Let’s Discuss ‘This Is Us’: Goodbye, Mother

She’s on the train, and you know what that means

THIS IS US -- “The Train” Episode 617 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Hartley as Kevin, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Mandy Moore as Rebecca -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
Let's Discuss 'This Is Us'

It’s the penultimate episode of This Is Us, and the whole Mother gang has gathered to say adieu. Yes, viewers are confused about timeline inconsistencies and no one knows what year it is (2034?), but the important thing is that we’ve made it here — whenever here is — together, to needlessly suffer through another torturously sad hour about a fake lady. Let’s see if she died.




Thank you. Before she leaves us, Mother is on a nice train, and she’s looking young and fancy. As it turns out, this is a train ride to death, and Senator Brother’s birth father is there to guide her. (Death is in the caboose.) On her way she meets important men from her past: the doctor who delivered her kids, her Special Friend. And she listens to her family say their goodbyes over the train’s telecom system, in a way that I have to admit is quite spooky.

In the non-train realm, everyone has gathered at the cabin. Sister isn’t there, and some viewers suspected this meant she died before Mother, but in fact she did not; she’s just in London and she’s on her way. Each family member, including Sister’s Ex-Husband, files in one by one to say goodbye to Mother. It is, for the viewer who has willingly and unnecessarily entered into this years-long experiment in emotional manipulation, torture. Mother is not meant to make it much longer, but in the train realm she mentions quite frequently that she’s waiting for someone, and it turns out that that someone is Sister. She holds onto life until Sister gets home, and then she lets go. In the caboose, she reunites with Father.

And she has a vesper!


Yes. Two other things, really. The first is that Senator Brother’s eldest daughter is pregnant with the child of her formerly teenage father ex-boyfriend now soon-to-be-father-again current boyfriend. Isn’t that just how it is? Life and death?

The other thing that happened is: we followed an unknown-to-us family who got into a car accident. The last time this happened, it was because a guy from the unknown-to-us family invented the technology that led to Zoom. (That was when the show was This Is Pandemic.) This time, it’s because the doctor who let Father die was tending to a child from this family while Father was dying. But guess what? That child went on to create breakthrough Alzheimer's medication. (Plus pre-death Father met this child’s father in the hospital waiting room and told him something about lemons that went on to be his family’s motto.)

So it’s almost a good thing that no doctor in the hospital realized Father was about to die of too much smoke inhalation…


It’s sort of a trolley problem. Or a caboose problem, really! LOL.


Next time: Maybe we see everyone die like in the final episode of Six Feet Under.