This Is Us: Sterling K. Brown Teases 'Joyous' Kevison Wedding, Talks Show Ending with Season 6
"There are questions that come up from the bachelor party that Kevin has to wrestle with," Sterling K. Brown tells PEOPLE
This Is Us gave fans two totally different pre-wedding festivities.
In the season 5 penultimate episode, titled "Jerry 2.0" and directed by Milo Ventimiglia, the Pearson women gathered in Los Angeles to throw Madison (Caitlin Thompson) a bridal shower for which Kate (Chrissy Metz) surprised her best friend, mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and sister-in-law Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) with Joe from Picasso and Prosecco, a paint and sip experience he models nude for. Turns out, though, he's Madison's ex.
And while the ladies reminded Joe how horrible he was for previously ghosting the bride-to-be, Madison realized her fiancé Kevin (Justin Hartley) didn't really ask her on a date in the first place. Instead, it was a "super weird" night of sleeping together, which led to having an "accidental pregnancy" and proposal on a whim.
Across the country at the family cabin in Pennsylvania, the Pearson men had what Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) called the "lamest bachelor party" with highlights including a VHS screening of Kevin's favorite childhood movie, Jerry Maguire, and a campfire discussion about the Tom Cruise-starring film that turned into the guys venting about their individual issues.
As for Toby (Chris Sullivan), he had secretly applied for a job in San Francisco after being tired of being out of work while Kevin had second thoughts about his second marriage, which came after Uncle Nicky called him "Jerry Maguire 2.0" for falling in love with the idea of having kids more than actually falling for Madison. Audiences even got to see what could be the first chapter of Miguel (Jon Huertas) and Rebecca's relationship after he revealed to the group that his relationship was not "written in the stars" but it was a love story "written together."
Throughout it all, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) appeared to be the one who was the most problem-free. Meanwhile, his wife Beth agreed to meet with the traditional dance conservatories she once loathed after being recommended by a job recruiter; sister Kate was grappling with bottled-up feelings that she and Toby had failed to communicate; and mom Rebecca was seen more as a patient rather than a family member due to her Alzheimer's disease.
In advance of the season 5 wedding finale, Brown, 45, discusses what changes may lie ahead for the Pearson family and his own feelings about the show ending after season 6.
PEOPLE: That bachelor party was certainly not like Kate and Toby's bachelorette and bachelor party in Las Vegas in season 2. It was more like a therapy retreat and Randall seemed to be the one who had his stuff put together?
STERLING K. BROWN: Which is really, one of the more random things. Like, Randall is the life of the party? [laughs] Randall is normally the dude who is trying to figure out what's going on in his world and is stressing everyone else out. Yeah, it is not a typical bachelor party. But it is so much fun to work with those men: Chris Sullivan, Griffin Dunne, Justin Hartley. We had a wonderful time. And Jon Huertas! First of all, let me just say, everybody sleeps on Miguel. You got to start giving Miguel his prizes, that dude has shown up for the Pearson family in a lovely, lovely way.
I couldn't help but notice Jon was the only one wearing major prosthetic age makeup and a wig in front of what I assumed to be a real fire. Meanwhile, the rest of you are in regular clothes.
It's easily maintained. [laughs] He was not in fear for his life. Everything was all good. [laughs]
And it wouldn't be This Is Us without cliffhangers: are there big changes ahead for the season 5 finale?
There are questions that come up from the bachelor party that Kevin has to wrestle with in his psyche in terms of how the relationship came together and making sure it is indeed what he wants. I think Zoe (Melanie Liburd) planted the seed the week before. You have this wonderful way of making things work out even though it was never what you intended. That's sort of the seed that is being watered and germinating. Making peace with like, "No, this is really what I want."
And maybe Randall and Rebecca will finally talk about his New Orleans trip? And maybe Toby really will work in San Francisco? Who knows if the wedding will even take place.
Those are very great insights. Let's see, we end with the wedding. That's something that shouldn't be a surprise. It will lead to a wedding, it's going to be joyous and exciting. But as soon as you anticipate you know what's going to happen, Dan [Fogelman] does a wonderful job of trying to keep you on your Ps and Qs. Almost wishing that you drank a V8 because you're slightly off-kilter. All those questions you said will sort of be explored in the finale.
You were already aware of the show's final plans before Dan Fogelman confirmed the news of This Is Us ending with season 6. I'm sure you and your cast members were sad, but also excited about completing the story and telling the great ending that Dan has in store?
I would say that's exactly right. This is a family. Dan has put together a group of people who truly adore one another, and are always enthusiastic for the story that we get a chance to put out into the world. But really, simply, just to share each other's company over these past years has been a real, real blessing. The relationships that you see on screen are not anything that is faked because the love that we have for each other in real life is real. More than anything, I'm going to miss my family so much. But I'm also excited to see what my artistic journey has to offer for my post-[This Is Us]. I have nothing but real, sort of, curiosity about how many different characters I can play that speak to people in different ways. Hopefully some as profoundly as Randall has over the past five/six years.
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Going into season 6, what is your intention with your Randall role? What do you hope for him?
I would like to see Randall reach a sense of peace where he doesn't put much pressure on himself to be perfect, where he allows himself to be a little messier and comfortable with being messy. I think so much of his journey has been about coming to a place of acceptance that he belongs and he is loved and wanted. He made big, big steps towards that this year, in terms of discovering his mother's birth story. And in terms of really asserting to his family what his experience was like as a Black child in a white family. The things he kept to himself to make other people feel comfortable, he's finally recognized a little bit of discomfort is worth enduring so that everyone can be accepted for their full selves.
The season 5 This Is Us finale will air at 10 p.m. ET on May 25.
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