This Is Us – The Car
By: Suzanne Fox
Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is parked outside a hotel. She honks the horn for the kids to come out. She is clearly exhausted. Rebecca opens up the glove compartment and finds two tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. She sighs and puts them back into the glove compartment. Again, Rebecca honks the horn.
The kids are all younger and they run into the car dealership and Rebecca reminds them to use inside voices. Rebecca tells Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) that they should have left the kids home but he wants them to be a part of this moment. A salesman named Mel Buchanan (Mark Proksch) enthusiastically greets Jack and Rebecca and tells them they are the perfect couple to be put in the new Grand Wagoneer Jeep. Mel starts to give a hard sell about the car when Rebecca interrupts him. She points out Kevin (Parker Bates), Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) and Randall (Lonnie Chavis) and informs him that they have three expensive kids so they do not need a new, expensive car. Mel leads them outside to the used cars and starts his sales pitch about an older, used car. Jack turns and sees the Big Three playing in the Grand Wagoneer. Jack tells Mel they need to go into his office and have a talk, as Rebecca protests. Jack kisses her hands and walks off with Mel.
Rebecca is outside the motel and the Big Three come out in black suits, ready for Jack’s funeral. Rebecca is impatient and tells them she wants to get there early.
Back at the car dealership, Kate and Randall play at a table while Kevin goes up and spies on Jack in the back office negotiating with Mel. Jack shakes Mel’s hand and walks out. Jack tells Rebecca they got the Wagoneer and he made a good deal. Rebecca tells the kids that Jack bought the Wagoneer and they all run off in excitement to the car. As we see the younger kids with Rebecca and Jack, we then see the kids in their black suits getting into the car to go to Jack’s funeral.
Rebecca and Jack are in the car and Rebecca turns around to ask who is excited to go to their first concert. Randall is wearing a Weird Al shirt and asks if they can get his autograph. Jack warns Rebecca they are coming up to the bridge she hates. Rebecca starts to have a panic attack and Jack holds her hand. There is construction and traffic is brought down to one lane. Rebecca breathes through her fear. Randall leans over and asks Rebecca if she knows what her fear is called. He tells her he memorized all the phobias and hers is called “Gephyrophobia.” Kevin then sings his favorite Weird Al song. The rest of the family chimes in, including Jack. They sing their way through Rebecca’s panic attack.
Rebecca tells the kids they have to arrive at the cemetery before the urn arrives. Kate (Hannah Zeile) tells them that Louie is not in his crate and may pee on the carpet. Kate tells them she wants to give away Louie. Kevin (Logan Shroyer) struggles to get on his tie as he flashes back to Jack helping him pick out a suit and knot his tie. Randall (Niles Fitch) offers to help Kevin. Randall flashes back to being a young boy and learning from Jack how to wear a tie. Kevin says that Jack wouldn’t care if he didn’t wear a tie so he opts not to wear his.
Rebecca remembers Jack helping her into the car outside of the hospital during a snow storm. Rebecca was in for a MRI and Jack reassures her that she will be fine. She said she has felt dizzy and worries it is a brain tumor. Jack takes Rebecca to his favorite tree to wait for the test results. They sit together on the bench by the tree. Jack tells Rebecca that she will live forever and that they won’t get bad news that day. He tells her that she is beautiful and perfect. Rebecca ask why this is Jack’s favorite tree and he says it is because this is where they find out that she is ok. While sitting on the bench Jack gets a page. They find a pay phone and Rebecca receives the great news that she has an inner ear problem. Rebecca asks Jack how he picked that tree and he tells her it was the closest one to a pay phone. They go back into the Wagoneer and Jack tells her that when he dies first one day that he doesn’t want to be buried. Rebecca asks him to stop talking like that and they hug in the car.
Rebecca pulls up to the cemetery and finds that Jack’s urn has arrived. She runs out of the car and tells the Funeral Director (Omar Adam) that she is Jack’s wife. Jack’s urn is on a table surrounded by flowers and pictures of Jack. Rebecca and the kids sit and stare forward at the urn. Flashes of people greeting Rebecca show that her Mom (Elizabeth Perkins) and Miguel (Jon Huertas) are there. The director gives a sermon saying that Jack was a good man who was loved by his community. Kate cries, Randall fights tears and Kevin stares ahead. Miguel speaks and stares at Rebecca. Randall gets up and speaks about the love that Jack and Rebecca had for each other. Rebecca takes the urn and they head for the car.
