Nothing bad happens on Christmas Eve. At least on This Is Us, nothing bad happens on Christmas Eve. This is a mantra that Rebecca came up with in 1989, which all of the Pearson children have repeated year after year, all the way up to present day. But is that really true? In the winter finale, “Last Christmas,” Randall has a random encounter with a co-worker at a holiday party, Kate gets a happy surprise and Kevin celebrates the holiday with an unlikely person.

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Nothing Bad Happens on Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas in 1989, and the Pearsons are getting ready to celebrate Christmas Eve when Kate has stomach pains. At first, Rebecca writes it off as too many cookies, but the Pearsons end up in the hospital as Kate undergoes an appendectomy. Before she heads into surgery, Rebecca tells Kate that she knows everything will be okay because nothing bad ever happens on Christmas Eve.

As they wait for Kate to come out, Rebecca stumbles upon Dr. K in a hospital bed. He explains that he was in a car accident, and there is a hemorrhage near his heart. Basically, he’s dying. Since his family is in Montana, the Pearsons rally around him. Jack calls it fate, while Dr. K is just glad to be around friendly faces. Randall even buys him a snow globe with his own money as a thank you for his adoption, which brings Dr. K to tears.

Kate wakes up after her surgery with her family by her side. Dr. K also wakes up with the Pearsons by his side on Christmas Eve.

Is Rebecca Responsible?

A few hours before Christmas dinner in present day, Kate takes Rebecca to the doctor to learn about the gastric bypass surgery. There are a lot of risks and rules, which Kate seems willing to take. But Rebecca, obviously, has hesitations. And she’s shocked that Kate has taken anti-depressants and still binges on food.

In the car ride home, Kate says she doesn’t want to go to Randall’s house for Christmas. Outside Rebecca’s house, she asks Kate if she’s responsible for the weight and the self-esteem issues that Kate has. Kate says she doesn’t know. Rebecca brings up the Christmas of 1989 and once again mentions that nothing bad happens on Christmas. This is kind of an awkward moment because there’s clearly some bad history between Kate and Rebecca, but we just don’t know it yet.

A New Love and Old Love

After news that their play has been canceled because the star, Olivia, is missing, playwright Sloane is pretty pissed at Kevin. Of course, he gets defensive, saying it’s not his fault. Sloane is even more upset because she has to face her family for Hanukkah dinner, so she tells Kevin he has to go with her. When he asks why, she simply says that she told her mother she was dating The Manny.

Over Hanukkah dinner, Kevin plays a fake boyfriend, even trying to ease the tension between Sloane and her sister. During the storytelling part of the evening, Kevin comes up with an idea to fund the play themselves to get it up and running, with Sloane as the lead instead of Olivia.

Meanwhile, William heads to a meeting to talk about how grateful he is to be clean, and if he hadn’t cleaned up his act, he never would have met his son. After he speaks, a man named Jesse speaks. He explains how he too found love, but that love left him and he turned to drugs again, but he’s slowly getting back on track. It’s clear Jesse is talking about William.

After the meeting, William calls Randall to say he’ll be late to Christmas Eve. Jesse confronts William about why he left. William explains that he’s sick and doesn’t have much time left, and he didn’t want to burden Jesse with that. Jesse, however, says that he’d like to spend William’s remaining time with him. William is happy to oblige.

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A Random Pearson Family Christmas

With everyone doing their own thing, Randall pouts to Beth at his holiday party. As his boss hands out bonuses, Beth finds out that Randall bought a boat from his co-worker Andy. Beth tells him that he has to sell the boat back and worries that he’s depressed. Randall finally agrees to find Andy and sell it back.

When Randall finds Andy, he’s on the roof of the building, getting ready to jump off. Randall tries to talk some sense into him, but Andy thinks this is his only option after his wife filed for divorce when she found out about his affair. When Andy tells Randall he doesn’t know pain like him, Randall gives a brief summary of what he’s been dealing with and then switches the conversation to Andy’s daughter, Chloe. He tells Andy that Chloe will forgive him, but she won’t ever forgive him if he commits suicide. He also tells Andy that it’s his job as a father to always be there for Chloe.

When Beth interrupts them, Randall freaks out and turns away for a second. When he turns back around, Andy is gone. Randall thinks he jumped, but he sees Andy walking through the party to leave. And, obviously, Randall is relieved because, again, nothing bad ever happens on Christmas Eve.

Back at the house, as the girls get into their pajamas, Kevin and Sloane walk into Randall’s house. After brief introductions, another knock at the door reveals Kate, Rebecca and Miguel. And soon, the girls see “Santa” outside, but it turns out to be Toby!

Kate is shocked and in tears as Toby explains that he flew six hours in the middle seat of a plane so he could be with her on Christmas. He says he’s back on his diet and the only thing he wants is her. They quickly run off for a quickie, as William and Jesse walk in for the celebration.

Randall is puzzled but somewhat relieved when he realizes his father is gay. And he seems happy that Jesse is there to make his father happy. Randall is also warming to Rebecca, as the family celebrates Christmas with games, songs, presents and stories.

But the fun quickly stops when Toby passes out in the living room. It seems he has a heart attack, and the episode ends with him in the operating room and the doctors trying to revive him. So perhaps bad things do happen on Christmas Eve?!

There They Go Again

The happy tears quickly turned into sad tears, as it seems This Is Us is back on that whole “let’s leave audiences shocked at the end of episodes” kick again. And, of course, it’s the winter finale, so we have to wait until 2017 to find out what happens to Toby. Not cool.

It’s great that we saw another side of William. I hope they explore his relationship with Jesse over the years. And I can only wonder if Rebecca knew about Jesse too. I’m glad that Randall just went along with this new information instead of freaking out like he always does. Perhaps running into his co-worker and talking him down off the ledge has literally given Randall a new perspective on life.

I was so happy for Kate when Toby came in. I thought, great, maybe she won’t have that surgery and they can work through her issues together. But then he had to go and have what I’m assuming is a heart attack. I can only assume this will send Kate into a tailspin depending on the outcome.

And I hope that Kevin and Sloane stay together. I like her much better than Olivia.

What did you think of the winter finale? Do you think the cliffhanger on This Is Us is unfair? What do you think will happen to Toby? Are you glad that Randall seems to have forgiven Rebecca? What do you think happened between Rebecca and Kate to make them so tense? Let us know in the comments section below.

This Is Us season 1 returns Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s This Is Us Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of NBC)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV