sterling K. Brown gets all the long, Emmy-worthy arcs, but I'd like Randall to move beyond anxiety-ridden whiner.
Christine: He wanted to bring his dying father home, so he did and never discussed it with Beth. He wanted to adopt, so they did, although Beth got him to consider fostering an older child. He quit his job and expected Beth to pick up the slack, which she did.
He wanted to buy his father's old building, so they did. He wanted to run for city council in a place hours away from where they live, so he did. And Beth supported him through all of it.
Beth says she wants to follow her dream of being a dance instructor, and Randall's reaction is to tell her it's not the time. I could have smacked him.
Jack: Christine, I did too! This was the first time Beth put herself first, and Randall was undoing it.
Christine: And Beth was the one to figure out that moving to Philly was the best way to keep the family together, not Randall. Randall's priority frequently seems to be what Randall wants, and everyone else is supposed to fall in line, i.e., Rebecca's treatment.
Carissa: He's a control freak of the highest order. Those people aren't easy to have in your life.
Jack: I was so mad when Rebecca decided against the clinical trial, and Randall manipulated her into it. She wasn't so far gone at that point that she couldn't know what treatment she wanted or didn't want.
It was insulting to suggest she was already that incompetent when it was just Randall wanting Randall's way.
Carissa: And you could see on her face that she was doing it to appease him. That he's blind to it is the real scary part.
Jack: Exactly, Carissa! He's just doing what he thinks is best and that he "convinced" Rebecca when he really just manipulated her.
Christine: And Randall acted like she owed him! Like he had nothing but take care of her since Jack's death, and now, she needed to appease him.
But Kevin's the only one to call him out on that. Why not Miguel? He's Rebecca's husband for goodness sake!
Jack: I did like how Miguel stood up to Randall when he came to LA for Rebecca's evaluation. I want to see more of that, and he should have his say about Rebecca's abrupt about-face regarding treatment too.
Speaking of Kevin, how quickly should he and Randall reconcile?
Jack: I don't want Kevin to do all the apologizing. Randall needs to acknowledge what a controlling ass he's been lately.
Christine: I hope Kevin and Randall don't reconnect immediately because that wouldn't be realistic. The things they said to one another won't soon be forgotten.
Carissa: I don't care if they don't reconnect. The future sure made it seem like the rift goes on for a long time. But if they're not meant to be brotherly, then allow that to be the story, messy as it is.
Let's talk more about Kevin. It doesn't seem like he gets the recognition he deserves.
Carissa: It's easy to see why Kevin feels the way he does about the "damage" Randall has done to his life, to the lives of the Pearsons. It's collective. And Rebecca coddled him from the moment they adopted him just like Jack doted on Kate. Poor Kevin.
Jack: Kevin is the forgotten child. The middle child, even though they're all the same age.
Carissa: Kevin has had an actual arc of growth. He was considered fluff to start because he's hot and handsome, but he's a genuinely good person, something that was clear from the onset. I still remember him talking to Randall's kids about the painting of life.
Christine: Yes, everyone just always assumed that Kevin would be fine because he was the easy going, most likable kid.
Jack: I love Kevin's relationship with Tess. I hope that this rift with Randall won't result in a rift with Randall's kids.
Carissa: It seems like his kids are grown enough and have seen enough from both parents that they wouldn't allow that to happen.
Christine: I'm hoping we get some flash forwards of Kevin with his own kids because I think he'll be a fantastic dad.
Jack: Me too Christine! I'm so curious to know more about Kevin's family.
Carissa: He's a fantastic uncle, so there's no reason to believe he won't be a fantastic dad.
Does anyone think Kate and Toby's marriage will go the distance?
Jack: I have my doubts about that. There are so many cracks in their foundation, and Toby is in the final flash forward and so far Kate isn't.
Christine: When it comes to baby Jack, Kate seems to suffer from a bit of Randall's control issues. If Toby doesn't see it her way, then he's wrong.
Carissa: I don't. I'm still not a giant Kate fan, although she grew on me last season. Watching Toby's reaction to Kevin's visit in the sneak peek clip is so cute, so I still think he's too good for her.
Jack: Toby and Kate really never seem to be on the same page about raising a child with a disability. I don't know that that's solveable, and then you add in Kate turning to her neighbor instead all the time and you have a recipe for a marriage implosion.
