‘This Is Us’ Season 2, Episode 15 Recap: The Famous Wagoneer
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
This week on season two, episode 15 of This Is Us, titled “The Car,” we’re introduced to the family’s iconic Jeep Wagoneer, while Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and the Big Three mourn the loss of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia).
The episode opens on Rebecca honking her car horn in a motel parking lot. Teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile), Randall (Niles Fitch) and Kevin (Logan Shroyer) emerge wearing all black and join her in the car for a solemn drive to the funeral.
In a flashback, Rebecca and Jack arrive at a car dealership with young Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak), Randall (Lonnie Chavis) and Kevin (Parker Bates). While a salesman shows the couple options in their price range, Jack spots the Big Three playing in a Grand Wagoneer and asks to speak to the employee in his office.
Well, Jack buys the Wagoneer, which prompts Rebecca to object and insist it’s out of budget. But Jack reassures her that he worked out a deal, so the Pearson family proceeds to pile into their new ride.
Later on, Rebecca learns she may have cancer, so Jack takes her to the tree that Kevin (Justin Hartley) introduced during Sunday night’s episode and explains it’s his favorite spot because it always reassures him that everything is OK.
Right on cue, they receive a message from Rebecca’s doctor, rush to a nearby payphone and learn that her test results came back normal. After hanging up, Rebecca asks Jack why he chose this specific tree, and he jokingly confesses that it’s the closest one to a payphone.
Back in the car, Jack tells her that if he just so happens to go first (welp), he doesn’t want to be buried in the ground. Instead, he wants to be outside.
Jack is giving teenage Randall driving lessons in the Jeep Wagoneer when Kevin criticizes his driving from the backseat, causing Randall to lose focus and nearly crash. Jack angrily kicks the boys out of the car, hops into the driver’s seat and makes them walk home, natch.
When Kevin and Randall arrive at the house, they apologize for arguing in the car. Jack says he doesn’t understand why they can’t get along, considering he and his own brother were inseparable when they were teenagers. He encourages them to fix whatever issues they have with each other because he and Rebecca won’t always be around to do it for them.
Up next? Teenage Kate. Jack spots her sitting at a bus stop when she’s supposed to be in school. When she tells her dad that she ditched class to attend an Alanis Morissette signing at Jerry’s Records, he appears to be pissed but then decides to drive her to the event himself.
During the drive, Kate opens up about her music, and Jack is totally buying it. But just as he’s encouraging her to give music a serious thought, she brushes it off and says it’s not an easy industry to break into.
Rebecca wakes up in the middle of the night to find teenage Kate in the kitchen with the dog. Kate emotionally asks if Jack died because he went back into the house, but Rebecca hesitantly explains there’s no way of knowing.
On the day of the funeral, the workers are just beginning to set up when the family arrives at the cemetery. Although they insist it doesn’t start for another hour, Rebecca gestures to the urn and explains she wanted to be here when Jack arrived.
The funeral is a whirlwind of people hugging the Pearson family and emotional speeches from the Big Three and Miguel (Jon Huertas). Once it’s over, Rebecca demands she be the one who takes Jack’s ashes to the reception.
When they arrive, Kevin realizes that Randall is wearing their dad’s watch. He blurts out that he’s tired of Randall pretending to be the man of the family, because a man wouldn’t have let Jack go back into the burning house. Rebecca exits the room, needing air.
Outside, Rebecca is catching her breath when she spots Dr. Katowski (Gerald McRaney), the doctor who delivered Kate and Kevin, approaching her. After his wife excuses herself, Nathan sits down with Rebecca and asks why she’s outside. She explains that she wasn’t there when Jack passed, so she’s trying to make up for it, but she’s slowly realizing that she can’t do any of this without him.
But when she admits she can’t be fearless like Jack was, the doctor calls BS and reassures her that she’ll be just as good as Jack was. Although Jack was a pro at taking care of the family, she’s also the person who gave birth to triplets, lost one and still walked away with three precious cherubs.
The Next Chapter
Rebecca reenters the reception and tells the kids they’re leaving…now.
Later on, she brings them to the iconic tree. After explaining the origin of the spot, Rebecca turns to Kevin and Randall and says neither of them has to be the man of the house. They’re only 17 and should focus on dating and hanging out with friends.
When she turns to Kate, Rebecca reassures her that she isn’t to blame for Jack’s death, considering he was a grown man who made his own decisions.
As they start spreading the ashes, Kate asks if it’s possible to keep some in the urn, and Rebecca agrees. Just as they’re about to head out, Rebecca asks for a moment alone and tearfully stares at the sky before verbally promising Jack they’re going to be OK.
Cut to a flashback of Jack speaking with the car salesman, where he explains that he doesn’t want just any car, he wants the Wagoneer because it’s tough. Even if it gets a few dings, scrapes and stains over time, it’s OK because every battle scar is a memory, and he wants the car to tell his family’s story.
The episode concludes with a montage of the Pearson family driving home from the funeral and, damn, who’s cutting onions?
This Is Us returns to NBC on February 27.