‘This Is Us’ Season 3, Episode 15 Recap: 5 Pearsons, 1 Waiting Room

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Last week on This Is Us, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) asked Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) to put her dreams on hold and Kate (Chrissy Metz) graduated college and then learned Kevin (Justin Hartley) relapsed. As she drove her brother to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Kate’s water broke months early and she was rushed to the hospital.

Season three, episode 15 begs the tragic question: Will Kate and her baby survive? Let’s find out.

randall looking serious at hospital
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The Waiting Room

We open on the Pearsons getting stir crazy in the hospital waiting room at 3 a.m. as they await Kate’s prognosis. Randall wants to work, Kevin goes on about how Kate should be getting Meghan Markle–level care, and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is busy realizing outlets look like tiny surprised faces.

Finally, the doctor comes out and tells them Kate is resting and that they’ve successfully delayed her labor with medication…for now. He assures the family they can go home, but Rebecca, who’s clearly taking this very hard, tells him, “This family stays.” The experience is undoubtedly bringing up feelings of the baby and husband she once lost in a hospital very much like this one.

zoe and kevin heart to heart this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Talking It Out

With the family in crisis mode, Kevin decides it’s the perfect time to come clean about his relapse. He assures them he’s only been drinking and not taking pain pills, but while the family tells him it’s OK, Zoe (Melanie Liburd) doesn’t feel the same. She recalls all the times they hung out in recent months and asks if he was drinking then. She, like the Pearsons, is still wrapping her mind around it all.

But Kevin isn’t the only one who wants to get everything out in the open. Randall notices that Beth is still being standoffish (duh) and asks her, “Are we gonna hear this out or are you gonna keep being weird to me until Kate and Toby’s kid is in college?” The answer is college. But that doesn’t jive with him, so he tells the rest of the family that he asked Beth to stop teaching dance and take on the lead parent role. Kevin chimes in that Beth should teach dance if she wants, but Randall is not interested in comments from the peanut gallery.

So, Kevin lashes out and asks Madison (Caitlin Thompson), Kate’s perpetually chipper friend who came by with doughnuts, why she’s even there. She feels uncomfortable and promptly leaves. Kevin follows suit and heads out to get some fresh air.

madison this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

On The Outside Looking In

Randall takes the opportunity to try to get everyone to talk about Kevin’s relapse but Miguel (Jon Huertas) tells him they need to take things “one at a time.” So, Randall turns his must-fix-everything attention to Beth and tries to sort through the logistical details of how they could both work and care for their children. She’s not having it either.

Miguel heads to the restroom and runs into Madison in the hallway. Even though Kevin told her to leave, she says her still being there is the only part of Kate’s intended birth plan that still stands a chance. She was supposed to be there when the baby came because she has portrait mode on her phone, after all. Miguel opens up and tells her he’s also found it hard to find his place in the Pearson family. The only difference is that he’s been at it for decades and Madison is relatively new.

beth and zoe talking this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC


Later, Beth asks Zoe how she’s doing with Kevin’s relapse. Beth tells her cousin she knows she’s probably getting ready to run for the hills and that she wouldn’t judge her if she did. Surprisingly, Zoe asks Beth if she would judge her if she stayed? Nope. (Side note: Could Zevin be the pair getting married this season?)

Then everything comes to a head. In rapid succession, Randall asks Rebecca and Miguel to step in and help them with child care, Miguel reveals they’re considering moving to a retirement community in Los Angeles to be closer to Kate and the baby, and Kevin starts “spiraling” and demands information about Kate’s condition. The receptionist tells him Kate’s doctor is going into emergency surgery.

pearsons in the waiting room this is us
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

The worrisome news about Kate adds fuel to the fire brewing between Kevin and Randall. They go at it about everything from the relapse to who’s the favorite child. Miguel tries to intervene, but they shoot him down as if he’s not even a part of the family. Then, Rebecca yells at everyone to stop it.

It’s quiet and she stoically tells them she remembers every detail of the waiting room in the hospital she took Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to the night he died. It had one electrical outlet and chairs Jack thought looked like key lime pies. They ranked their favorite pies and passed the time, but eventually Rebecca remembered she’d lost her home. But it didn’t matter because her family was still intact…until it wasn’t. So, she puts her family in their place and tells them anything that doesn’t have to do with Kate or the baby doesn’t belong here right now.

And just then Toby (Chris Sullivan) comes out with a heartbreaking look on his face. But, for once, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman doesn’t completely sabotage our happiness. Kate and the baby are alive and well. The little guy is extremely premature, but he’s alive and in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NCIU). The Pearsons couldn’t be happier and Toby makes a poor attempt at humor, saying Kate wants to see Miguel first. Poor Miguel.

randall and kevin this is us hospital
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Finally, A Happy(ish) Ending

The Pearsons disperse to get some food and clean clothes. Kevin and Zoe make up (but Zoe also realizes his water bottle is full of vodka), Randall and Beth decide they’ll make it through and Miguel and Rebecca get Randall’s blessing to move to L.A.

In the final scene of the emotional episode, Kate and Toby visit their baby in the NICU. Kate tells Toby, “I already love him so much this is insane. I would murder someone for him, Toby,” and asks if it’s all right that she wants to name him Jack, after her father. It is.

She pulls out a Ruth Bader Ginsburg doll Madison pilfered from her apartment (another aspect of her birthing plan that Madison made happen) and holds onto Jack’s little hand, all the while telling Toby little Jack will be OK. He will make it through in a way the older Jack didn’t.

Well, now that we know our tear ducts are properly functioning, it’s time to prepare for the long journey ahead. Next week we’ll check back in on baby Jack’s fight for his life. We have faith he’ll make it, but will Kate and Toby stay strong?

Judging from the episode 16 preview, there’s other trouble brewing. It looks like new “twuncle” (twin uncle) Kevin wants to start a family of his own but Zoe isn’t on the same page…and then he runs into Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge). Things are getting way too complicated.

If you’ll excuse us, we need to wipe our raccoon eyes off.


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.