The next generation’s Big Three is here!
On This Is Us Season 5 Episode 8, Madison and Ellie both gave birth at the same time, while Rebecca remembered Jack’s struggle to let go as the original Big Three became teenagers.
Our TV Fanatics Carissa Pavlica, Sarah Little, Christine Orlando, and Jack Ori discuss the births, Toby’s encounter in the parking lot, and what the most emotional moment was. Read on!
Ellie looked like she was going to decide to keep her baby after all but just wanted to say hello and goodbye before she gave her to Kate. What did you think of this twist?
Carissa: It wasn’t a twist; it was the typical This Is Us fakeout. I knew she wasn’t going to do that, but I still think she’s going to be involved in their lives in some way. I hope so, anyway.
Sarah: I should’ve known it was the fakeout, but I think I’ve been scarred by so many television shows that have gone down the route of the couple wants to adopt baby, the biological mother gives birth, and she ends up keeping the baby.
So, I was yelling at my television screen when Ellie wanted to hold the baby and be alone with her. Thankfully, she just wanted to say goodbye, but she could’ve made that much clearer to Kate.
Christine: Adoption consultants actually recommend that the birth mother take the time to say goodbye to their child before giving them to the adoptive parents, so I just assumed that’s what this was, and I wasn’t worried.
Maybe I should have been, but I wasn’t. Plus, we all knew that Kate and Toby do end up adopting a girl, so it was easy to have faith.
Jack: In my head, I was comparing this to Parenthood when Joel and Julia’s surrogate changed her mind, so I was bracing myself for Kate and Toby’s heartbreak. I was glad that it didn’t go that way. I think I was as relieved as Kate was when she finally got to hold the baby!
How do you think Jack would have reacted to there being another set of three babies where one was adopted if he was still alive?
Carissa: I’d like to think that he’d be thrilled. He raised his children with values similar to his own, and even though he stumbled a lot, Jack was a good person with a big heart. You could see him in Kevin apologizing to Randall, too.
Sarah: I agree with Carissa! Jack would have been over the moon that there’s another Big Three, that the “tradition” has continued. It just makes my heart ache even more that he couldn’t be there to see it.
Christine: Jack would have loved it. Jack Pearson wasn’t perfect, but he was a good man with a big heart. Having grandchildren that continued their Big 3 legacy probably would have made him cry happy tears.
Jack: I missed Jack so much during these birth scenes. I think he would have been thrilled, and it made his premature death even more poignant to me.
What did you find to be the most emotional moment in these birth stories?
Carissa: Rebecca’s reaction to the children and wanting to be as involved as possible under really crap circumstances.
She will be losing a lot, and I really wish she could’ve been with her kids during their big moments. She was as close as she could get, but it still made me really think about how much they’re missing.
Sarah: There were so many emotional, happy crying moments, but my favorite was the montage of the Pearsons video chatting and us, the audience, realizing that the man in the beginning was Nasir Ahmed who made that connectedness all possible.
It was a beautiful, unexpected moment that I think we’ll be talking about for a while.
Christine: Ellie telling her newborn daughter that giving her to Kate and Toby was the most difficult thing she’s ever done but also the most important. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Jack: I teared up at Kate telling baby Hailey that she was always going to know her place in this crazy world she’d been born into. It was such a beautiful, realistic depiction of what it feels like to raise children in the post-COVID world.
And there was a lot of Rebecca in Kate at that moment too, which I enjoyed.
Kevin showed up in time for the twins’ birth without any real explanation of how he got there. Was this satisfying enough, or would you have liked to have seen him overcome the obstacles to getting on the plane?
Carissa: I’m glad they decided not to talk too much about it.
Mentioning the TSA agent being on their Christmas list was enough. Maybe too much, actually.
That’s not something we need to imagine is true in real life.
Sarah: I am a little curious about how he got on the flight without his ID, but we saw enough of his struggle to get to Madison on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 7.
We know he was determined to get there, and he got there. That’s good enough for me.
Christine: I would have liked a few more details.
It’s a little disconcerting that he could get on a flight without ID. I think I would have preferred him chartering a private plane or something, but the point was for Kevin to get there to be with Madison and see his twins being born, so I’m satisfied.
Jack: I was curious enough to hope for a flashback in a later episode, but I was satisfied. Kevin got there in time, and he was grateful to Randall for his help instead of being resentful or jealous. That’s all that mattered.
