This is us the car

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This Is Us star Mandy Moore breaks down Jack’s funeral episode and Dr. K’s return

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  • TV Show

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  • NBC

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Rebecca could probably use a hug right about now. Or two. You know what? Just go ahead and make that all the hugs in the world.

The Pearson matriarch suffered the surprising and jarring loss of her husband, Jack, in Sunday’s episode of This Is Us, and then there she was, struggling mightily through the grieving gauntlet in Tuesday’s installment of the NBC family drama, titled “The Car.” (Now you know why Mandy Moore called it “rip-your-heart-out sad” and “more gut-wrenching” than “Super Bowl Sunday.”) Haunted by guilt over not being in the hospital room with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) when he died from cardiac arrest soon after he’d cheated a fiery death, Rebecca (Moore) worked hard to stay close to the urn on the day of the funeral to make up for it. And in a moment of I can’t-be-responsible-for-this-family doubt, she received some necessary tough (but also gentle) love from Dr. K. (Gerald McRaney), who reminded her that she had made one of the sweetest damn pitchers of lemonade from the sourest of lemons before, and she could do it again.

With renewed and determined spirit, Rebecca took her family to Jack’s special tree to spread his ashes. To remind Kate (Hannah Zeile) that it wasn’t her fault Jack went back into the house to retrieve the family dog (plus family photos and other small but special items). To instruct young Randall (Niles Fitch) and Kevin (Logan Shroyer) to be not men of the house but 17-year-old boys. And to promise to Jack’s tree that they were going to be “okay.” (Yes, it was the same word Jack used when explaining to the car salesman that he needed this Grand Wagoneer because “I want my family to be okay.”) There was hope from this horror, and she steered this family car across the shoddy bridge that she’d previously been frightened to cross with her eyes open, headed to a Bruce Springsteen concert with Jack’s tickets, pushing herself and the Big Three through darkness on the edge of town.

Let’s take a very long sip of water, cue up any Springsteen song besides “I’m On Fire,” and speak to the actress coming off of two standout performances in three days.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s the best metaphor to describe what Rebecca has been through over these last two episodes?
MANDY MOORE: Oh my gosh! I don’t know. As Mandy, I’m worried about my emotional well-being. No. I feel very drained emotionally. Like, any sort of emotion has just been vacuum-sucked out of me for the last two months. But I’ve loved the challenge of showing up to work every day and figuring out where it’s all going to come from. But poor Rebecca — man, she really has been through the ringer. It’s such a huge loss that it speaks to this great sadness that present-day Rebecca continues to walk around with. This is a hole that will never get filled.

It’s heartbreaking to see her carrying around so much guilt about not being in the room when Jack expired, which is why she’s concerned with being near his urn at all times. Not that it would have made any difference in a catastrophic situation like Jack suffered. How might that guilt manifest in the days and weeks to come?
That’s a very good question. I’m not sure. I’m just as curious as to see what happens in the days and weeks to come — and the years to come — because they haven’t been portrayed on screen yet. There’s that whole ten-year chunk of time that we have yet to see how all of this manifests itself and unfolds for Rebecca and the kids. I’m sure that it is something that does not go away quickly. It does not recede quickly.

At the same time she’s dealing with that, Kate is also wracked with guilt. When she presses her mom to essentially confirm that the reason Jack died is because he went back for the dog, Rebecca keeps numbly repeating, “I don’t know.” It’s a brutal moment, as everyone’s in raw pain. What is Rebecca thinking right then? Does she not have the emotional fortitude to absolve her there? She probably has anger that Jack did go back in for the dog, though not necessarily directed at Kate. And what changed between then and the second conversation later, in which Rebecca stepped up and reassured Kate that it wasn’t her fault? Was she embracing a “What would Jack do?” approach?
I think it’s a little bit of the all-of-the-above. I don’t think she has the emotional fortitude to get into it at that point. And I also think there’s just brutal honesty there — “I don’t know” — and we’re never going to have that answer. He did go back in for the dog; he went back in and somehow amassed photo albums and video tapes and my moon necklace. Somehow he found the time to go and gather all of that, in 30 seconds or a minute. But again, most importantly, we’re never going to have those answers, so it doesn’t seem helpful to wallow in that.

But I think in between that scene and just the immediate aftermath of losing him and a week later, is the stepping up and the “What would Jack do?” of it all. But also, like, “That was your father. There was no stopping him. He was always going to go back in. He was a grown adult and a grown man and he made that choice for himself, and no one was going to tell him otherwise. You know that and I know that, and I swear on my bones, I will be here to remind you of that in your weaker moments for the rest of my life, if I have to.” I think she’s very convicted in that belief.

