Well, this is it. An amazing era of television ends when the final episode of This Is Us airs this week. It’s rare when you get a series with well-defined characters that, whether you love them or hate them, leave an indelible mark. And while we could go on and on about the main characters and how they changed (or didn’t change) over the six season run, today we celebrate the characters that might not have had as much screen time, but still, through their performance, made us fall for them. There are six characters that stand out for me, and below they are listed and given their flowers. Yup, this is them. You’re welcome.
Yes, Chris Sullivan as Toby did turn into a consequential regular soon after he first appeared on screen, but his scenes while still an ancillary player were scene stealers. It was his sense of humor and charm as he wooed Kate that let us know he belonged, but it was his incredible ability to flip the script and show us different sides of Toby that made him a favorite. And it really says something about the character that (spoiler alert!) even after he was separated from the Pearsons, they kept him around as a member of the family. Really gonna miss Toby.
Before Kate and Kevin had their kids, Annie was the youngest member of the Pearson clan. Watching her grow up was a pleasure, and seeing she and her sister plan a “FUN-eral” might have been one of the most adorable things ever shown on television screens. Because of the brilliant casting done for the series, we even got to see Annie all grown up. And DRIVING! Yes, she was quiet, but as we learned during (another spoiler alert!) last week’s episode, being quiet is OK, as long as you’re not afraid to be loud.
If we’re being honest, we weren’t supposed to like Uncle Nicky. He was a troubled man that made it clear he wanted to be a loner. But then, we got his story. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. And watching his harsh, guarded exterior melt away and him becoming the uncle we all deserve was the story arc that exemplified what This Is Us was all about. Also, seeing him attempt to work an iPad, awkwardly try to rekindle a lost love only to fall in love on an airplane, and talk to his infant great niece and nephew as if they could talk back to him… all of that made Nicky one of the best characters the show ever wrote.
We will always remember the “lemons” advice he gave to Jack just after Rebecca gave birth, and if that was all Dr. K contributed to This Is Us, it would’ve been more than enough. But of course Dan Fogelman brought him back on more than one occasion (even giving him his own focused episode!) to dispense even more sage advice. And the appearance during “The Train”? Admitting that Rebecca almost died while giving birth? Whew. That’s the thing about this series: they gave us so much more than what was expected. And it was magic every time.
There are definitely characters on This Is Us that steal your heart the moment they hit the screen. Deja was absolutely one of those characters. The brilliant writing for her was one thing. However, it’s the acting. The interpreting. The subdued performance from the lovely actress and appropriately named Lyric Ross that made Deja so outstanding. Seeing her journey from troubled preteen to an angsty teen that is able to communicate what she’s feeling to future mom (!!!) was revelatory. I will miss her face. And her words. But mostly, her performance.
And here it is. The one character that was revealed early in the show’s history that didn’t last nearly long enough. To have such a short time with William was a crime, but thankfully Fogelman and company found ways to weave his presence into the show even after his untimely demise. I’ll admit it: I loved William. I felt like he could’ve been my father. I loved the way he jumped right in and wanted to know his son and his family. How he gave everything he had to be there once he knew his son was alive. I loved everything about this character. And “Memphis”? “MEMPHIS!!!” He made This Is Us feel like this could’ve been me.
What a series. What a run. Here’s to six incredible seasons. Cheers.