Ron Batzdorff/NBC (2)
Dan Snierson
February 27, 2018 AT 10:47 PM EST

Warning: This story contains plot details about Tuesday night’s episode of This Is Us, titled “Vegas, Baby.”

After two episodes of dying and crying, the Pearsons went flying — to Vegas — to stage bachelor and bachelorette parties for bride-and-groom-to-be Kate and Toby. With the death and funeral of patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) in the rear-view mirror on the other side of the bridge, This Is Us opted to lighten things up via the glittery neon of Sin City. But while the Vegas festivities featured heads poking out of the top of limos, bubbly toasts, and stage gyrations at a strip revue (This Is Us and Magic Mike Live, two forces you probably thought you’d never see joined), it wasn’t all fun and grinding games. Kate (Chrissy Metz) wound up clashing with sister-in-law Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who was busy clashing with the bachelorette-party-crashing Randall (Sterling K. Brown).

Across town, Toby (Chris Sullivan), still trying to brush off his brother’s disappointing no-show, slowly lost his future brothers-in-law to the neurotic night. Kevin (Justin Hartley) feared that he’d been cut out of that Ron Howard movie (Howard disavowed him of that notion with tux talk) and wrestled with his demons about relapsing (the demons ultimately were held at bay), while Randall worried so much about the well-being of former foster child Deja (Lyric Ross) that, as mentioned above, he stepped all over Beth’s evening of escape.

In the end, all literal and figurative parties moved toward reconciliation: Kate had a much-needed heart-to-heart with Randall, who assured her that brother LoJack was always there for her. She explained to Beth that she’d been intimidated by her and her accomplishments. Randall and Kevin took Toby on a tour of downtown Vegas and officially welcomed him into the brotherhood. And Randall and Beth also mended fences, with Beth deciding to lead with more heart than head. At the end of the episode, Randall’s fears proved justified, though,  as they spotted Deja — who’d asked them for money to keep the apartment heat on — living out of a car with her mother, Shauna (Joy Brunson).

Deep in the past, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) made Jack — a.k.a. the king of grand gestures, er, intent — commit to a more low-key anniversary celebration, something that concerned young Kevin (Parker Bates), so the Little Three organized a special dinner for them. While the meal resulted in some severely undercooked cornish game hens (Jack and cooking appliances, two things that don’t go well together), it ended with a lovely under-the-stars rooftop date that reaffirmed the couple’s bond — and with Jack pulling off the line “You are my daily meteor shower.”

It’s time to pause that bingewatch of Sex and the City (or The Commish, your call), throw on a highly questionable party shirt, blow on the dice, and ask Chrissy Metz to break down “Vegas, Baby.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your reaction when you found out that the episode after Jack’s death and funeral would send you to Vegas for a bachelor and bachelorette party? [This Is Us creator] Dan Fogelman said fans deserved a break after so much heaviness and grief.
I completely agree with Dan. I know that was a lot to handle. We looked forward to what Kate and Toby’s bachelorette and bachelor parties would actually look like.

Kate and Toby aren’t that hyped for their Vegas bashes. One thing that’s interesting is neither of them seem to have a big friend group to draw from for their bachelor and bachelorette parties. Why don’t they have close friends? Are they both just insular individuals? Did that strike you as a little… sad?
Well, they’ve been really insular in their co-dependent relationship, and they’ve also been through a lot between Toby’s health and the miscarriage. So, it’s difficult to let people into hardships that they might not understand. 

We rarely get to see Kate and Beth interacting in scenes together. Is that something the two of you had been advocating for?
I would always love to be in scenes with Susan. Sometimes the story lines just don’t allow that to happen.

Kate clearly feels intimidated by Beth, and they work through some issues on this trip. But one big takeaway is that the reason Kate felt this way is because she considered Randall such a support system, and since he met Beth, Kate felt she lost that system, that his attention has been elsewhere with his family. We knew that Randall and Kate were relatively close when they were young, but we find out in this episode that the year after Jack died that they became inseparable. Did that revelation take you by surprise? And what happened to Kevin — with whom she’s been the closest — in the aftermath of Jack’s death before he headed out to Hollywood? 
I think that there was a lot of resentment toward Kevin because he was absent from the fire and the night Jack passed away, which ultimately drew Randall and Kate closer. Experiencing such a traumatic life event together has created a timeless bond.

I know that most of what happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas, but what happened when you, Susan and Caitlin [Thompson, who plays Madison] filmed at Magic Mike Live? And was a small part of you wondering if Justin would channel his Bad Moms Christmas character and appear on stage?
We had a great time shooting at Magic Mike Live. The dancers are incredible! And while Randall and Kevin would physically fit in, I don’t know that that art form is their cup of tea.

In this past story of this episode, we see Jack and Rebecca celebrating anniversaries, including one with the help of the Big Three. What is it like being on the other side of Jack’s death mystery? Is there a weight lifted off of the cast’s shoulders?
Only in the sense of keeping a secret. But luckily, we’ve had over a year to process it.

Toby was disappointed that his brother was a no-show at this bachelor party. What hints can you drop about meeting some of his family members at the wedding in the finale?
His parents are everything and nothing you’d expect!

Is there a twist — or are there multiple twists — in the wedding finale? And tonally speaking, would you say that it is upbeat and joyous?
There is a bit of a twist, in true This Is Us fashion, because the writers are genius. Tonally speaking: upbeat and joyous, through a very important catharsis.

To read hints from This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman about the final two episodes of the season, click here.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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