This episode sets up Rebecca to take the reins as a parent. By the end of it, she’s willing herself and her family across that bridge that she was scared of and through the healing process. How does she “try” in the aftermath? We know that she isn’t entirely successful at helping some of her children heal, given what we know about her strained relationship with Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley). And there’s limited time before the kids leave the house. (Series creator) Dan Fogelman says that everything for this family hinges on this day, so what happens after the hinge?
I think Dan has more of an idea and he hasn’t necessarily shared with us. I can tell you that we’re putting a pin in this moment of time for the rest of this season. We’re going to go back in time a little bit and we’re going to stay more present-day, but we’re not going to revisit the immediate aftermath of this funeral in season 2.

Dan also said he was particularly proud of the ending of this funeral episode, that it felt “soaring,” sweeping,” and “strangely optimistic.” Was it a relief to end the episode on a more hopeful note, after two episodes of really raw, painful material? I don’t know if you filmed it out of sequence?
It was all out of sequence. Yes, it was very important to end on that note. Absolutely. I think people needed that respite, they needed that sense of relief. As did we. The Pearsons needed it too.

NEXT PAGE: Moore on the Springsteen surprise and going “toe-to-toe” with Dr. K

Which scene in this episode of grieving was particularly challenging to pull off?
It was really challenging to shoot that tree scene because of the location — both the scene with Milo and the scene with the kids. They were on two separate nights. But it was so loud — so much traffic — we were right by the Van Nuys airport. The planes were landing all the time. It was just so distracting, and I had to really work hard to get past that. Because in my mind I was like, “It’s going to be this quiet, beautiful, peaceful, tranquil spot,” and it really was anything but. So the fact that we were able to find a way to make that work was pretty, pretty impressive. I’m very impressed with the editing. And the sound that they were able to make that work.

Bruce Springsteen rarely licenses his music for TV shows.
I know!

What do you think Rebecca and Jack’s favorite Springsteen song would be?
You know what? Taylor and I got to go see his show in New York over the holidays, and we got to meet him! And I wanted to be like, “You’re in the next episode!” But then, you know, he was talking to Taylor. He knows Dawes! He was talking to Taylor about the band, which made my life. And made Taylor’s life. And I was like, “You know what? I’m going to just let them talk about music and not interject my show in there!” But I so badly wanted to be like, “You’re a huge point in my story line in the next episode!” I don’t know what their favorite song would be. “Thunder Road?” I feel like just a total classic.

RELATED: ‘This Is Us:’ Which Bruce Springsteen song is each character?

This episode also brought the return of Dr. K, who gave Rebecca that much-needed, heartfelt pep talk. First of all, tell us something surprising about Gerald McRaney.
I don’t know if it would be surprising — he’s just a consummate professional and gentleman. He always has just wonderful stories. Because he’s been doing this forever, he’s worked with everybody, he’s an incredible storyteller; there’s always that to look forward to… Man, it is such an honor to get in the ring with him. It’s like going toe-to-toe with the champ of all-time. He’s so stellar, and he brings it every single take, whether the camera’s on him or not, and it forces you to raise your game, to try to keep up with him. He’s so sweet. I hadn’t seen him since he won his Emmy . He’s like, “Did you hear? I referenced you and Milo in my speech!” And he repeated back what he said in his Emmy speech, and I was so blown away!

Dr. K feels almost like an on-Earth guardian angel — he’s always there in the right trying moments. In this episode, Rebecca was surprised to learn he was a stealth surrogate father figure to Jack, who had been going to see him occasionally and drawing strength from him. Will Dr. K continue to be a pillar for her to lean on, in the way he was for Jack?
I adore him and can only hope that Dan figures out a way to bring him back, although I know that his character’s quite old at this point in time. I don’t quite know how they would finagle it — maybe he visits Rebecca and the kids one more time somehow. I want to work with him all the time…. We have limited time with him . But, you know, he could come back as a ghost, or in some sort of flashback.

Please don’t say that Dr. K is going to die soon!
I don’t know! He’s gotta be, what, in his late 80s, early 90s? Maybe Dr. K will outlive everybody.

To read what else Moore had to say about Jack’s death episode, .

To see why creator Dan Fogelman picked that ending for Jack, .

This Is Us returns to NBC with a new episode on Feb. 27.

Episode Recaps

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 4
Genre
  • Drama
Airs
  • Tuesdays at 9:00pm
Premiere
  • 09/20/16
creator
  • Dan Fogelman
Performers
  • Milo Ventimiglia,
  • Mandy Moore,
  • Justin Hartley,
  • Sterling K. Brown
Network
  • NBC
Complete Coverage
  • This Is Us
Available For Streaming On

This Is Us lost Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) on Sunday’s night’s Super Bowl episode, but it will regain one if its strongest recurring characters: Dr. Nathan Katowski (Gerald McRaney).

