At this point, the season finale of This Is Us had better crush my childhood dreams, tear out a hangnail, and tell me I'm a disappointment to my family. The scare factor for the 18th — yes, the 18th — episode of the series has grown to an alarming degree, and it doesn't seem to be abetting anytime soon.
Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin in the series, told TV Guide that in order to "make it through the episode," viewers should "just breathe." (What is this? Labor?) Hartley also told E! Online, "[The season finale is] intense. It's intense, man. It gets heavy. Very heavy. This is a different kind of heavy. It's a different kind of heavy. It's gripping, but it's kind of a dangerous episode." It's dangerous in that it will rip your tear ducts to shreds, I suppose.
Variety interviewed the cast and creatives involved, and most of them had similarly fearmongering things to say. Series star Mandy Moore said — and mind you, this is a direct quote from an adult person — "We're going to destroy America by the end of this season."
She adds, rather helpfully, "As if they don’t have enough to be upset about at this point in time anyway." Yes, ma'am. We're in the middle of a tumultuous political period, here. In a way, it's somewhat baffling that this tragic show is so beloved. Why, in the midst of such turmoil, is America looking to weep at family drama?
Dana Walden, CEO of Fox Television group, attributes the popularity to the show's "cathartic" nature.
“There's a lot of pent-up emotion in this country, and people are finding it difficult to express it in appropriate ways," he told Variety. "And this is a show that you can watch and cry and feel a great degree of emotion. It's cathartic, on top of being really extraordinary television."
So, what I'm hearing is that the season finale of This Is Us is an excuse to explore all pent-up rage caused by various aspects of the current political system. That is actually something I can get behind. Now, I'm looking forward to the most cathartic episode of television, ever. And it had better be fucking purgative. If not, I shall be livid.