Now that we know how Jack died (and also, how Jack lived), This Is Us is clearly looking for another major character that they can use to completely wreck our emotions. Also, there are spoilers ahead for the season finale, so turn back now if you don’t want to know what’s happening in the future with the Pearsons. You’ve been fairly warned.
While the end of the season finale, “The Wedding,” teases that Toby is horribly sick (OMG NO, HOW DARE YOU), that’s only a year in the future. Remember when This Is Us pulled a fast one on us and introduced a third timeline, jumping years into the future, and introduced us to Old Randall and our world was, for lack of a better word, shook? Well, Old Randall — and Adult Tess! — are back. And things do not look good for them.
In the future, Tess is a social worker, after being inspired by how her parents took in Deja when she was a child. During the 14th episode of the season, we saw Old Randall go to visit Adult Tess…and we all couldn’t help but notice that Randall was alone, without his wife Beth, and we never actually saw his hands. Meaning, we couldn’t see if he was still wearing a wedding ring or not. Almost immediately, theories began circulating that This Is Us was getting ready to kill off Beth, and omg no, how dare you. In response to our freak out, This Is Us promised us that they weren’t killing off Beth.
However, we should have been more specific, and asked, “Hey are you killing off Beth *this season* or maybe in the future?”
Our trip to the third timeline in the season finale has Old Randall and Adult Tess sitting in her office. Old Randall tells his daughter, “It’s time to go see her,” to which Tess replies, “I’m not ready.”
“Me neither,” Old Randall responds and now CUT TO A SMILING HAPPY PRESENT-DAY VERY MUCH ALIVE BETH. Thanks to this editing, oh god, it’s heavily implied that in the future, Old Randall and Adult Tess have been shaken by tragedy themselves, possibly due to the fact that Beth has passed away.
This is only further supported by the fact that throughout the course of Kate’s wedding day, she keeps freaking out about Jack. Kate has to learn how to let go of Jack, and in the future, are Tess and Randall trying to do the same thing? Can’t This Is Us just make us happy for like *one second* before it has to go and rip our hearts out again?