Jack is giving Randall driving instructions. Kevin starts to pick on Randall for driving slowly. Randall almost hits another car. Jack makes Randall and Kevin get out off the car and walk home. Kevin and Randall walk up the driveway as Jack is working on the engine of the Wagoneer. Jack tells the boys that he and his brother Nicky were inseparable when they were their ages. Randall says that he is surprised to hear Jack talk about his family. Jack tells them it is not fun to reminisce – his Dad was a drunk and his brother was killed while at war. Jack tells them how he and his brother looked out for each other. Jack tells them he hopes they work out what is broken between them. He tells the boys that one day Jack and Rebecca won’t be alive forever and they will need each other.
After the funeral there is a reception. Randall greets guests and thanks them for coming. Kevin spots that Randall is wearing their Dad’s watch. He angrily confronts him and Randall tells Kevin that Rebecca said he could have it. Kevin storms off while Kate goes after him. Kevin confronts Rebecca about the watch. Randall asks Kevin not to do this at the funeral. Kevin unleashes his anger and tells Randall that if he was a real man he would have stopped their Dad from going back into the house. Kevin tells Randall he never would have let their Dad back into the house. Randall reminds Kevin that he wasn’t there. Kate encourages them to stop, as Rebecca sits on the bench in silence. Kate leaves and Kevin goes after her. Rebecca gets up to get a drink as Randall apologizes.
Jack is driving around the city, dressed for work and drinking coffee. He spots Kate sitting at a bus stop wearing head phones. He pulls over and confronts her that it is a school day. Kate tells him that Alanis Morissette, her favorite artist, is signing at a store near them. Jack makes Kate get into the car. She asks if he is going to take her back to school and he tells Kate he will drive her to Jerry’s Records. Kate puts in a tape of Alanis Morissette. Jack does not like it and tells Kate that it is whiny music. Jack then puts in a tape of Bruce Springsteen, an American Hero. Kate compares Alanis and Bruce and how they use songs to tell their stories. Kate tells Jack she has been writing her own music. Jack encourages Kate to consider music as a career path. Jack gives her a pep talk and Kate thanks him for the ride. She tells him that Bruce is not bad.
Kate is sitting in the car outside of the funeral. She flashes to being in Miguel’s house with everybody sleeping in the same bed. Kate picks up Louie and goes into the kitchen. She asks Rebecca to explain how Jack died. Kate says it is her fault because Jack went back inside.
Rebecca is standing outside the funeral home. Dr. K (Gerald McRaney) walks up and greets Rebecca. She looks at him in astonishment and hugs him while crying. Dr. K introduces his wife Anne (Susan Blakely). Rebecca finds out that Jack visited Dr. K when the kids were little. Dr. K and Rebecca sit together and he asks her why she is outside. Rebecca tells him that she has been following Jack’s urn because she wasn’t there when he died. Rebecca tells Jack that Dr. K was fearless. Dr. K tells her that Jack had lots of fears- about his wife, children, and not making sure everybody was safe, healthy and happy. Dr. K reminds Rebecca that she is tough; she already had a baby that died. Dr. K gives Rebecca another pep talk about lemons and reminds her that she is strong. Rebecca and Dr. K sit outside and he comforts her.
In the Wagoneer, Jack tells everybody not to make plans for the next Saturday, a week after the Super Bowl, because he has a big surprise. The family brings in their Super Bowl groceries.
Rebecca enters the funeral reception and gathers the kids, gets the urn and they all leave. Kate holds the urn in the car. Rebecca finds Jack’s coffee cup in the holder. They all walk up to Jack’s tree together. Rebecca asks if they knew the story of the favorite tree. They all chime in and share pieces of the story. Rebecca shares with the kids that when they first got married she didn’t know if she wanted to have kids right away. Then she reminisces that Jack was the worst at movies. As soon as the movie would start, he would predict the plot and he was always right. Rebecca compares this to how Jack could see things before they happen. She tells them that Jack saw the three kids before they happened. Randall and Kate openly cry while Kevin fights back tears. Rebecca tells the boys they do not need to be the “man of the house.” She encourages all of them to be kids but maybe pitch in and help with the laundry. Rebecca tells Kate to not blame herself for Jack going back inside because Jack made the choice to go back inside. Then they all sprinkle Jack’s ashes at the base of his favorite tree. Kate asks that they not sprinkle all the ashes. They all agree that they should still go to the Springsteen concert that night. Kevin walks off with his arm around Kate as Rebecca asks for a moment alone. She tells Jack that they will all be ok.
Jack tells Mel he doesn’t want a used car because he sees that the Wagoneer is their car. They want to make their own memories in it. He asks Mel to help him with the car because he wants his family to be ok.
After the funeral Rebecca drives over the bridge as Kevin pats Randall’s arm with Jack’s watch on it.