This Is Us ended Season 5 with a shocking twist. After spending what felt like the entire season building up to Madison and Kevin’s wedding (there were even multiple proposals), Madison faced reality just in time and shut it all down. Thankfully, the time jump at the end of the Season 5 finale suggested Madison and Kevin were doing just fine as co-parents and BFFs despite her jilting him. That leaves Season 6 to explain how they get from their fresh breakup to their future dynamic. But first, it seems they have to deal with being the “Porsche of awkward co-parenting” as a new character comes into their lives. So, who is Elijah, and how will This Is Us incorporate him into Madison’s world?
Warning: Spoilers for the This Is Us Season 6 premiere follow. As is tradition, This Is Us’ new season opens on Aug. 31, the birthday shared by the triplets and their father, Jack. Kevin’s birthday start with a flashback to a sexcapade with a pair of young women, then came to the present with a very different double team with his infant children, who he carried from the garage where he’s been sleeping to the house proper, where Madison lives. He acknowledged it’s a bizarre arrangement, but he grew up with his parents just a bedroom away, and he wanted the same for Nicky and Franny. Madison seemed chill with him being there, at least for now.
But this platonic relationship was upended when a new man started spending time with Madison. Despite having her would-be husband in the garage, Madison was beginning to move on with her life, making friends and hosting book clubs. Her newest was a book club meeting for fantasy nerds, during which they discussed The Queen of the Tearling (shout out to the Erika Johansen fans), and one member stood out after he volunteered to stay and clean up: Elijah.
Madison seemed like she could be unaware of just how into her Elijah was. But it was all Kevin could see as he stood there, helplessly watching the woman who refused to marry him smile shyly at someone else.
The relationship in the first episode didn’t seem to have progressed to the point of a first kiss or anything. However, Madison was into Elijah enough that he was still there, hours later, when Kevin returned home at the end of the night with the twins in tow. They were watching a show Kevin and Madison were supposed to be streaming together, and worse, she and Elijah had moved to the next episode without Kevin.
It took a long pointed look from Kevin before Elijah got the hint to hit the road. But Elijah’s mere existence was enough of a wake-up call for Kevin: If he wanted to move on, they had to live apart. But whether Kevin’s exit to Kate’s guest room at the end of the episode is an opening Elijah will step into remains to be seen. However, for those hoping for a Kevin and Madison rekindling, it seems time is marching forward for this relationship, not back. Even if Kevin decides to stay in Los Angeles and star in the reboot of The Manny, it looks like he’ll move on with his love life, and Madison with hers.
This Is Us: The Final Chapter continues with new episodes every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming the next day on Hulu.