This Is Us fans will have seven weeks to process the details of Tuesday’s mid-season fall finale as the hit NBC series will go on a brief hiatus until January 15, 2019. But the Pearson family drama didn’t leave fans and viewers empty-handed as the last minutes of the episode were chock full of teasers for what’s to come in the second half of season 3.
Describing the episode as “amazing,” star Chrissy Metz told PEOPLE that the finale as a whole was “in true TIU fashion” as audiences were left scratching their heads and wanting more details. “We can’t go into the fall finale without a bang!” the actress, 38, joked.
“Sterling [K. Brown] watched it and he texted everybody, ‘I am so proud of this show.’ That’s what you want when you can feel good about the work you’re doing,” Metz said. “Not only does it change our lives, but it changes everybody who watches it.”
Several cliffhangers were revealed during the fall finale as many questions were finally answered while, yet again, in true TIU fashion, more questions were left unresolved.
Who Is “Her”
A flashforward returns to the scene where adult Tess (Iantha Richardson) and her older father Randall prepare to see “her,” the mysterious female character who has long been discussed since the much-talked-about Super Bowl episode. Viewers have seen Randall and Tess talking about the visit in multiple episodes with even the introduction of an older Toby (Chris Sullivan) in bed and not wanting to visit her.
But it was older Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) who finally unveiled the identity of “her.” After leaving her husband’s campaign, Beth has seemingly become the director of a ballet school as the camera pans to a group of ballerinas during rehearsal.
“Okay, yeah, we’re all going to see Randall’s mother,” she said to another woman who appeared to be her assistant. Could Randall’s mother be Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore)? Or could she be Randall’s biological mother, whom fans haven’t seen since William’s early years?
Beth also asked, “Oh, did you bring the Pin the Tail on the Donkey [game] from my office? I promised I’d bring it.” As die-hard fans know, that was the game the Big 3 played on their birthday during childhood.
Kate and Toby’s Baby on the Way: Boy or Girl?
After hearing good results from their two latest ultrasounds, the parents-to-be find out the sex of their first child. “We’re having a boy!” Toby (Chris Sullivan) excitedly told Kate as the camera pans to blue spongecake and blue-colored candies spilling out. (We secretly hope the name Jack is at the top of their list!)
“[We found out] something very exciting and very important,” Metz told PEOPLE about the storyline of Kate and Toby’s baby on the way. “It’s something that means a lot to Kate on many levels. Just to have that moment she’s been longing for, for so long. It means so much to her. I think people are going to be really excited and pleasantly surprised for her.”
Randall’s Future in Politics
After his debate, Randall and Beth learn about the latest poll results. “I’m sorry Randall, unfortunately, Brown is too far ahead — more than we expected. By a lot,” campaign manager Jae-won (Tim Jo) shared. “We don’t have the time, you’re not going to win this one Randall. The numbers aren’t there, I’m sorry.”
While Beth has accepted defeat, Randall has not. But will he pull off an upset?
“I’m sorry about the campaign baby, but maybe it’s a blessing that it’s over,” Beth told her husband, who replied, “You know what they say, it’s not over until it’s over.”
But Beth is not so sure as she reiterated, “I’m sorry babe, it feels like it’s over.”
Marriage on the Rocks?
After a big fight about the future of Randall’s campaign, present-day Beth is seen putting bed sheets and blankets on the couch in the living room, a sign that their dispute about the potential demise of Randall’s political career is not resolved.
“Things are getting really complicated and I can’t afford to have you off chasing some impossible dream,” she told Randall. “You told me if, at any point, I wasn’t on board with you running, you would stop. I am no longer on board with you running.”
However, Randall sternly told his wife: “I have to see this through.”
Nicky Is Alive?!
Viewers witness the aftermath of a loud explosion in Vietnam as a younger Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) hurriedly jumped to the rescue of a fellow soldier. While many may have assumed it was Jack’s sibling Nicky (Michael Angarano), a flashforward scene introduced an older man, presumably the younger Pearson brother, receiving mail addressed to a Nicholas Pearson — and in nearby Bradford, Pennsylvania!
Will he somehow, someway, cross paths with Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe (Melanie Liburd) after they return home from Vietnam?
After all, Nicky, who was in the 46th infantry, wasn’t accounted for in the military database’s death toll.
After opening up to her aunt Kate and speaking with her grandmother Rebecca, Tess (Eris Baker) told Beth and Randall about her sexual orientation. “I’m sorry I’ve been so weird lately. I just, I feel uncomfortable around you guys all of a sudden. I have a stomach ache all the time, I don’t want to keep secrets,” the teenager told her parents.
“People in school have been having crushes and stuff. And lots of girls have boyfriends but I don’t want one. It’s because I think I might like girls, not boys,” Tess tearfully said. “But I don’t know, maybe I don’t. It’s just I don’t want to tell you guys because I didn’t want it to become a thing.”
Beth and Randall embrace their eldest daughter with loving arms as they reassure her that they love her nonetheless. “We’ve been completely thrilled with the job Eris has been doing in this episode and the ones coming up later in the season,” executive producer Isaac Aptaker told Entertainment Weekly recently. “This is a slow story that will play out for Tess over the life of the show.”
Kate Goes Back to School?
After she was turned down from the position of a choir teacher due to her lack of higher education, pregnant Kate is faced with a tough decision in regards to a job. After all, her doctor did advise her to stop singing Adele-o-grams due to the far commute.
Then, Toby, who revealed Kate is over three months along in her pregnancy, encouraged his wife to return to school and finish her college degree. “We have six months to jump a bunch of hurdles before our lives are consumed with poop and naps,” he said while visiting the campus of Encino Community College. “Look, you get this degree and I think it closes a loop for you that’s been open for a while. Better yet, I think it makes you smile.
With a baby boy on the way and navigating a high-risk pregnancy, Kate’s decision to return to school could take a toll on her.
Deja’s Possible Family Reunion
Deja (Lyric Ross) continues to keep in contact with her birth mother after wishing her a happy Thanksgiving. “I want to go see my mom. She lives in Delaware and she has a job, and I would like to go visit her, if that’s okay,” she asked Beth and Randall, who responded, “Okay.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.