'This Is Us': The Biggest Tearjerker Moments So Far (Photos)

Deaths, births, slow-cookers — where does it end?!?

Four seasons into “This Is Us” and the only thing fans can rely on more than the fact that they’re sure to get at least one twist or turn when they tune in each week is that they are definitely going to shed at least one — and usually more — tear per episode. Ahead of the NBC family drama’s Season 4 finale tonight, Tuesday, TheWrap has rounded up the show’s biggest tearjerker moments — both good and bad — so far. Obviously, spoilers ahead.Also Read: Spring TV 2020: Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Photos)

How Randall became the third tripletEven before the big time-jump twist was revealed on the pilot of “This Is Us,” the tears were already flowing when it was revealed that one of Jack and Rebecca’s triplets didn’t make it through childbirth. Struck by a moment of inspiration in grieving, the Pearsons decide to adopt a baby who had been abandoned and showed up at the hospital on the same day.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Series Premiere Recap: The Big Twist Revealed

Jack’s fateFirst, the show dropped the bombshell that Jack has been gone for so long that Randall’s kids consider someone else entirely their “grandpa.” We shouldn’t have been surprised to learn, then, that the Pearson family patriarch is actually dead, and had been since about 2006. Kate seems to have a hard time moving on from it, still maintaining a tradition of watching every Steelers game with her dad — even if it’s just his ashes left now.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Recap: Jack’s Fate Revealed as Family Secrets Spill

The truth about WilliamWe knew William was dying pretty early on, but that didn’t make him trustworthy. It took Beth gently chiding Randall about his inherent goodness and William’s shady behavior to get the truth out on the table: William isn’t still doing drugs, he’s been disappearing for hours on end each day in order to take the bus to his house to feed his cat. “Well now I feel like a bitch,” Beth quipped, and we wept.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Recap: Randall Gets His Name, and an Origin Story

Toby’s pastThe heartbreaking moments don’t belong exclusively to the Pearsons. When Kate pushes, Toby reveals exactly why he’s not with his gorgeous ex-wife Josie anymore: Turns out, she was so horrible to him that he became suicidal and gained 100 pounds in a year. Ouch.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Recap: ‘The Big Three’ Introduces a New Mystery

Kate the princessAfter being ostracized by her friends in the cruelest way possible, little Kate’s spirit was brought back to life thanks to a bit of magical storytelling by Jack, who hands her his t-shirt and tells her she can be anything she wants when she wears it, though she’s always a princess in his eyes. Who’s chopping onions around here?Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Recap: ‘The Big Three’ Introduces a New Mystery

Rebecca and ShakespeareFinding herself unable to bond with her adopted son after the death of one of her triplets, Rebecca seeks out the baby’s birth father instead of telling her husband. Their heart-to-heart, where she refused his request for visitation and he gives her the inspiration to name the baby Randall, is one of the show’s most gut-wrenching so far.Also Read: ‘This is Us’ Review: Dan Fogelman Mines Great Melodrama From Everyday Life

Randall just wants to fit inWhen the Pearsons discover little Randall is gifted, it seems like a great thing, until Jack gets it out of him that he’s been pretending to be not as smart as he is in order to fit in with his siblings.

Jack’s sacrificeThe Pearson patriarch decides to take the plunge and leave his steady job to open his own business – just as they get news that Randall is so smart he should attend a pricey private school. In the end, Jack puts his family first, taking a promotion he never wanted so his kids can thrive. Best. Dad. Ever.Also Read: ‘SNL': Sterling K Brown Stars in ‘This Is Us’ Parody About Trump White House (Video)

Kate’s deepest fearsThough Olivia’s delivery was less than ideal or compassionate, a revelatory weekend at their family cabin forces Kate to admit what she’s truly afraid of: That even if she goes through with gastric bypass and loses weight, she’ll still be unhappy.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Season 2 Finale: Here Are Our Best Possible Explanations for an Elderly Jack Pearson

Randall’s trip down memory laneOnly on this show could a bad hallucinogenic mushroom take the characters and the audience on a gut-wrenching emotional journey. As Randall reels from his mother’s betrayal, a vision of his dead father takes him down memory lane to reveal just how hard and lonely it must have been for his mother to keep such a secret to herself.Also Read: ‘This Is Us': Jack Pearson Is Old, Grey and Not Dead in Season 2 Finale Promo (Video)

