‘This Is Us’ Season 3, Episode 14 Recap: 16 Years Late, 12 Weeks Early

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

The last time we saw the Pearsons, Kevin (Justin Hartley) had finally found his uncle (and relapsed), Kate (Chrissy Metz) was biding her time until her baby’s arrival, and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) rediscovered her passion for dance.

Not to be a downer, but in season three, episode 14 of This Is Us, titled “The Graduates,” everything falls apart.

rebecca pearson this is us looking sad
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The Past

The episode opens on Rebecca (Mandy Moore) in an electronics store looking for a camera four months after Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. The Big Three are graduating from high school and Randall (Niles Fitch) is valedictorian, so obviously she needs to capture these precious moments. The only problem? Jack used to handle the electronics purchases.

Luckily, a man she recognizes from the PTA approaches and helps her pick a camera. He offers his condolences and when she shows gratitude he mistakes it as romantic interest and asks her out to coffee. She’s completely caught off guard and angry at the reminder that her husband is gone.

Back at home, the family is trying to convince Kate (Hannah Zeile) to come to her graduation but she’s angry at Kevin (Logan Shroyer) because he’s moving to New York without her. When it comes down to it, she’s really just not ready to lose the second most important man in her life. But instead of talking about it, she stays home and misses her graduation.

the big three this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

When graduation morning rolls around, Rebecca is hit with a wave of grief that completely bowls her over. She runs out of the auditorium and Miguel (Jon Huertas) follows her. As she sobs on the steps, he gently suggests she see a grief counselor. Rebecca lashes out at him, saying that she doesn’t want therapy, she wants to turn back time. He convinces her she needs to be there for her kids and offers to hold the camera so she can focus on being present.

Later, after the kids have gone to graduation parties, Rebecca sits alone watching old family videos of Jack. She’s gutted and decides to call Miguel and ask him to take her to a grief support meeting.

Meanwhile, Kate and Kevin make up at a party while Randall looks on. They call him over and he muses about what their life will be like now that they’re all going off on their own paths. He knows the twins will still be close, but he wonders what his part will be in their dynamic. Ultimately, he says if they all make an effort to be in each other’s lives, they’ll be OK.

kate pearson at her graduation
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The Present

On the day of Kate’s graduation from community college, Toby (Chris Sullivan) pulls a total Toby (or Jack?) move and surprises Kate with a graduation party and makeshift ceremony. Better yet, her mom is waiting for her in the living room. Kate already missed one graduation and they don’t want her to miss out on celebrating another.

Back on the East Coast, Randall finds Deja (Lyric Ross) walking through the neighborhood when she’s supposed to be at school. It turns out her teacher published a personal essay she wrote without her consent. It was about living in her mom’s car and now all the kids at school are calling her Pontiac. Randall senses her hurt and confronts her teacher, who tells him she only published it because Deja is exceptionally bright and she’d like to have her skip a grade.

When Randall tells Deja the exciting news, she’s upset because she has stability for the first time in her life and doesn’t want to ruin her routine. He realizes that although Beth finally nailed her dream job of being a ballet teacher and he’s being sworn into office, their girls need them. So, he asks Beth to put her dream on hold and become lead parent again.

Meanwhile, Kevin’s alcoholism has taken ahold and he’s back to his old ways. He lies to Zoe (Melanie Liburd) when she calls, and even though he flew out to Los Angeles to surprise Kate for her graduation and “take meetings,” he hasn’t seen her or done anything other than drink alone in his room.

When it comes time to go to Kate’s graduation party, he’s late and lies about how busy he’s been—until Zoe blows his cover and asks Kate about the spa day they had. Kevin tries to distract them both by proposing a toast, but when he hears a martini shaker he loses his train of thought and makes up a lie about having to go meet with a director immediately. He promises he’ll be back but never returns.

Kate texts him repeatedly and when she hears nothing back she goes to his hotel room. It’s full of booze, so she confronts him and says he has to tell Zoe. He tries to bargain with Kate and says he’ll try A.A. the right way and get a sponsor this time. So, she looks for a nearby meeting for him and insists they go immediately.

kevin looking upset this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The Future?

As Kate drives Kevin to a meeting in Hollywood, she starts to have contractions and her water breaks. She’s only 28 weeks along and is absolutely terrified that she’s going to lose the baby. Kevin takes charge and calls Toby to say he thinks she should be transported by ambulance. When Toby asks why he can’t drive, Kevin fesses up and admits he’s been drinking all day.

They all meet at the hospital where Kate is given a shot to delay her labor. It gives her baby ten more hours of development time, but she reminds Kevin she needs weeks. She opens up, saying she’s worried the baby will be stillborn and then, like the stand-up Pearson man he is, Randall arrives.

It looks like 17-year-old Randall was right. As long as they stick together, the Big Three can handle anything.

Now the questions remains: What will happen to Kate and her baby? We’ll find out when This Is Us returns next Tuesday, March 12, at 9 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.