Dr. Kataowski, better known as Dr. K, is the doctor who delivered Jack and Rebecca’s triplets (Kevin, Kate and stillborn baby Kyle) during the series premiere. He is the one who comforted Jack after Kyle’s death and inspired him to adopt Randall, who had been dropped off at the hospital that same day.

Dr. K also appeared several other times in season one. He returned for the episode “Last Christmas,” where the Pearsons ran into him after he was hospitalized for a nearly fatal car accident. They bonded with him by keeping him company in his hospital room as he feared for the worst.

He also returned in the flashback episode “The Big Day,” wherein viewers saw his activities before delivering the Pearsons, which included a struggle with moving past the death of his wife.

As shown in the preview for Tuesday night’s episode, Dr. K appears once again to comfort Rebecca in the wake of Jack’s death. The preview footage shows Rebecca mourning near a cemetery. Dr. K then emerges out of a building and greets her with a simple but somber, “Hello, Rebecca.”

This will be Dr. K’s first appearance on the show since “The Big Day.” He’ll presumably comfort Rebecca the best he can, using his own loss as an example.

After McRaney won an Emmy for his previous guest appearance, he was asked by Deadline if he would come back during season 2. He was unsure at the time and said he would wait for This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman to write a return for him.

“I have no idea. I hope Dr. K makes another appearance, but if he doesn’t I’m fine with that, because it was such a joy to have been on this show and to have been a part of it,” McRaney said. “But I am not going to try and persuade Dan to write something for me. You don’t mess with perfection.”

Aside from his This Is Us role, McRaney is best known for his lead role in classic TV shows Simon & Simon and Major Dad. He also appeared in House of Cards as billionaire Raymond Tusk, a rival to lead character Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey).

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Photo Credit: NBC

This Is Us: Gerald McRaney on His Heartbreaking Return as Dr. K

It’s official: every time Gerald McRaney returns to This Is Us as Dr. K, fans should be ready to end the episode in tears.

The veteran actor delivered the strongest moment of the show’s pilot when he told a bereft Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to find a way to make lemonade out of the sourest lemons life has to offer. That speech becomes even more tender and heartbreaking after Tuesday night’s episode, which revealed how close Dr. K was chucking in his own lemons before getting the page to deliver the Pearson babies.

“It’s one of the better characters that I’ve ever done,” McRaney told TVGuide.com after a screening event of the episode of why he continues to return to the show. “The writing is so good and the whole concept is so rich. It’s just a joy for me to come in and do it. I told Milo on the way in that I am so successfully avoiding real work. As long as you do something like this, it’s not a job.”

Gerald McRaney, This Is UsPhoto: NBC, Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The episode visited Dr. K on the morning of the Big 3’s birth to show him still in the thralls of depression after losing his wife a little more than a year before. Her clothes still hang in their closet. He still talks to her at the breakfast table and informs her of what he’s preparing to do that day. Even though Dr. K’s eldest son implores him to try and move on with his life, it’s clear that the doctor isn’t ready to leave the memory of his wife behind.

In another tear-jerking scene, Dr. K goes to visit his wife’s grave and confesses that he doesn’t know how to live without her. There’s more than a subtle hint that the older man is ready join his wife in the afterlife, but before he can complete the thought, he gets a page that he’s needed at the hospital.

This Is Us boss and cast talk about revisiting the show’s pilot in special episode

It’s the call to deliver the Pearson triplets. Now, fans can see that Dr. K’s dry humor was a facade to hide the pain he was feeling earlier in the day, but they can also see how Jack’s determination and optimism help to bring Dr. K from the brink as well. Of course, Jack and Rebecca lose their third child in delivery. The genius of Tuesday’s episode was to show that Dr. K’s heartfelt speech to Jack in the hospital hallway not only gave the Pearson patriarch the strength he needed to keep his family from falling apart, but also showed how Jack’s pure love for his family was also enough to save Dr. K.

“The thing that I love about this show is that it’s all good people,” McRaney said. “There are conflicts between people, but they are all coming from such a good place. I just want to see more of them. As to what direction the show takes, they can take any direction the producers choose to take it in but it will always be populated by good people, and it’s nice to see that on TV.”

At the end of the episode, Dr. K put away his wife’s clothes and went to dinner with a woman friend. As he attempts to move on with his life, we get another example of how the Pearsons have brought joy to someone’s life.

This Is Us continues Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.

Additional reporting by Malcolm Venable.

(Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
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Taken together, the past three episodes of This Is Us have served as a mini-series about Jack Pearson’s death. “That’ll Be The Day” celebrated Jack’s final day on Earth, “Super Bowl Sunday” depicted his tragic death, and “The Car” is about laying him to rest, both literally and figuratively. Since it’s designed to function as a denouement, this episode is a bit quieter (although no less emotional) than the ones that have come before it. This final chapter eschews any present day stuff to focus on the day of Jack’s funeral as well as small but meaningful moments he shared with his family throughout the years. “The Car” utilizes a more fluid storytelling structure than the show generally does, but that’s a fitting way to memorialize a man whose power lay in the accumulation of small but powerful moments.

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The thing that’s impressed me most about This Is Us’ second season is how much more confident the show is with its use of time. “The Car” jumps through a bunch of different eras of the Pearsons’ lives, revealing things we never knew about (like Rebecca’s cancer scare) and looping back to things we’ve glimpsed before (like Jack’s funeral). Yet the episode never feels the need to over explain or telegraph what’s going on. It trusts its audience to follow its various timelines and that allows the episode to move through time in a really elegant, lyrical way.

The glue loosely holding the episode together is the Pearson family’s Jeep Wagoner. It would be a step too far to call the station wagon a sixth member of the Pearson family (and anyway, I think I already made that claim about the Pearson family home), but it has been a consistent presence throughout the series. So when the episode creates a montage of Pearson family moments that occurred in and around the car, it doesn’t just have to make them up wholesale—like that sweet family bonding moment during Rebecca’s bridge-inspired freak-out—it can also cut together footage from the show’s entire run. “The Car” cleverly turns the time we’ve invested watching this fictional family into a reflection of the years they’ve spent with one another.

This episode features three particularly strong scenes that emphasize Jack’s many strengths as a family man. Frustrated with Kevin and Randall’s bickering during a driving lesson, Jack ditches them on the side of the road and makes them walk home together. He’s firm but empathetic as he explains to his sons that one day they’ll be the only ones who remember the life they lived together so they shouldn’t take each other for granted. (It may take a couple decades, but at least we know Randall and Kevin eventually get the message.) Elsewhere, Jack is at his warmest and most playful as he helps Kate skip school to go to an Alanis Morissette signing, all while trying to encourage his daughter’s musical talents. (Again, it might take a few decades, but Kate does eventually take his encouragement to heart.) And Jack is at his most, well, Jack-ish as he distracts Rebecca from a medical scare by taking her to his “favorite tree,” which is really just an excuse to get her out of her head but still near a payphone. “Why is this your favorite tree?” Rebecca asks. “Because it’s where you find out you’re okay,” Jack answers.

The warmth of those three scenes makes Jack’s absence in the main storyline all the more devastating. Though they pull themselves together to handle the logistics of his funeral, the Pearsons are also clearly unraveling. Kevin and Randall butt heads over who will be the “man of the house” (well Kevin butts heads with Randall, Randall just immediately jumps into helping his mom); Kate blames herself for her dad’s death; and Rebecca worries she’ll fail her family without Jack at her side. Luckily, Dr. K—the Pearson family guardian angel—is on hand to give Rebecca the boost of confidence she needs. Gerald McRaney is always a welcome presence on This Is Us, and I felt a palpable sense of relief when he showed up at Jack’s funeral. What Rebecca needs more than anything throughout this episode is someone to lean on, and Dr. K provides that in a way no one else could have.

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“The Car” is clearly designed to provide one last burst of catharsis before putting a button on this arc about Jack’s death, and Rebecca’s impromptu tree memorial does that perfectly. The remaining Pearsons begin to make peace with the idea of a future without Jack, which allows the show’s audience to do the same (it helps that we know Milo Ventimiglia will be still sticking around in the flashbacks). Yet while I enjoyed watching “The Car,” I found myself even more interested in the question of where the show goes from here.

In order to maintain the mystery of his death, This Is Us has entirely avoided depicting the time period between Jack’s demise in 1998 and the Big Three’s twenties in 2008. I’m really excited to see the show finally delve into that hugely formative and deeply troubled time in our main characters’ lives. In fact, although I’m not entirely sure the writers want us to think about it, a lot of the heartwarming moments from the end of this episode are lessened by the fact that we know how imperfect the Pearsons’ relationships with one another go on to be for the next 20 years.

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I’m also really curious to see how much This Is Us is willing to tear down Jack’s legacy after his death. Though it makes sense that an episode featuring his funeral would memorialize Jack’s heroic qualities, there’s also an argument to be made that Jack’s compulsive need to be a hero is what led to his death. Rebecca firmly tells Kate that Jack’s death wasn’t her fault and I have to agree. It was Jack’s hubris that got him killed and if I were Rebecca I would be really, really pissed at him for that—if not right away than at least at some point. So far, teenage Kevin is the only Pearson to channel his grief into anger (although he lashes out at Randall, rather than at his dad), but I think This Is Us could mine a lot of strong storytelling from the anger the other Pearsons might eventually feel towards a man they also can’t bear to denigrate.