Toby’s last Christmas?Just as Toby and Kate were joyfully reunited just in time for Christmas, he collapses, and ends up on an operating table. Cue hiatus and more potential heartbreak for the Pearsons.Also Read: Sterling K Brown on Which Secret Was Harder to Keep: ‘Black Panther’ Role or Jack’s Death on ‘This Is Us’

William chooses to dieAfter grappling with why he has such a problem with William spending so much time with Jesse, the father-son duo have another heartbreaking conversation, where William confesses he can feel the end is coming, and he’d like to stop chemo so he can enjoy his final days.Also Read: Super Bowl, Olympics and ‘This Is Us’ Make NBC No. 1 in Viewership for the First Time in 16 Years

Kate and the rage-drumsDuring a seemingly hokey fat camp exercise, Kate taps into some very real emotions, mostly about her father’s death, and lets out a primal scream so heartbreaking we still can’t get it out of our minds and ears.

Trouble in paradiseAfter an episode where their happy marriage was contrasted to Miguel and Shelly’s crumbling relationship, Jack and Rebecca were left off on an ominous note when she revealed she wants to go on tour with her band — led by ex-boyfriend Ben.

Randall’s breakdownThe stress of work and William’s impending death finally takes its toll on Randall, who has a full-blown breakdown. The scene is made all the more emotional when the ever-self-absorbed Kevin picks up on the strain in his brother’s voice and races to his side to cradle him in his arms as he cries.

All of “Memphis” William finally passes at the end of this heartbreaking episode, which centers around his road trip home to Memphis with Randall. The hour is spent going between flashbacks of his youth and the road he traveled to leave his mother and music career behind and get mixed up with drugs. Randall is with his biological father when he passes and the drive back home is both the most cathartic and heart-wrenching scene we’ve ever watched. 

Jack and Rebecca’s separation Though the break was ultimately a very short one, as Rebecca soon came to pick Jack up from Miguel’s place, the end of Season 1 left us on a cliffhanger as we wondered if and when Rebecca and Jack would reunite after a huge fight. Trying to keep from bawling for the next few months as we awaited the answer at the beginning of Season 2 was our biggest problem over the summer hiatus.

Kate’s miscarriageThis episode packed more of a punch than anyone was ready for, even though we found out at the end of the previous episode what was to come. Watching Kate lose her and Toby’s baby in “Number Two” and the different ways they chose to grieve was truly a once in a lifetime TV experience. But it was definitely something we only wanna witness once.

Jack’s father’s deathTo say that Jack and his father had a tumultuous relationship would be an understatement. But when we saw him on his death bed we forgot all about their horrible history and watched Kate and Rebecca say goodbye to a man they never knew because Jack wasn’t there. 

Kevin and Sophie’s break-upSeeing as we have yet to witness how these two lovebirds originally split, it was really hard to watch Kevin dump Sophie due to his new addiction. The two were high school sweethearts who divorced at a young age after Kevin cheated and we don’t know what went wrong but after this upsetting scene we don’t know if fans can handle seeing the first go round.

Kevin’s addictionKevin developed an addiction to painkillers and alcohol following an on-set injury at the beginning of Season 2. After watching “Number One” and learning how his already bad knee was ruined during a football game — thus ending his dream career — the tears started flowing and haven’t let up since.

Drunk driving with a stowawayRemember the time that Kevin was upset and drove off from his brother Randall’s house drunk? Yep, that was a dumb move. But what made it even worse was the little stowaway in the backseat. Yes, the midseason finale of Season 2 saw Kevin behind the wheel of a car while under the influence with Tess right there behind him. She snuck away when Randall and Beth were saying goodbye to Deja, a teenager they were fostering who was taken back by her biological mother. While we knew before the end of the episode everyone was safe (thank goodness), Kevin was arrested on a DWI — in front of his niece. And of course Randall and Beth were waiting at home to kill him. Now these were probably some rage tears.

