The Pearsons are preparing to say goodbye sooner than you think — and we're not talking about next season.
Season 5 of This Is Us — which was to consist of 18 episodes, like each of the previous seasons — will now conclude after episode 16. In a promo that aired the end of Tuesday's episode of NBC's hit family drama, it was revealed (and confirmed later by NBC) that not only would the show return to the air on May 11, there are only three episodes left in the season. Given that Tuesday's episode was the 13th of the season, well, you can do the math.
The reason for the small reduction in episodes is indeed the pandemic, and other shows have also had to trim their episode orders. This Is Us has had to roll with the punches of an unpredictable schedule this season. As was the case with many other shows, the spread of COVID-19 has delayed production multiple times, resulting in a late start for season 5, and only four episodes airing in the fall. The show has aired nine of the last 15 weeks, and will now take another hiatus — this time for four weeks — to start building up a reserve of episodes to finish the season. By the way, the finale on May 25 will be seen at a different time, 10 p.m., given that The Voice will be airing that night.
It is not yet confirmed that two more episodes will be added to next season's order to compensate for the fewer episodes this season. In 2019, NBC ordered three more seasons of the series, at 18 episodes per season.
In last night's episode, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) reunited for a raw and honest conversation about race and their relationship. To find out what the This Is Us writers had to say about the episode's biggest moments, head over here.