10 Times This Is Us Broke Our Hearts This Season

The saddest moments from the first season of the emotional NBC series.

by | March 14, 2017 | Comments

This Is Us (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

This Is Us should actually be called This Is Us Crying. It’s got a proven track record of getting emotional every week, and it keeps fans coming back. Viewers want to be moved, and even if it’s brutal, it means the characters and the storytelling work.

No, you’re ugly crying!

In anticipation of the season finale, Rotten Tomatoes looks back at the most heartbreaking moments in the first season of This Is Us.


William (Ron Cephas Jones)’s funeral was an emotional episode. It turns out William touched everyone, from addicts in his support group to the mailman who wasn’t in direct contact with the family so his reaction to the news was fresh. The late William Hill took one of his last moments on the road to Memphis to send thanks to a person who did the heavy lifting of taking care of him in his final months. Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) received William’s postcard after the memorial. His final note, “to the daughter I never had,” gives William the legacy of redemption he so craved at the end of his life.


Kids can be so cruel. Nine-year-old Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak)’s friends told her to stop playing with them because they were embarrassed by her weight. They didn’t even tell her to her face. They wrote a letter and draw a picture of a pig. Every kid has been picked on at some point so it’s painful to relive that through Kate’s suffering. It’s gotta be especially brutal for any parent to imagine their children being hurt that way.


The Pearson family keeps getting bigger but it’s not always in a good way. When money got tight, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) sucked it up and asked his dad for help. But something was very wrong because Mr. Pearson Sr. doesn’t even know Jack has a family. Jack was protecting them from his abusive father. Imagine how bad it would have to be if Jack would rather tell him he’s relapsed as a gambling addict than introduce his dad to three grandchildren.


This Is Us (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

This was scary. Right before Christmas, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) broke up. They got back together. but make-up sex gave Toby a heart attack! (It wasn’t the holiday cheer.) After his intimate encounter with Kate, he collapsed in the living room right before the end of the episode, and then it was a month before This Is Us came back. Fortunately, Toby survived, but that was one tough Christmas. Don’t they know the holidays are already stressful enough for everyone?


This Is Us - Sterling K. Brown (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

It took Randall (Sterling K. Brown) nearly 40 years to work up the courage to find and confront his father, William. Just as he was getting to know him, Randall found letters from Rebecca (Mandy Moore) in William’s home. They’d corresponded his whole life. Randall forgave his mother, but the thought of all this lost time was too much. A nice postscript to this moment was when Rebecca confessed to Randall after William’s funeral. It’s one thing to admit she was scared to lose him to a new father, but Rebecca went further to apologize for depriving him of time. Randall replying that he got enough to know he loved William was sure a silver-lining way to look at a tragedy.


Even the minor characters get emotional gut punches on This Is Us. In the flashback to the day before the triplets’ birth, the fireman (Brian Oblak) who brought Randall to the hospital got a whole story. His marriage was in so much trouble, he was willing to adopt the abandoned baby to save his marriage. His wife refused and Randall’s adoption is Pearson family history. But the gesture may have still saved his marriage. Please, This Is Us, show the happy fireman in 2017!


Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) had to deliver the worst news parents could hear after he delivered the triplets, one of whom did not survive. When This Is Us showed the day before the birth, it went deep into Dr. K’s life. He was a widower himself, fighting his kids over the family house. But when he got the call to the ER, he was at his wife’s grave pouring his heart out. McRaney broke down so hard at the tombstone, getting called to the ER might’ve actually saved him.


This Is Us had been preparing Randall, and fans, for the death of his estranged father William. By the time they reconnected, William already had terminal cancer. No one expected it to come so soon though. Randall took William on a road trip to Memphis, but William didn’t make it back. They had to say their goodbyes in a hospital on the road. William left Randall with some parting wisdom (roll the windows down, let someone else make the bed…), and Randall’s solo return home was so stoic, he looked exactly like it feels every time you have to put on a brave face during a crisis.


This Is Us (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

When Kate offered to introduce Toby to her father, everyone was really hoping to see Ventimiglia in old-age makeup. Instead, in one of the show’s most emotional twists, it was Jack’s urn. That makes it a little easier to swallow that Rebecca remarried. They may not have divorced. She just became a widow. Still, losing Jack was a huge blow, compounded by the game This Is Us is playing. They haven’t exactly said when Jack dies. Maybe they’ll say in the season finale, but maybe not. The waiting is even harder. When Kate flashed back to Jack’s funeral, the kids seemed older, perhaps teenagers, so maybe there’s hope Jack can make it to the ’90s.


THIS IS US - Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

There’s nothing worse than losing a child. The Pearsons had to go through it twice. In the very first episode, only two of the triplets make it, inspiring Jack to adopt Randall. Then, the episode “The Big Day” culminated in the same birthing scene, but showed he more detailed conversation of Jack having to tell Rebecca they lost one.

Which moment from This Is Us’s first season made you cry the most? Did we leave one out? Tell us in the comments!

