This Is our tears
Has anyone checked the sea levels lately? We’re no oceanographers, but the fact that millions of people have been draining their tear ducts approximately once a week, every Tuesday at 9 p.m. since Sept. 20, has to have some effect, right? No matter what way you slice it, This Is Us is… sad. And it may be responsible for keeping Kleenex in business, thanks to its dedication to making us weep (again, we’re not economists either). As the first season is about to wrap, EW takes a look back at the show’s weepiest moments.
Dr. K gives Jack a pep talk, 'Pilot'
If you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into before, this scene from the pilot was the first indicator of the tears to come. After Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) lose their third triplet, Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) steps in to ease the pain with a chat that’s equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming.
William reveals he's dying, 'Pilot'
After searching for his biological father, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) tracks William (Ron Cephas Jones) down, only to learn he’s dying of cancer, leaving Randall emotionally confused and devastated. Bonus tears for that moment William humbly said, “Your dad must have been very proud of you.”
Jack agrees to be a 12, 'The Big Three'
A tearful Rebecca asks for more out of Jack, and eventually, he agrees, with a promise to quit drinking and a newfound determination to give a 12 on a 10-point effort scale. They’re crying, you’re crying, we’re all crying!
Rebecca meets William and renames baby Kyle 'Randall,' 'Kyle'
William may have given up baby Randall, but he still shaped his child’s life by inspiring Rebecca to rename him after William’s favorite poet.
Jack comforts a devastated Kate after she's bullied, 'The Pool'
Jack proves he’s the 12 he said he was going to be after he comforts Kate, who’s being bullied by her schoolmates at the pool, with a “magic shirt.”
Kate reveals Jack is dead, 'The Game Plan'
We knew confirmation of Jack’s death was (probably) coming, but man, this one hurt. Kate finally reveals to Toby that she likes watching Steelers games with her dad…who happens to be in an urn. Cue the waterworks.
Kevin breaks down while crashing a wake, 'Career Days'
Up until this episode, there wasn’t all that much to Kevin besides ripped abs. But when he crashes the funeral of a stranger, he experiences a breakthrough of sorts as he talks to the man’s widow and breaks down in tears talking about his own father.
Kevin gives a speech about life and death to his nieces, 'The Game Plan'
After his first explanation of death to Tess and Annie falls flat, Uncle Kevin redeems himself with a moving monologue on the circle of life.
Randall finds the letter from Rebecca to William and confronts her about it at Thanksgiving dinner, 'Pilgrim Rick'
Poor Randall: The man just wants to enjoy his favorite holiday with his family. But when your family is the Pearsons, nothing’s that simple. This year, Randall finds a letter Rebecca wrote to William years ago, and tearfully calls her out in the middle of dinner for lying to him about knowing his biological father for so long.
Jack puts Randall on his back and does push-ups, 'The Trip'
Jack has to be at a 13 by now, no? In an effort for Randall to better understand where he comes from, Jack and Rebecca enroll him in a martial arts class run by a black man, who asks Jack to do push-ups with Randall on his back to prove how dedicated he his to holding up his son. Of course, Jack blows the simple request out of the water and continues to do push-ups long after he has to.
Jack visits his father for money to buy a house, sells his car, and gives Rebecca her dream home, 'The Right Thing to Do'
Jack knows he needs to give his new family a home, and his construction job just isn’t cutting it, so he swallows his pride and pays a visit to his abusive father to ask for some cash. The way Jack takes his father’s insults and even lies about being a gambling addict just to ensure he gets the money, is certainly sob-worthy, as is the final reveal of Jack and Rebecca’s new home.
Dr. K visits his wife's grave, 'The Big Day'
“Baby, I don’t know if I can keep doing this without you anymore, and I’m really not sure that I want to,” Dr. K says to his dead wife’s grave just before he goes to deliver The Big Three. All of our collective hearts break together when we learn how they — and Rebecca and Jack — affected him.
Kate breaks down and we see Jack's funeral, 'Three Sentences'
Kate finally has a cathartic breakthrough during an exercise class at her weight-loss camp and gives viewers the flashback they’d been patiently waiting for/dreading: Jack’s funeral. The hazy shots don’t confirm much besides the fact that the Big Three were likely teens when he died, but it’s enough to get the tears flowing alongside Kate’s.
Jack reads Rebecca his vows in their first home on Valentine's Day, 'I Call Marriage'
Just when you think Jack can’t get any more romantic, he takes Rebecca to the very first apartment they shared together, where he’s set up twinkling lights and candles and reads her their wedding vows. Of course, the moment is promptly spoiled when Rebecca tells him she wants to go on tour with her band, but for one sweet moment, all was right, and we were crying happy tears.
Kevin ditches his play to comfort Randall, 'Jack Pearson's Son'
What would Jack Pearson do? Well, he’d probably make us cry thanks to the love and devotion he has for his family. After years of tension between the two Pearson brothers, Kevin finally takes a page out of Jack’s book and leaves the opening night of his play to comfort Randall, who was suffering from an anxiety attack.
William 'meets' Jack, 'Memphis'
Randall “introduces” his biological father, William, to his adoptive father, Jack, in a touching road trip pit stop to the park where Jack’s ashes were scattered.
William dies, 'Memphis'
Randall’s precious time with his biological father is cut short during their trip to William’s hometown of Memphis. Randall loses a father for the second time, and we lose the ability to maintain our composure.
Beth gets a postcard from William, 'What Now?'
Though William’s relationship with Randall was typically the focal point, Beth spent some quality time with him, too (those pot brownies have to count for something), and felt stung by the fact that she didn’t get to say goodbye, as William knew the Memphis trip would be his last. So when Beth receives a special postcard from William after his death, to paraphrase Smash Mouth, the tears start comin’ and they don’t stop comin’.
Kate reveals Jack's death was her fault, 'What Now?'
The big reveal in the season’s penultimate episode — Kate telling Toby that she caused Jack’s death — was especially gut-wrenching given their father-daughter bond. Seeing how much his death (and her possible involvement) affected her, even all these years later, also packed a serious punch.
Randall wants to adopt a baby, 'Moonshadow'
Flipping through a scrapbook of photos from his childhood and photos of William, Randall has a moving epiphany: He wants to adopt a baby and give a child the opportunities he was given when he was adopted by Rebecca and Jack. Full circle, meet full sniffle.
Rebecca and Jack lock eyes for the first time, 'Moonshadow'
That fight was totally awful. And Jack leaving the family home to crash at Miguel’s for who knows how long was terrible. But seeing Rebecca and Jack lock eyes and feel a spark for the first time — interspersed with ’90s Jack telling Rebecca their love story is still just getting started — brought the chills… and the waterworks.