There are weeks on This Is Us where the story can feel lightweight. Here's a sweet tale of the triplets at age 10; here's another where they're all mood 15-year-olds. Now here they are as adults, grappling with their kids hitting those same milestones — the circle of life, everyone hug. And then there are the episodes that take an entire box of tissues and a call to your therapist. "The Cabin" is one of those, climaxing when This Is Us revealed Old Kevin in the show's first flashforward to Rebecca's last days since the end of Season 3. Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us Season 4 follow.
Fans knew going in this was going to be a rough episode. Teenage Kate was at the cabin with her emotionally abusive boyfriend, Marc. In the present day, the triplets were getting together just as their lives fell apart. Meanwhile, Toby was parenting solo for the first time. There were a lot of things that could go wrong.
Toby and Baby Jack came through intact. The calvary did come for Teenage Kate, and the delay in the rescue merely insured there was tangible proof her relationship with Marc needed to be over.
As for the present day, things weren't as easy. Randall spent most of the episode in denial of how bad his anxiety was. Kevin took the news about Rebecca's mental health hard, lashing out at Randall for keeping their mother's secret. And Kate was less than pleased to learn her brother had a one night stand with her BFF Madison.
But when a puzzle piece from the family portrait suddenly turned up missing, Randall had a brainwave that brought the family together. Dig up the time capsule Jack buried when they were 13. That puzzle piece was inside. It was Kevin's idea for Randall's contribution. "This way, when we dig it up, everyone will be glad we found it."
But there was more. Inside, Rebecca's contribution was a drawing Jack made of a house he dreamed of building. And the gift from their father? A recorded message, the first time any of them had heard their father's voice in 22 years.
It was a gift Jack never knew they'd need and a gut punch to remember how full of hope he was back then. He'd just bought the cabin, with dreams of building a grander house for himself and Rebecca to grow old in. And Rebecca believed in those dreams, which never came to pass.
Except, they did. Fans who remember the flashforward from the end of Season 3 might have started screaming when they saw Jack's drawing. That picture was future Kevin's house in the Season 3 finale, where Rebecca lays dying.
The scene then flashes to 2034, as Kevin, now in his 50s, arrives home with dinner. That mansion Toby was gaping at wasn't in LA, but in Pittsburgh. It's Kevin's home in the woods, living in the house his father dreamed up. Rebecca lived her final years in the home Jack wanted to build for her. Sometimes, dreams do come true.