Or maybe This Is Us will never delve into the question of whether Jack was too heroic for his own good. This show is inconsistent about when it wants to tackle tough emotional realities. But it’s surprised me in the past and I’m hoping it will again in the future. Jack Pearson was a complicated man and while this episode is a moving tribute to his strengths, I think there’s still a lot more to be said about his flaws too.

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Stray observations

  • The Big Three’s first concert was Weird Al Yankovic, which is delightful.
  • While talking to Kevin and Randall about his childhood, Jack confirms that his brother died in Vietnam. I’m glad the show isn’t setting up “How did Nicky die?” as its next big mystery.
  • I definitely believe Jack as a lame dad who prefers Bruce Springsteen to Alanis Morissette; I don’t for a second believe him as someone with the uncanny ability to predict the endings of movies.
  • I’m curious about Rebecca’s extended family, none of whom seem to be much help to her at the funeral. Are her parents still around in 1998? Doesn’t she theoretically have a sister we still haven’t met?
  • The 1998 Super Bowl took place on January 25th yet during Jack’s funeral there are leaves on all the trees and Rebecca has bare legs.
  • The way Hannah Zeile delivers the line, “Mom, is it possible that we don’t do all of it?” while spreading Jack’s ashes made me tear up both while watching the episode and while typing it here.
  • “I’ve memorized all the phobias.”
  • In case you missed Mandy Moore’s helpful PSA, This Is Us is taking a break for the Olympics but will return with a new episode on February 27th. See you back here then!

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The Pearsons begin to put together the pieces after Jack’s death and the family car is chronicled through flashbacks in the newest episode of This Is Us.

It’s the day of Jack’s funeral. The Pearsons are staying in a motel after their home burned down. They are as broken as you would imagine. Kevin can’t tie his tie, Kate doesn’t want her dog anymore and Rebecca is trying her best to stay strong for the kids. The episode made the family car, a Jeep Grand Wagoner, a new character as a series of flashbacks and formative moments of the family history were retold.

We pick ourselves up and we do the best we can. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/voz9d6Onzu

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

Whether it was buying the car from the dealership when the family planned to leave with a used car to Randall and Kevin and Jack helping their mom get over her fear of bridges when there was a traffic jam due to construction on the bridge.

Then there was Jack and Rebecca dealing with a potential health crisis. Rebecca is scared but Jack is convinced she is going to find out she is okay. They sit outside the tree, the same tree that Kevin sat when he called her last episode to thank her for being so strong and how hard that must have been on her. Jack’s faith was rewarded with a phone call giving her a clean bill of health. Back inside the car, Jack tells Rebecca she’s going to live forever, meaning he’s going to die first. He shares he doesn’t want to be buried.

You are full of surprises, Jack Pearson. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/Yg7BR75g40

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

At the funeral, Rebecca tries to get there as Jack arrives and leaves with him in the urn after the service. She was numb. Randall spoke about hoping to find a love like the love his dad had for his mom as the camera shows Rebecca’s moon necklace, the same special necklace that Jack retrieved after going back in the burning home.

He taught us to be brave. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/ffLpEJ13o7

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

The funeral scene was over quickly. Miguel spoke and got very emotional, more so than when he buried his own mother. The scene was quiet otherwise and without music. It felt very empty and that’s what Rebecca and the Big Three is experiencing. They aren’t able to listen to everyone say how sorry they are or all the good things people have to say about Jack. It’s hard to process all of that. You’re just trying to get through it.

Jack teaching Randall how to drive is our next priceless moment in the car. Randall’s first time on the road is a nervous time for him and Kevin is letting him have it from the backseat. Kevin is teasing him and almost causes a crash of their own after running a stop sign. Wasting no time, Jack makes the boys get out of the car and walk the five miles home.

👋 pic.twitter.com/r7TNsMwvFW

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

When they get home, Jack tells him, he doesn’t understand their relationship. Jack tells them about his brother Nicky and how he was his best friend. He went to war and he died and it’s been hard to reminisce since. This is the impetus to repair the broken relationship with Kevin and Randall because Jack and Rebecca aren’t going to be around forever. All they have is each other and their sister Kate. No one can share that bond and while they may not realize the gravity of that in the moment. I can relate, my dad gave me and my brothers that talk many times when we were growing up and seemingly always at each other’s throats. I have to remember those words since he’s gone, just like Kevin and Randall have to remember.

