This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16 Review: The Adirondacks

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I was hoping this wouldn't happen.

Many fans predicted that Madison would call off the wedding, but I didn't think This Is Us would tease an epic ceremony just for it to be aborted.

But that's exactly what happened on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16, and then it was followed up by the most bizarre flash-forward yet.

Practicin.g Her Vows - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

The whole hour seemed like it was dedicated to conversations that should have happened a long time before they did.

A couple of hours before the ceremony wasn't the time for Tess to declare she hated her dress or Rebecca to insist on a heart-to-heart with Randall about the past. And it DEFINITELY wasn't an appropriate time for Madison to question Kevin's love for her and call the whole thing off!

Randall: Last week you were all Jerry McGuire. You good now?
Kevin: I know my entire romantic life has been an exercise in self-destruction, but not today. I'm good.

I wasn't even Team Kevin and Madison before This Is Us Season 5, but now I'm beyond aggravated that the wedding didn't happen.

Rehearsing for The Big Day - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

It was so cliche and more worthy of a soap opera than a realistic family drama.

And the saddest thing was that I think Kevin is in love with Madison but he wasn't expressing it in the way she wanted.

He said she was amazing, and he loved what they were building together. Saying he loves her AND the kids is not the same thing as saying he doesn't love her and is only with her because of the kids!

And Randall talked Kevin off this same ledge at the bachelor party so why didn't Madison bring up all these concerns at her own party instead of waiting until right before the wedding?

Deja Isn't Happy - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

I felt like this all stemmed from her horrendous past, especially her father telling her to accept anyone who would take her to the dance and implying that she would never do better than a pity date.

It was bizarre, though, that she was thinking about some random guy who broke up with her once right before her wedding, especially since she then did exactly to Kevin what that guy did to her.

I'm hoping this is a temporary bump in the road and that This Is Us Season 6 will include a real wedding that Kevin and Madison actually complete.

But still, all this build-up for absolutely nothing was irritating, especially since so many fans predicted this and This Is Us is not usually predictable.

Dress Shopping - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

Also, what was up with that cliffhanger?

This Is Us always likes to leave us with more questions than answers at the end of a season, but this particular twist was too bizarre for words.

Fans are already debating whether Madison's presence at what appears to be Kate's second wedding means she and Kevin end up together after all. Kate and Toby seemed to be in a good place finally, so how did Kate end up married to obnoxious Philip instead?

I thought the twist was going to be that Kevin had imagined Madison backing out of the wedding because he was so nervous and that the real wedding was beginning. That would have been fine. This was just... weird.

Dress Shopping - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

Of course, this could all be a giant fakeout, though Philip saying he was going to be Kevin's brother-in-law makes it clear he's marrying Kate. If, for example, Philip was marrying Madison, he wouldn't say that.

This whole thing is so strange and it makes me want to know what is going to happen, but it didn't have the edge-of-your-seat quality I've come to expect from This Is Us.

And if we go further into cliche land and have Kevin end up with Sophie after all at the end I am going to be beyond aggravated.

Weird ending aside, there were a ton of great moments in the build-up to this wedding that didn't happen, though.

Tess Prepares - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

For me, the most emotional moment was the one between Beth and Tess.

Tess: I haven't been nice to you.
Beth: It's been a big year for you. A lot of changes. And I haven't got it all right.
Tess: You've got a lot right. I love you, Mom, even if I forget to say it for the next ten years.
Beth: Then this one time will have to be enough.

Tess' problems with Beth seemed to go beyond the normal teenage irritation with their parents, and I'm glad she acknowledged how unfair she's been.

I wouldn't go as far as to call her bratty. Being a member of two marginalized groups is a lot of pressure for a fifteen-year-old on top of trying to figure out who she is, and Beth has tried a little too hard to demonstrate acceptance.

Pre-Wedding Memories - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

In any case, I teared up when Tess told Beth she loved her. This has been a long time coming and I'm excited for where Tess and Beth's relationship will go next season.

Nicky was great comic relief, too. And he's come a long way since not knowing how to use Zoom! He probably was recording everything on that Mac partially because he was so proud that he'd figured out how to do it.

I was curious as to what his reaction to Madison backing out was, though. He'd gone to all that trouble to get them those chairs (though not to tip the delivery guy!), but he's cynical and doesn't believe in love anymore, so there's no telling what might have come out of his mouth if he'd been in the vicinity afterward.

Finally, thumbs down to Rebecca for insisting on talking to Randall about Laurel on what was supposed to be Kevin's wedding day, but thumbs up for asking Kevin to build Jack's house for her while she is still lucid.

Brotherly Love - This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16

We already know from that infamous flash-forward that Kevin does build that house and that Rebecca spends her last hours there, but Rebecca's asking Kevin to do it was emotional anyway.

And the past scenes of Jack and Rebecca's "second marriage" in front of the kids were a cute, lighthearted diversion from the main story, even if Rebecca did connect them to Randall's lifelong angst about his racial identity.

Your turn This Is Us fanatics! Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts and theories!

If you want to refresh your memory first, watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic.

This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST. It will return for its final season in January 2022.

The Adirondacks Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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This Is Us Season 5 Episode 16 Quotes

Randall: It's always darkest before the dawn, but we hang our tragedies on a fence post and we fight on.
Kevin: What do we do?
Randall: I don't know. It sounded better when Beth said it.

Toby: I want to go back to work, Kate. I need to. Staying at home is just... I love our children but...
Kate: Okay. Got it.
Toby: Kate!
Kate: Toby. My husband is contemplating taking a job that puts him in another city three days a week, and he just started a sentence with 'I love my children, but....' Give me a minute to digest this.