Rehab scene/The Big Three “bench moment”“The Fifth Wheel” delivers one of the most tense moments of the series, when  Rebecca and the Big Three enter a family therapy session while Kevin is in rehab. Kevin shares that he felt like a fifth wheel growing up because Kate had Jack and Randall had Rebecca (this is a scenario anyone who comes from a three-sibling family can probably relate to). Rebecca ends up admitting that yes, she was closer with Randall because he was “easier” to parent. It’s a tough blow, and everyone leaves the session pretty pissed at each other. But the siblings convene later on in the episode to look back objectively on their childhood and all is well, leaving us touched and sad all at once.

The Sidekicks/”Star Wars” speechMeanwhile, Toby, Beth and Miguel decide to get some drinks, as they are not invited to family therapy. They bond over feeling excluded from the crazy-tight bond the remaining Pearsons have with one another, and compare themselves to the side characters in “Star Wars.” But when Beth and Toby start to talk about how they were never able to meet Jack, and feel like his kids put him on a pedestal, Miguel sweeps in in Jack’s defense and shuts that conversation down — reminding us, again, of the giant hole Jack left after his death.

Kate’s dog issuesKate and that dog. Have you ever seen someone more conflicted about something so adorable? We first learned of Kate’s serious issues with canine’s when she just couldn’t bring herself to adopt the cutest furry friend for her fiancé Toby, who desperately wants a dog of his own. She got so close to picking him up, but then bailed, prompting a heavy flood of tears from viewers. However, she ultimately decided making Toby happy was more important than her issues and the tears came even harder when she revealed the dog, Audio, to his new owner.Also Read: ‘This Is Us': Crock-Pot Tells ‘Heartbroken’ Fans Product Is Safe After Terrifying Episode

That damn slow cookerWe’d like to start out by saying sorry to both the fans and Crock-Pot for the amount of anguish this cost them. At the end of the episode “That’ll Be the Day” — which recounts Jack’s last day alive, we find out that a very old slow cooker with a faulty switch was what ignited the fire that burned down the Pearson family home. Yes, Crock-Pot took the heat for that one to the point where Milo Ventimiglia and the show graciously stepped in to do a promo for the product to prove it was totally Jack Pearson-approved.Also Read: Milo Ventimiglia Explains How (and Why) ‘This Is Us’ Did That Last-Minute Crock-Pot Promo

Jack’s cause of death/Rebecca keeping it together for the kidsIn the big post-Super Bowl episode (aptly named “Super Bowl Sunday”), we finally learn the true cause of Jack’s death. Jack and the rest of the family make it out of the house fire safely, and Jack even had time to go back in to save Kate’s dog and a few other family keepsakes. But that’s just what turned out to be his downfall: he inhaled too much smoke, causing him to have a heart attack at the hospital and die unexpectedly. Mandy Moore delivers the most heartbreaking scene at the end of the episode when Jack dies: not only do we see her break down completely in the hospital, but she’s able to pull it together to tell the kids. The whole thing left us crying into our leftover guacamole from the Super Bowl.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Hits 27 Million Viewers Right in the Feels With Post-Super Bowl Tearjerker

Literally “The Car” — just, yeah, “The Car”This whole episode was even harder to watch than “Super Bowl Sunday.” We’ve been ugly crying at every mention of Jack’s death since Season 1, but seeing Dr. K console Rebecca not only emphasized the fact that Jack was dead but reminded us that he was able to finally find love again after his wife died. When Rebecca took the kids to Jack’s tree, and then they all agree to go to the Bruce Springsteen concert in his honor, we were a puddle on the floor.Also Read: Milo Ventimiglia, Crock-Pot ‘Overcome’ Their Differences in New Super Bowl Ad (Video)

Kate, Randall, Lean Pockets and “Sex & the City”Leave it to “This Is Us” to make an episode about bachelor and bachelorette parties about sibling love. In “Vegas, Baby” we see why Kate has never really become close with her sister-in-law Beth. Turns out, Kate and Randall were very close as teens — Lean Pocket and “Sex & the City” viewing parties, of course — and when he met Beth, she knew she’d “lose him.” Of course Randall reassures his sister their bond just can’t be broken. Also, he wasn’t really a “Sex & the City” fan, he just watched it to spend time with Kate. Aww.