Kevin instigates a fight after the burial when he sees Randall wearing their dad’s watch. Kevin is just as upset when he learns that his mom said it was okay for Randall to wear it. He always thought she loved him more than him. Kevin is upset Randall is putting on a front as the new man of the house and blames Randall for letting their dad go back in the house. Kevin thinks Randall should have stopped him. Randall pokes back by saying he wasn’t there.

You’re right, Kate. You’re no Alanis.

You’re Kate Pearson. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/cTdrLATTWM

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

Back in the car, Jack catches Kate ditching school so she can go to an Alanis Morissette event at Jerry’s Records. Jack totally doesn’t like the music and is in total shock when Kate tells him she won five Grammys. Jack plays some Bruce Springsteen, that’s the music he likes, and another callback to the concert tickets that Rebecca found in the car at the opening scene of the episode. Kate tells Jack she’s been writing her own music for fun. Her dad tells her to defy the odds and to go after what her heart wants because what her heart wants, she gets. After bonding over Springsteen, Jack tells Kate he’ll get them tickets sometime. I really wish there was a some time.

Kate is really beating herself up for her dad going back in the fire. She doesn’t understand how he died. I think she knows how he died but is going through the stages of grief and is trying to fully make sense of the non-sensical. There is no understanding. There is no blame. She should definitely feel guilty for what happened.

When life hands you the sourest lemons, you just have to make the best lemonade you can.

Rebecca sees Dr. Nathan Katowski, the doctor that delivered Kevin and Kate, and who told Jack and Rebecca that their third child, Kyle, didn’t make it. But he’s also the same doctor who gave Jack the talk that helped inspire him to adopt Randall. He has been with the Pearson family from the very beginning. Dr. K is remarried and happy and shares memories of Jack coming to meet him for parental advice, unbeknownst to Rebecca. A new father is the most fearful creature alive, Dr. K tells Rebecca who feels guilt for not being there when Jack died. He wanted to keep them happy, healthy, safe, and he did a pretty good job taking care of his family and he tells Rebecca that she will too. He tells her she’s the same woman who lost a child and rolled out of the hospital with three children. She doesn’t think she can do this. She has to. She’s made one of the sweetest batches of lemonade he’s ever seen.

There’s even light in the darkest times. Share this moment of a reunion with an old friend, presented by @Chevrolet. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/58akpCCyzv

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

The final trip in the car with Jack sees the family on the way home from the grocery store where they stocked up on food for the Super Bowl. Jack teases the family about a special surprise he has in store for them next Saturday. They bolt from the funeral and sit under Jack’s tree. They’re crying as Rebecca proves she is capable of doing this on her own now.

She tells Kevin and Randall they don’t have to compete to be the man of the house. They have to be teenagers, and occassionally help around the house.

She tells Kate she can’t blame herself for going back in the house. It was not her fault. He was a grown man who made a choice.

Together, they spread Jack’s ashes around his tree.

The surprise Jack had for the family was tickets to see Springsteen.

Rebecca tells Jack they’re going to be okay. That was Jack’s concern. His only concern. He wanted his wife to be okay. He wants his kids to be okay. And the family told their story. They’re okay in the car.

We’re going to be okay, Jack. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/9L5ZPJtMHN

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

The Car This Is Us Season 2, Episode 15

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This Is Us takes the next two weeks off as the Winter Olympics take over NBC and the first of three remaining episodes this season will air on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Everyone with a heart spent most of the first season of This is Us sobbing into an already-soggy Kleenex, mostly because of the show’s amazing cast and trademark, tear-jerking twists. While many of the characters that made you cry are members of the Pearson family, it was Nathan Katowski, the Pearson family doctor, who delivered some of season one’s weepiest moments (as well as the Pearson triplets). Now that Gerald McRaney has won the Emmy Award for Best Drama Guest Actor for playing the wise physician, it’s time to revisit every time he made you reach for the tissue box. Here’s hoping there’s more Dr. K in season two.

You have to love Dr. K. Getty Images

1. When he consoled Jack after baby Kyle was stillborn by opening up about his own stillborn child.

Just when you thought there was nothing anyone could say to Jack after he learned that one of his three children didn’t make it into the world, Dr. K came through with the terrible fact that he knew exactly how Jack felt. Up until this moment, Dr. K was just a cool OBGYN who cracked a few jokes, but he didn’t shy away from being a solemn, helpful presence for Jack.

2. When he gave us the “sourest lemon” speech that Kate, Kevin, and Randall still quote.

“I like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me talking a young man’s ear off explaining to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade. If you can do that, then maybe you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned.”

He forged their family with just two sentences. When has your fave ever???

“You take that lemon and you run with it, Jack.” Getty Images

3. When we learned he keeps his deceased wife’s closet exactly as she left it.

As surprising as it was to see Dr. K out of his scrubs, the episode that revisited what Jack, Kate, Kevin, and Randall’s date of birth was like before the doctor came on the scene was heartbreaking. Everything in his house is exactly as it was when Nathan’s wife died, and watching him move through that mausoleum drove home the depths of his grief.

4. And that he talks to her all the time even though she’s gone.

After 53 years together, the habit of having his best friend and wife around to talk to must have been hard to break.

5. When he shows that meeting the Pearsons was the first thing that helped him move on from her death.

Speaking to Jack about his wife and their stillborn child wasn’t just a turning point in Jack and Rebecca’s life, it also was the push Dr. K needed to learn to live with, instead of in, his grief.

Did anybody else get Up vibes? Getty Images

6. And of course, when he meets that nice lady at the store and hints that there may be more hope and more love in this life than Dr. K realized.

Go and get that love, Dr. K. You deserve every minute of it.

7. When sweet, sweet little Randall buys him a snow globe when he’s afraid Dr. K isn’t going to make it through surgery.

He was saving the money but he bought a present to make Dr. K smile oh my god why is tiny Randall the best kid ever?!

8. And Randall thanks him for convincing the Pearsons to adopt him as a baby.

Even better was when Dr. K assured Randall that he only encouraged the Pearsons to do what they already wanted to do, which made Randall feel like he truly had a wanted place in their lives. Leave it to Dr. K to make sure a little boy knows he’s been loved from the start, even as he thinks his own life is coming to a close. Does anyone else smell onions? I smell onions.

Little Randall is all of our sons. Getty Images

9. When Dr. K managed to get a joke about crummy hospital lighting out while on his (presumed) deathbed.

10. And when he pulled through his surgery…because nothing bad ever happens on Christmas.

Nothing. Bad. Ever. Happens. On. Christmas. Except for Toby’s heart attack, that was pretty bad but he pulled through! Because Christmas!

Dr. K Returned To ‘This Is Us’ & His Speech To Rebecca Was Everything

This Is Us fans were greeted with a very welcome, old face on Tuesday night’s new episode… and after that heart-wrenching Super Bowl episode, we really needed it. Dr. K returned to This Is Us with a super inspiring speech, and it was easily one of the most emotional highlights of the new episode.

Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you haven’t seen Season 2 Episode 15 of This Is Us, titled “The Car,” for yourself yet. Tuesday night’s new episode followed up the absolutely tragic death reveal of the post-Super Bowl episode with another truly heartbreaking episode. The episode was entirely set in flashbacks, jumping back and forth between sweet memories Jack shared with Rebecca, Kevin, Randall, and Kate when he was alive, and the Pearson family on the day of Jack’s funeral. The common thread connecting all these vignettes was the Pearson family’s car, a Jeep Wagoner that we see Jack buying for the family in the opening scene. We saw Jack bonding with Rebecca and the kids at various time periods in the station wagon, from heart-to-hearts with Kate about Alanis Morissette, to teaching Randall and Kevin how to drive, to a brain tumor scare with Rebecca.

And the car was also with the family as they drove to Jack’s funeral, which was another huge, emotionally-taxing moment, as Rebecca, Kevin, Randall, and Kate all held back tears while a priest spoke over an urn of Jack’s ashes. The emotional weight of Jack’s sudden death nearly broke Rebecca… but she got some very helpful words from an old friend that inspired her to keep going. That’s right, y’all — Dr. K is back, and you know he has the perfect inspirational speech for the moment, just like he always does.

Towards the end of the episode, the man that delivered Rebecca’s kids stopped by to check in on her. After Jack’s funeral, Dr. K came to Rebecca to give her exactly what she needed: a huge pick-me-up. Rebecca confessed to Dr. K that she is afraid she will not be a good enough mother without Jack by her side, but the good doctor reminded her of her strength and reassured her that she was already an incredible mother, and would continue to be one even though Jack is gone. Honestly, it was probably the most uplifting and touching moment in an episode full of tissue-grabbing scenes, and it was so beautiful to see Dr. K come back. After all, he was there at the very beginning of this journey, so it only felt right that he should be here for Jack’s final moments.

