SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fifth season finale of “This Is Us.”
Mandy Moore has a proposal for the final season of This Is Us: a destination wedding.
When the NBC drama returns in 2022 for its sixth season, the series will spend a great deal of time filling in the blanks between the present-day story of the Pearson family and the glimpses of the future that creator Dan Fogelman has parceled out throughout the run of the show. But, the creator confirmed to Variety, it’ll also tie up some loose story threads relating to the past — most importantly, how widow Rebecca Pearson (Moore) came to be married to her late husband’s best friend, Miguel (Jon Huertas).
Past seasons revealed that the couple reconnected many years after Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death via social media, but that’s about it. Fogelman said after the Season 5 finale that Rebecca and Miguel’s love story will play a large role in Season 6, including their wedding, which Moore has already planned out.
“Jon Huertas and I pitched Dan on Rebecca and Miguel’s wedding and what that would look like,” she told Variety on a very, very small red carpet at “This Is Us’” fifth season FYC drive-in at the Rose Bowl. “I was like, ‘Can we go to Puerto Rico and shoot the wedding?’”
If Fogelman doesn’t take them up on their idea, Moore and Ventimiglia have their own travel-related pitch that they hope to see through (should safety precautions allow). Joked Moore, “Milo and I from Season 1 have been pitching, ‘Can we do a Pearson family vacation somewhere?’ Did they go to Disney? Did they go to the Grand Canyon? I don’t know what the answer is but I think we’re jonesing to go somewhere new.”
There are two locations the show will definitely visit in the final season: The cabin where Rebecca is lying on her deathbed (about 10 or 15 years in the future) and the yet-to-be-revealed location of Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) second wedding as seen in the Season 5 finale, which takes place about five years in the future as she marries her current boss, Phillip (Chris Geere).
Metz revealed that not only was Kate’s ornate wedding gown a beautiful, hand-laid work of art from Hala Bahmet and the costume team, but it also holds a clue to the location of the ceremony.
“It lends itself to potentially where they’ll be getting married,” Metz teased.
While Kate’s future husband only appeared in a couple of episodes as her curmudgeonly new boss thus far, the plan for the character was in the works for a long time. In fact, Geere flew to Los Angeles and underwent strict COVID safety protocols just to do a chemistry read with Metz.
“The moment he spoke the first line, Dan and I were like, ‘Oh OK,’” Metz said. “He just gets the tone. He’s a fan of the show. I think it’s important to him, and he’s a brilliant actor.”
The sixth season will continue to flash-forward to the wedding, but it’ll also show the dissolution of Kate and Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) marriage and how Kate and Phillip’s relationship evolves.
“It’s very hard for me to talk about a new love while I’m in the old love,” Metz said. “Chris Sullivan, I mean, that’s my boy forever in life in life in life. But yeah, I’m excited about Chris Geere!”
Another character potentially embarking on a new journey in love? Madison (Caitlin Thompson), Kate’s best friend-turned-Kevin’s fiancé and mother to his children (who left him at the altar in the fifth season finale). Thompson, who is married to Fogelman, originally played a small part in the series premiere as a member of the support group where Kate and Toby met. But as the seasons went on, the quirky character returned first as comic relief and then as an unexpected emotional anchor and key member of the Pearson family.
While a storybook marriage and twin babies with a movie star was seemingly what the character of Madison would have wanted, Madison realized in the finale that Kevin (Justin Hartley) wasn’t actually in love with her and she deserved more.
“She’s grown so much,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot at stake — they have a family together, so it’s basically committing to not raising a nuclear family and having to figure out how to raise these kids together. I was proud of her in a lot of ways, but also it’s scary and it’s a big risk she’s taking.”
Madison is now an integral character with a flashback back story of her own, and Thompson wants the best for the newly self-actualized character.
“I hope she finds love, whether it’s with [Kevin] or [someone else],” she said. “I hope she has her own happy ending. I think she deserves it and I think she’s seeking it and I think she’s in a healthy place now, which is really exciting. She’s been able to work through a lot of her issues with her family and eating disorders and is ready for love. She’s just got to find the right person.”
Kate similarly found a confidence she’d never had before during the fifth season, particularly when she found a job that she both loves and excels at: teaching music to children with special needs. It’s a dream job, and something that has been able to bring Kate closer together with her mother.
The peace of knowing her sometimes-aimless daughter has finally found a calling in life is an important revelation for Rebecca, especially as her Alzheimer’s progresses. Between Kate’s career prospects looking up and Rebecca moving to Los Angeles to be closer to her newest grandchildren, the women’s relationship has evolved — not a small feat for the always-complicated and very unique mother-daughter relationship.
“I think it’s cemented their bond in a way that I don’t think either of them really expected,” Moore said. “It was such a complicated relationship and continues to be. I have my own complicated relationship with my mother; I can relate. I love what it’s evolved into.”