That Deja episodeWhat is it with falling in love with the grandparents on this show? In “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life,” we get to learn a lot more about Deja’s backstory and tough upbringing–and meet her amazing grandma Joyce, who mostly takes care of her because her mom, Shauna, was only 16 years old when she had Deja. When Joyce dies, it marks the point where things really start to go downhill for Deja and Shauna, and they end up sleeping in their car until Beth and Randall find them. When Shauna realizes Deja can have a better life living with the Pearsons and leaves in the middle of the night, it broke us all.Also Read: ‘This Is Us': Jack Pearson Is Old, Grey and Not Dead in Season 2 Finale Promo (Video)

Old JackIn the Season 2 finale, Kate daydreams that instead of her own wedding, her parents Jack and Rebecca renew their vows. Fans got a glimpse of what old Jack would look like as he tells present-day Rebecca, “Where did the time go, Bec?” Well, obviously we can’t even.Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Season 2 Finale: Here Are Our Best Possible Explanations for an Elderly Jack Pearson

When Deja vandalizes Randall’s carAt Toby and Kate’s wedding, Toby’s mom mistakes Deja for Randall’s biological daughter, and let’s just say the mistake does not make her happy. Deja’s already upset, given that her mom’s parental rights have been revoked, and she takes out her emotions by taking a baseball bat to her foster dad’s fancy car — which hits us right in the heart strings.Also Read: Watch ‘This Is Us’ Cast Read for Their Now-Iconic Roles in Old Audition Tapes (Video)

Jack talking to little Kate As Kate walks down the aisle, we hear a voiceover of Jack talking to a younger “Katie-girl.” “One day, a long time from now, you’re going to meet someone who’s better than me,” Jack tells her after she asks if she can marry him someday. “He’s gonna be stronger, and handsomer, maybe better at board games than me. And when you find him, when you find that guy, that’s the guy you’re going to marry.” But no one could be as strong and handsome as you, Jack!! Needless to say, this scene juxtaposed with Kate walking down the aisle had us in a puddle of tears. Also Read: ‘This Is Us’ Season 3 Sneak Peek: See How Jack and Rebecca Spent Their Very First Date (Video)

“It’s time to go see her, Tess”Hold. On. We’ve added a third timeline to this story? Of course we have. At the very end of the Season 2 finale, we get a quick glimpse of future Tess and an older Randall says ominously, “It’s time to go see her, Tess.” Tess responds that she’s not ready, and Randall says he’s not either — but we are ready to find out who the mystery “her” is. The scene is cut in a way that makes us think Beth might be dying (but that was ruled out by Susan Kelechi Watson herself) or something with Deja, but we know enough by now to expect a twist. Just seeing older Tess and Randall together is enough to make us teary. Also Read: ‘This Is Us': 16 New Season 3 Premiere Photos to Make You Giddy for Pearson Return

Kate and Toby are rejected by an IVF doctorIn the first episode of Season 3, Kate and Toby find out they are insufficient candidates for in vitro fertilization — on her birthday. 

Jack and Rebecca’s $9 first dateThe night is a disaster due to Jack’s low budget, which he doesn’t want to tell Rebecca about until the very end. But when he does, all is forgiven.

When Future Randall called Future Toby about “her”Cause we all thought it was Kate and OMG.

Kate gets pregnant again — with “one shot” from IVFThat positive test brought on the waterworks. 

Kevin finds out where Jack’s necklace came fromThe necklace Kevin received from his dad when he broke his leg originally belonged to a Vietnamese woman who Jack helped when he was in the war. So sweet.

Jack and Rebecca’s road trip to L.A.Oh, so many romantic moments. So many tears.

Tess comes out to Kate — and later to Beth and RandallIn a very special episode on a show full of very special episodes, Tess gets her first period and confesses to her aunt that she has feelings for girls. Not longer after, she comes out to her parents and it’s impossible to not weep over how beautiful the moment is.

When “Her” is finally revealed to be RebeccaDon’t pretend like hearing Future Beth say everyone was going to see “Randall’s mother” didn’t kill you.

When we found out Nicky was aliveAnd everything changed.

The toll Randall’s campaign for city council takes on his familyWe really did get worried about Randall and Beth there for a few episodes.

When Nicky finds out Jack is deadIn his first-ever meeting with his adult niece and nephews. His subsequent first-ever meeting with Rebecca packs even more of a punch, for both Nicky and the audience.

Beth’s backstory episodeThe whole thing. All of it. Her tireless effort at a teen dancing career, her dad’s death, the moment she bumps into Randall at college, present-day Beth going to a dance studio. Everything.

