(CNN)“This is Us” incorporated “Dynasty’s” infamous 1985 wedding-massacre cliffhanger into its wedding-episode season finale, which exhibits both a sense of humor and an element of TV savvy. But then the show delivered another pair of pull-the-rug-out surprises, less paving the way for its final season than reinforcing the sense that it’s probably time to go.
The fifth season’s closing chapter had built toward the wedding of Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson), in a slightly awkward union that has followed the birth of their twins. Yet Kevin’s response to a marriage quiz in the penultimate hour reinforced Madison’s fears that his heart might not really be in it, leading to a confrontation that seemed inevitable as the hour wore on.
“I can’t marry someone who’s not in love with me,” Madison finally announced, after Kevin proved unable to utter those three little words.
“Couldn’t say it to her,” he admitted to his family, after the whole thing had been called off. “Couldn’t lie to her.”
As is so often the case with this Emmy-nominated NBC drama, though, wait, there’s more. The story then leaped several years ahead, to another wedding, this time involving Kevin’s sister Kate (Chrissy Metz), who has been going through her own real-time crisis regarding her current husband Toby (Chris Sullivan).