"I don't know her," is what we've been saying all season of This Is Us. The weepy NBC drama has been teasing out a flash-forward scene over several episodes, in what's become the new "How did Jack die?" mystery.
Well, we finally got some answers during Tuesday night's midseason finale.
In previous episodes, old-man Randall (Sterling K. Brown) tells his now adult-daughter, Tess the social worker, it's time to see "her," but Tess is anxious about it. Randall also calls old-man Toby (Chris Sullivan), who says he doesn't think "she" wants him there.
On Tuesday, the show finally revealed that the woman they've all been referring to is Rebecca. "We're going to see Randall's mother," Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) says in the flash-forward.
OK, cool, so they're all going to see Rebecca. But we still have many more questions, the most pressing of all concerning the status of Randall and Beth's marriage.
The flash-forward came just after present-day Randall and Beth get into what feels like their most serious argument so far. Randall, despite his surprisingly rousing city council debate performance, is way behind in a new poll, with victory out of the question.
Beth wants him to drop out of the race (and so do we all, frankly). She cites the unlikelihood of his winning, everything happening with their daughters and the financial strain -- which, thank you for mentioning! How are the Pearsons paying for their fancy lives while funding this campaign? We also never see Toby at work, and now he wants to send Kate to college? Does no one on this show have a job?
Anyway, in response to Beth's plea, Randall says, "This family will always be my priority, but I need to see this through." He ends up sleeping on the couch, and Beth looks disgusted with him. It feels serious, like a chasm has opened up between them.
To add to that sinking feeling we get some unsettling details in the flash-forward: Randall has Tess call Beth, who gets the message from an assistant at her dance studio.
Why can't Randall call Beth himself? Is this all a red herring? Does future Beth own a ballet company?
Randall and Beth getting divorced would be like killing off a beloved character. Many viewers would not be pleased.
This Is Us did spring another big surprise. It seems that Nicky, Jack's brother, didn't die in the Vietnam War. The episode closed out showing an envelope addressed to him in Pennsylvania, and an older man in the background.
Did Nicky fake his death? Is Pennsylvania so big that Nicky could have been alive there the entire time, and Jack didn't know? Or did Jack actually know about his brother?
Also, about that fast-forward: Why would Rebecca not want to see Toby? Where is Kate, and is she OK? And why does Beth need to bring the old pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game during the visit?
Clearly, we have a lot to contemplate until the show returns in 2019.