Check out Dr. K’s full inspirational speech that he gave to Rebecca below:

This Is Us on YouTube

And of course, Twitter completely broke down in tears at just the sight of Dr. K… and then again when he delivered that beautiful speech. Check out the best Twitter reactions to Dr. K’s big return below:

And the most beautiful part of Dr. K’s speech was that we actually got to see how Rebecca took his words to heart and stepped up to the plate to be an amazing mother following Jack’s funeral. After she took the kids out to Jack’s favorite tree to spread his ashes, she swallowed her grief and showed her strength to her children, telling Randall and Kevin that neither one of them needs to worry about becoming the man of the house, and Kate that she should not blame herself for Jack’s death. Then she revealed Jack had bought them all Bruce Springsteen concert tickets and suggested they go enjoy the night.

The real moment of strength came when Rebecca was driving to the concert and reached an old bridge that she always closes her eyes while crossing. Except this time, she crossed the bridge with her eyes open.

NBC gave viewers a double dose of This Is Us this week, because the network clearly knew we needed some closure after learning the reason behind Jack’s death Sunday night.

In “The Car” episode, which aired Tuesday, Jack’s funeral takes place and the Pearson’s station wagon is used to journey viewers down the family’s memory lane. The bonus episode did not disappoint as the series’ writers once again magically weaved their subtle symbolism throughout the characters’ storylines. Did you catch all of the hidden meanings in the plot?

Check out our recap below of some of the clues you may have missed.

1. Dr. K’s return was the first sign Jack ever sent Rebecca

“You made one of the sweetest damn pitchers of lemonade I ever saw.”
Thank you, friend. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/9z5B5QJVhB

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

In “Super Bowl Sunday,” Rebecca told Kevin that Jack has always given her a sign on the anniversary of his death. One year, it was a song of theirs that played twice in her car radio, and this year it was Kevin reconnecting with his mother.

In “The Car” episode, Dr. K reveals to Rebecca that her husband always used to pay him a visit when he needed some guidance. Since Jack knew that Rebecca needed a shoulder to lean on after his untimely passing, is it possible he sent her Dr. K to help her heal?

2. Dr. K married the woman from the supermarket in Season 1

NBC

In “The Big Day” episode from last season, viewers saw how Dr. K mourned the death of his wife on the same day he delivered the Pearson babies. A woman named Anne approached him at the supermarket and asked to make him dinner sometime, but Dr. K brushed off her invitation because he did not feel ready to move on just yet. In last night’s episode, Anne reemerges on the show as Dr. K’s new wife.

3. Miguel and Rebecca lock eyes at Jack’s funeral

NBC

During Miguel’s eulogy, he comments on how difficult of a time he is having dealing with best friend Jack’s death. “I’m not sure if there’s enough water in this world to get me through today,” he says before making eye contact with Rebecca. Immediately after, Randall gives his eulogy, in which he talks about the strong love that his mother and father shared. The camera also then pans down to Rebecca’s moon necklace, which Jack gave her. The sequence of these events is interesting to note since we know eventually Miguel and Rebecca end up being partners in life. Could it be the writers’ way of telling viewers that somehow Jack divinely intervened for Rebecca and Miguel to end up together?

4. Rebecca conquers her fear of bridges

Rebecca went over the bridge. Kevin held Randall. They’re going to be okay. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/sVBQE7NDbW

— This Is Us Crying (@thisisuscrying) February 7, 2018

In the beginning of the episode, Rebecca’s phobia of bridges is revealed. She panics as the family crosses a bridge under construction on their way to a Weird Al Yankovic concert. Some may have not caught that after Jack’s funeral, Rebecca is forced to drive over a bridge once again to get to the Bruce Springsteen concert. It is the first fear that she has had to overcome without her husband and symbolizes her newfound strength as the leader of the household.

5. Rebecca’s health is brought to the forefront

Hug a loved one tonight.
We’ll see you Tuesday, February 27 for more #ThisIsUs. pic.twitter.com/WdtYkZWAmq

— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 7, 2018

As we noted in our “Super Bowl Sunday” recap, no detail, object or quote is to be ignored on This Is Us. In last night’s episode, the writers included a scene in which Rebecca’s health is discussed. After a few dizzy spells, Rebecca gets some tests done at the doctor. “We’ve just got to be sure that it’s not something more serious,” Jack tells his wife. “Yeah, like a brain tumor,” she responds.

Not to be a downer, but this could be a possible clue that Rebecca will have to deal with this kind of medical issue in a future storyline. Remember in our previous recap how we pointed out that old Randall is pictured in a hospital room (not an office setting like on the show)? In a separate scene this episode, Jack also tells his sons, “Your mom and I are not going to be around forever.”

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Eileen Reslen I’m Eileen, the digital news reporter at Hearst Digital Media.

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Cite this article as: Kotowski A, Ma W. Emerging therapies in pancreas cancer. J Gastrointest Oncol. 2011;2(2):93-103. DOI:10.3978/j.issn.2078-6891.2011.002