The season finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday, March 14 at 9/8 C on NBC

Tag Cloud

FX hispanic Sneak Peek TV renewals Countdown Character Guide Paramount Network rt labs Best and Worst sequel GoT book adaptation The Witch Set visit werewolf cancelled WarnerMedia Dark Horse Comics cooking Thanksgiving strong female leads Winter TV Fox News Apple TV Plus Fantasy FXX free movies stand-up comedy Crackle Binge Guide docuseries hispanic heritage month science fiction scary movies heist movie Hear Us Out The Academy casting Mary Tyler Moore TNT best theme song ABC comic books CNN spanish festival cartoon IFC Films a nightmare on elm street Paramount Plus transformers RT21 A&E Broadway scary nfl Legendary green book true crime DirecTV Cartoon Network Polls and Games remakes comic book movie slasher Cannes Year in Review 2018 dragons australia movies 45 TV movies new york The Walt Disney Company CBS All Access screen actors guild action-comedy spider-man IMDb TV 2015 Wes Anderson spain Musicals Amazon Prime Video travel Showtime Opinion Comics on TV reboot dceu USA king kong debate scorecard sports Netflix 1990s Biopics Pacific Islander gangster Schedule Ghostbusters Fox Searchlight rotten movies we love Teen political drama kids satire Disney+ Disney Plus Family popular Box Office First Reviews directors Extras LGBT Hallmark Christmas movies Oscars spanish language YouTube Red BET Awards 99% jamie lee curtis VOD mission: impossible godzilla toy story NYCC spider-verse football Comic-Con@Home 2021 japan Toys El Rey anime ID New York Comic Con Kids & Family all-time Marvel Studios rt archives FOX serial killer zombie thriller Cosplay Alien Image Comics films AMC VICE Instagram Live Red Carpet ratings Tubi The CW USA Network Disney new zealand Emmys aliens ABC Signature Arrowverse festivals GIFs Columbia Pictures Avengers Superheroes DC Comics mob Musical crime The Arrangement justice league Sundance Now MCU spy thriller comic Infographic Pixar comiccon FX on Hulu Vudu Trivia Quiz History CW Seed Podcast Peacock Television Critics Association cats comedies X-Men dc critics Warner Bros. TCA Winter 2020 basketball BBC One nbcuniversal animated children's TV Nickelodeon foreign sitcom dogs canceled TV shows Trailer Spectrum Originals Nominations Sundance TV dark versus south america biography Television Academy indiana jones dreamworks witnail elevated horror Stephen King Mindy Kaling psychological thriller series police drama child's play binge emmy awards critic resources classics jurassic park singing competition Comedy trailers Chernobyl Film Festival adventure news Christmas japanese Photos award winner social media Academy Awards vs. Elton John Amazon cancelled television Black Mirror chucky Action book E3 Food Network Mudbound Star Trek Disney Plus Ovation teaser art house criterion Apple TV+ fresh black live event war Certified Fresh Brie Larson HBO Go Spring TV Valentine's Day television Film Esquire Universal Pictures hist Superheroe Super Bowl archives joker disaster breaking bad Captain marvel zero dark thirty black comedy mutant rotten Crunchyroll cinemax Pop worst Hulu crossover franchise Disney streaming service young adult Tarantino ghosts DC streaming service Western romantic comedy Syfy comic book movies cults TIFF Endgame TruTV christmas movies Fall TV Rom-Com Mary poppins BBC ABC Family TCA 2017 miniseries Country marvel cinematic universe discovery TV One Song of Ice and Fire mockumentary Lionsgate politics halloween parents Hallmark VH1 NBC dramedy prank CBS OWN kaiju suspense supernatural halloween tv Pet Sematary lord of the rings Sony Pictures posters Women's History Month medical drama anthology monster movies deadpool sequels streaming movies royal family boxing aapi Tumblr Chilling Adventures of Sabrina target universal monsters razzies superhero ViacomCBS 21st Century Fox Britbox Tokyo Olympics Drama Turner finale wonder woman Martial Arts Awards toronto rt labs critics edition game show Travel Channel Pop TV CMT blockbusters quibi video Trophy Talk 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Amazon Studios scene in color Holidays Shondaland A24 San Diego Comic-Con based on movie The Purge feel good Exclusive Video TCA Grammys diversity TCM WGN DGA 4/20 legend italian YA renewed TV shows slashers BAFTA BET Awards Tour Lifetime Rocky unscripted worst movies stoner Baby Yoda new star wars movies twilight Holiday crime thriller Apple biopic revenge genre Mary Poppins Returns Reality Competition Premiere Dates Disney Channel BBC America Rocketman First Look President Netflix Christmas movies 90s ESPN romance hidden camera SundanceTV marvel comics asian-american period drama video on demand HBO Max Calendar die hard Election American Society of Cinematographers zombies crime drama Masterpiece Walt Disney Pictures king arthur latino cancelled TV shows pirates of the caribbean ITV YouTube Marvel Television telelvision TV Land MTV high school The Walking Dead National Geographic Classic Film what to watch venice Acorn TV Amazon Prime nature Bravo women james bond 24 frames Pride Month indie saw 2016 Star Wars Watching Series GLAAD E! 73rd Emmy Awards Starz spinoff mcc Ellie Kemper adaptation Adult Swim PBS 2019 Logo Nat Geo french cancelled TV series technology OneApp facebook Music batman IFC vampires Marathons Neflix rom-coms talk show golden globes 20th Century Fox RT History Tomatazos Lucasfilm richard e. Grant psycho PaleyFest tv talk NBA Spike Heroines space documentary MSNBC laika dexter AMC Plus Interview Anna Paquin SDCC APB name the review international blockbuster TV Horror Discovery Channel docudrama doctor who HBO Emmy Nominations streaming kong TBS natural history YouTube Premium know your critic Turner Classic Movies independent robots fast and furious Comedy Central Sundance LGBTQ TCA Awards harry potter 007 Black History Month Video Games Reality See It Skip It concert cops composers PlayStation Marvel historical drama Universal sopranos Creative Arts Emmys adenture game of thrones Animation stop motion obituary TLC Sci-Fi Summer Rock live action Epix 2017 reviews 2021 Freeform Pirates comics screenings Funimation golden globe awards olympics 2020 Writers Guild of America canceled Lifetime Christmas movies boxoffice Paramount cars 71st Emmy Awards sag awards superman Winners SXSW DC Universe blaxploitation documentaries Shudder hollywood movie 72 Emmy Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Mystery Comic Book 93rd Oscars