Almost everyone has a past flame they wish they’d pursued more seriously.
Most of the time, we don’t get a second chance, and that’s what made This Is Us Season 6 Episode 2 so poignant.
Even though it seemed implausible that Sally would be open to a relationship with Nicky half a century later, I wanted him to get his happy ending. But in some ways, the bittersweet trip down memory lane was even better than a second chance at romance.
Nicky’s been so caught up in his regrets about Sally that he couldn’t move on with his life.
Sally had moved on, and he hadn’t, yet in many ways, it seemed she settled for less than she wanted in her life. She’d given up her photography for a more stable career in pharmaceuticals, married a man who she was drifting apart from, and closed the door firmly on her past.
If this were an ordinary show, Nicky’s visit would have awakened Sally’s long-repressed dreams and desires, and she would have thrown caution to the wind and left her husband for her old lover. But This Is Us is too strong a series for that predictable yet unrealistic path.
Instead, Nicky and Sally parted ways, both ready to return to the reality of their lives now, even if they weren’t living up to their youthful dreams.
Some of the most moving moments of the hour came from Sally and Rebecca’s newfound friendship.
The two women bonded almost immediately, and I couldn’t help thinking that Rebecca would have loved to have had Sally as a sister-in-law.
You’d think we’d stop sweating the small stuff as we got older as bigger things started happening to us. But no, not the case.
Instead, she opened up about her Alzheimers’ diagnosis, and she and Sally talked about their difficulties with growing older.
I’d like to think that Sally and Rebecca will keep in touch until Rebecca’s health declines too much for that to be possible. They both could use a friend.
Rebecca isn’t a woman who settled for less than she dreamed of, at least not in the marriage department. Although Miguel is not the love of her life that Jack was, she’s happy with him, except for her insecurities about his dealing with her disease.
Rebecca: You did not get the best version of me.
Rebecca: You have such an ordeal ahead of you. I’m so sorry.
Miguel: In sickness and in health. I said that at our wedding, didn’t I?
Rebecca: I think so. But to be fair, most of your vows were in Spanish so I don’t know.
From the moment she learned she might have Alzheimer’s, Rebecca didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. She wanted to live as fully as she could while she was still lucid, but now the reality of her disease is hitting home.
This is so realistic and painful. Rebecca’s in that in-between stage now where she knows she is going to lose her memories, but she hasn’t lost it yet, so she’s stuck contemplating the bleakness of her future.
It’s anyone’s guess how Jack would have handled this if he had lived. But Miguel is doing his best to be her rock and to reassure her that he doesn’t regret marrying her when it means he’s going to have to be her caretaker.
His speech to her in the car was one of the most beautiful moments in a night full of them.
Woman: So what brings you to Boston?
Deja: My boyfriend. He’s studying at Harvard.
Woman: Ah, young love is wonderful. It changes you.
Juxtaposing Nicky’s road trip with Deja’s was brilliant, too.
Deja is at the beginning of her journey, though she has to put up with more than most young lovers. Malik’s status as a father complicates things, and his argument with Jennifer in front of Deja was all sorts of awkward.
But Deja and Malik are doing what Nicky didn’t do 50 years ago: they are spending time together and exploring where their relationship might go.
There was something awkwardly sweet about their nerves as they began to make love for the first time. I hope that Deja is using birth control.
We know she has a baby in the future, but Malik has already fathered one accidental child, so he and Deja should be doubly careful at this point.
I’m not sure how I feel about Malik’s daughter knowing Deja well enough to run to her for a hug.
Malik and Deja intend to be together for a long time. But first loves are often like that until it all falls apart for one reason or another.
If for some reason, their relationship ends, that’s going to be difficult for little Janelle, and Malik and his ex are already fighting over co-parenting issues.
I’m curious what Jennifer really thinks about Deja being in her child’s life. Maybe this will come up again later.
Speaking of the future, we finally got an answer to who was in that white car, and it was a good one!
Many fans assumed Nicky and Sally would somehow find their way back to each other in the future, but instead, Nicky ended up with the stewardess he was giving such a hard time about putting his seat up.
Wow! This Is Us has some explaining to do and not a lot of time to do it. Nicky’s new relationship has to develop to the point that Edie is part of the family and willing to be at Rebecca’s deathbed.
Many fans would also like more of Rebecca and Miguel’s love story, so This Is Us has the monumental task of developing two significant relationships along with wrapping up all the other loose ends in only sixteen more episodes.
Your turn, This Is Us fanatics! What did you think of Nicky and Sally’s reunion or Malik and Deja’s weekend together?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.