Christine: Toby took more time to come to terms with baby Jack's blindness, but I don't think that's unusual or unforgivable, but it felt like Kate poured on the guilt instead of trying to be understanding and help him see the possibilities of Jack's future.
Partners don't have to agree, but if they stop trying to see the other's point of view, then they're pretty much doomed.
Jack: Yeah I think Kate was way too impatient and wanted Toby to be where she was with baby Jack right away. And then there was a total lack of communication with each other on both their parts too.
Carissa: Toby was afraid, not only of what it meant, but he was worried that he would react as he did, and when he actually questioned his love for his son, it just compounded.
Christine: And they both started talking to other people, Kate to the neighbor and Toby to the girl at the gym, and that's a recipe for disaster.
Carissa: But being pressured to feel often has the opposite effect than what was intended.
Jack: Exactly Christine! I think it was Beth who told them in the finale they need to talk to each other. Whoever it was, I cheered.
How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will change things for the Pearsons?
Carissa: Well, everyone will have been quarantined for a while when we get back to them. That can change anything.
Christine: Maybe Toby and Kate will learn from all this, but it's difficult to tell right now.
Jack: true. Though the question is whether all that time together has made things worse or better.
Carissa: Yep. It will probably be different for everyone.
What do we hope to see in some of the flashback stories this season? We already talked about Miguel. What else?
Christine: I keep thinking I'm done with the flashbacks, but then they pull something off like Rebecca's time in NYC, and I enjoy them.
Jack: I'm curious about seeing more of the aftermath of the Marc/Kate situation. I'm not convinced that Rebecca running him off was the end of it, and Kate certainly would have been affected by what happened regardless.
Carissa: It seems like a lot of Rebecca's scenes will be in flashback as her moments of lucidity come and go.
Christine: Like I said, I want flashbacks of when Rebecca and Miguel's romance started. That's top on my list.
How do you feel about Rebecca's cognitive decline storyline?
Jack: The dementia story is so painfully realistic. My grandfather had vascular dementia, and this really hits home. I'm both looking forward and not to seeing that story develop.
Christine: My grandfather had Alzheimer's. It's like watching the person you love slowly die while they're still physically there. It really is heartbreaking.
Getting back to Kate and Marc, do you think that's what spurred her food addiction?
Carissa: I have to wonder if that is what made her turn to food for comfort.
Jack: Me too. She was always chubby, but obviously, at some point, she became an emotional eater.
Christine: Kevin brought up Kate's food addiction when he was in rehab, but it was like no one wanted to acknowledge it. Rebecca could barely acknowledge Jack's alcoholism.
Jack: Yeah, I feel like people are so much more familiar with alcoholism. Food addiction isn't as well known.
Christine: But I've seen that a lot in my own family. If someone isn't falling down drunk, then it's no longer a problem.
And food addiction is difficult because you still have to eat, whereas you can survive without alcohol.
Carissa: And yet food addiction is so much harder to fight because everyone HAS to eat. You don't have to drink to live, but fighting bad eating habits when you cannot quit cold turkey, is tough
Dang it, Christine!
Jack: I third those thoughts. LOL
How are we feeling about This Is Us only having two more seasons?
Carissa: Frankly, we're running out of time. Aren't they over and out at the end of Season 6? The scope of the series is so vast, even including Kate's Jack as an adult music sensation. It's hard to imagine how they'll cover all the ground satisfactorily, which is why I suspect Miguel is off the table.
Christine: It is a lot to pack into two more seasons.
Jack: Yeah, I always got the sense that This is Us is planned more like a novel than most TV shows... like the showrunners have a definite beginning, middle and end... and I have no idea how they're going to get everything in in only two seasons.
I wonder if they might do a spinoff about the next generation after This Is Us wraps up. Since the Big Three all have kids that might be interesting.
Christine: I've wondered if there will be a spin off as well, considering they're capping this at season 6.
Carissa: And they'll rename This Is Us after the fact, "That Was Them." Haha
Any last thoughts before we wrap this up?
Carissa: I'm willing to go wherever this show takes me.
Christine: I'm so excited to get some new TV, and that it's This Is Us is a real perk.
Jack: I am so excited This Is Us is back. I've been counting down the days since they announced the premiere date.
It's your turn, This Is Us fanatics!
What are you most hoping for during This Is Us Season 5?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button, and let us know your thoughts!
Want to catch up before This Is Us returns?
You can watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic!
This Is Us continues to air on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST. The two-hour season premiere airs on October 27, 2020.