What did you think about This Is Us honoring Nasir Ahmed and his wife by including a storyline about them even though they were not directly connected to the main characters’ lives?
Carissa: Since we all depend on what he imagined, it was a nice nod to our new lives and how we can remain connected in a world where we were once so close.
Sadly, he probably never imagined it being used because people couldn’t be together for these reasons, but thankfully, he did, and we are.
Sarah: It was an amazing “twist” and homage to this man who has changed all of our lives, and a vast majority of us didn’t even know he existed
I think it’s great that the writers and producers of This Is Us realize that they have this platform to inform so many people of Nasir Ahmed, to show us who we should be thanking for keeping us connected during these times.
Plus, it reminds us that not everything was invented by old, white men, and a lot of things that we use in our everyday life were created by immigrants and POC.
Christine: I had never heard of Nasir before watching this episode.
I’m so happy the show thanked him, and his wife, in this way.
I can’t imagine what the last year would have been like if we couldn’t have sent photos and video chatted with our loved ones.
Nasir Ahmed’s work allowed us to remain connected. He changed the world for the better.
Jack: Agreed with all of the above. I thought it was wonderful that they honored the man who invented the technology that has kept us all connected and (relatively) sane this past year.
I also agree with Sarah that it is important for shows like This Is Us to use their vast platform to educate people about the many POC whose contributions to our lives have gone unnoticed for so long.
My only quibble is that This Is Us so often introduces new characters this way that many fans thought Nasir and his wife were going to be connected to Miguel somehow.
But that speaks more to the need for Miguel’s backstory than anything else.
Discuss anything else you’d like to talk about.
Carissa: It was nice seeing Michael O’Neill sharing time in the parking lot with Toby.
That’s another place where people are spending very special moments when they should be with their families, so if people can connect like that, good on them.
But this episode didn’t give me warm fuzzies as much as I felt for the kids being born into this world that will never be what their parents knew it to be. It’s so damned depressing.
Sarah: Kevin naming his son after Uncle Nicky was a very nice touch!
It feels like we haven’t seen him in a while, but his relationship with Kevin has been a highlight of the show.
It’s really astonishing to think about where they started to where they are now. I can’t wait for Uncle Nicky to meet Nick!
Christine: I enjoyed Rebecca and Miguel at the cabin, but it feels like Miguel’s role is always to react to Rebecca and support her.
At some point, I want the focus to be on Miguel because he has his own point of view and his own story to tell, but it feels like we’ve never really heard it.
Jack: I also want a Miguel-focused episode!
I agree with Carissa that the scenes with Michael O’Neill were a high point (though it made me sad all over again that Council of Dads is gone since that’s where I last saw him.)
I was grateful that Rebecca was doing well enough to be part of celebrating the births, even if she had to do it from afar.
After Miguel making such a big deal out of how her meds might interact with the cocktail she wanted to have, I’m worried, though.
What was your favorite scene, storyline, or quote from this week’s This Is Us?
Carissa: Kevin and Randall’s chat.
I’m so happy that Kevin’s reacted to Randall and Beth keeping Madison company as he did.
There was another route he could have taken, but it was perfect. His brother had his back and fully welcomed the mother of his children into the Pearson clan. Beautiful.
Sarah: Yeah, the phone call between Kevin and Randall was really something.
It acknowledged the fact that they both said horrible stuff to one another, but that, at the end of the day, they are brothers, and they will always be there for one another.
After that huge fight, it felt almost impossible for them to get back on good terms.
But they have written that story very well, and all of their talks since the fight have felt so natural.
Both of them have grown so much over these past eight episodes, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for them.
Christine: I loved all the baby names!
I hope Toby tells Hailey where her middle name came from someday.
For as difficult as everything has been this year, we need to hold onto the happy moments, and Toby bonding with a perfect stranger in a parking lot and then being inspired by that connection to choose his daughter’s name made me want to hug all involved.
Jack: All of the above! But since no one’s mentioned it yet, I’m going to go with Kevin telling Madison that he’d thought about it and their family was his life.
Before I left, you asked me how this family was going to fit into my life. This family is my life. I quit the movie. Yeah, I don’t want to take jobs that’ll take me away from you. And these beautiful babies that we’re about to meet… that’s all I need.
I wasn’t initially sold on this couple, but I’m liking them more and more each week, and this was a beautiful moment.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics! Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your answers to these questions!
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.