The whole family waits to see if Kate and her premature baby are going to be OKThe things that come out in “The Waiting Room” episode. And then Kate and Toby name their baby Jack. Wow.

Randall and Beth’s love story, juxtaposed with their current relationship issues“R&B” forever and ever and ever.

Kevin and Zoe breakupBecause he wants kids and Zoe knows it, so she ends it and it’s really rough to watch.

The first time we see Future RebeccaAnd obviously begin to worry more about her clearly failing health.

The reveal that Baby Jack is blind — and an incredibly talented singer in the futureThe one-two punch of the Season 4 premiere’s big reveal rivaled that of the emotional rollercoaster that the series premiere took us on. That song? Tears.

Deja and Malik’s adorable young loveTheir adorable ditch day in Philly was one of the sweetest teen love stories we’ve ever seen. Of course the real tears came when their parents tried to put the breaks on the whole thing.

Rebecca’s dad making it clear he doesn’t think Jack is good enough for his daughterWe know that they make it through fine — obviously — but this backstory is still rough to watch.

Nicky, Kevin and Cassidy getting sober togetherMultiple moments from this arc have had us sobbing, as these three keep banding together to help each other through some really rough battles to stay clean. 

Jack getting jealous over Randall’s relationship with his only Black teacherJack realizes he can’t be everything for his son, because he isn’t exactly like his son. But when he accepts this, he learns how to let Randall connect with others who can give him what he needs.

Rebecca admitting to Randall her memory is getting so bad she needs helpAfter an entire Thanksgiving episode in which she gets lost — and we find out that is actually a flashforward to a point when the problem has gotten much more series.

Blind Baby Jack can see lights and shadowsAnd Toby and Kate’s joy over this revelation made us unable to see almost anything through the tears.

Randall’s intruderWhen a man breaks into Randall’s home while Beth and the girls are sleeping, it frightens him to his core, and even though nobody got hurt, Randall can’t shake it. Eventually, he reaches a breaking point where he beats up a mugger on the street. He ultimately realizes he needs to get some help and starts therapy soon after.

Kevin attending Sophie’s mother’s funeralWe were so proud of Kev when he showed up at his ex-wife’s mother’s funeral to pay his respects and ended up taking her for a drive and a showing of “Good Will Hunting” to help her catch her breath. The other tragedy here being that Kevin obviously still loves her, but took her right back to her fiancee.

Every scene with Marc and Teen KateWe HATE that kid and we’re glad Rebecca, Kevin and Randall managed to save Kate from him before anything truly horrible happened to her. But every moment we had to watch him belittling her and mentally abusing her was another moment we felt like crying.

The Big Three’s big cabin tripWhen it’s revealed that Kate and Randall know about Rebecca’s increasing memory problems and possible Alzheimer’s — and Kevin doesn’t. Poor Kev, always the last to know. The siblings do reconcile in a real tearjerker of a moment, when they open up a time capsule they buried with their parents when they were kids.

Kevin and Rebecca’s special dayRebecca is avoiding getting the test results that will tell her just how bad her memory is by spending a day having fun with her son Kevin. It’s a beautiful set of scenes, but they only last so long though, and then we learn the truth: she has mild cognitive impairment likely linked to Alzheimer’s.

Kevin and Randall’s fight about Rebecca When the boys are with their mother in NYC for the premiere of Kevin’s movie, they get into a heated debate about what’s the right way to handle her condition, with Randall wanting her to do a nine-month clinical trial in St. Louis and Kevin wanting her to stay with her family for what time she has left with her memory. Watching these two bicker is sometimes cute — this wasn’t. 

Randall’s “what if?” therapy sessionRandall images what life would have been like if he had saved Jack from dying by preventing him from going back into the fire. Randall explores these two different versions of his life — one rosier, one darker — during a therapy session that brings him to a revelation about how he never truly confronted Rebecca for her keeping that secret from him about William. By the end of the episode, he’s called his mother and asked her to do one thing for him: go do the clinical trial. And she agrees. 

We’ll have to wait and see what tonight’s Season 4 finale gives us in the way of tearjerkers. But if it’s anything like season finales past, you’re gonna want to sit down with a full box of tissues in hand.
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