Season 4 of This Is Us has already proven to be as ambitious, if not more so, than previous seasons. New characters and timelines tested viewers’ sanity (and patience) in episode one, while the second episode brought the Pearsons back to the forefront.
In case you missed it, or want to re-live the experience, here’s everything you need to know from episode three (spoilers ahead).
What Uncle Nicky did before and after he threw a chair through the window
Episode three opened with a montage of Nicky’s life (played by Griffin Dunne). He received a letter in the mail from Kevin (Justin Hartley) with a picture of baby Jack. This turning point inspired Nicky to get the help he needed to cope with past issues.
Nicky sought the help of a therapist within the Veteran’s Administration. In the beginning, Nicky failed to have a real conversation about his struggles. Over the years, he learned to keep his secrets buried and to suffer in silence, alone.
Eventually, Nicky bonded with his therapist. It translated through him finally taking care of himself. He cleaned his trailer and improved his quality of life.
Then, Nicky’s therapist said she planned to transfer and would no longer treat him. This may be one of the only times he’d opened up to anyone since the Vietnam war (where he was believed to have died before Kevin sought out answers from Jack’s past), so this felt like a betrayal.
Nicky left mid-conversation to get drunk. This led to him throwing a chair through the window of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the VA. Nicky was arrested.
Kevin, who’s a recovering alcoholic and addict, came to Nicky’s rescue. “I didn’t need you to come,” Nicky said. Luckily, Kevin paid no attention. He took Nicky to apologize and requested an evaluation to avoid a large fine and/or a prison sentence for destroying government property.
In the waiting room, Kevin and Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison) met as Kevin kept Cassidy’s son company. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. Afterward, Nicky got drunk again, and Kevin decided he’d had enough.
He took him to an AA meeting where Kevin and Cassidy met again. Because of the coincidence, This Is Us theories of Kevin’s eventual son, and Cassidy’s possible connection, have likely spiraled even further.
What the Big 3 did in flashback sequences
Tween versions of Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak), Kevin (Parker Bates), and Randall (Lonnie Chavis) went as expected. Kate’s obsession with weight and beauty were the focuses of her storyline this week. She asked dad, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) if she was as pretty as Cindy Crawford. Jack said, “She’s no Kate Pearson.” Aww.
Kate joined mom, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) for a jazzercise workout, then weighed herself again. She was noticeably disappointed with whatever she saw. As you watch adult Kate’s weight journey unfold, these moments are more important than ever.
Kevin took a “me” day because school hadn’t started for him or Kate just yet. Randall’s excitement to start 7th grade ended when he received a yellow slip from his new teacher. The crime? He failed to meet the dress code with his Michael Jordan sneakers (that he wore to impress the teacher).
The yellow slip induced a panic attack, prompting Randall to call home for help. Kevin answered instead of Rebecca and, out of young Kevin’s character, he went to help his brother through the anxiety.
Scenes from present-day adult Randall (Sterling K. Brown) showed how that anxiety manifested. Councilman Randall removed his office door, fear of leaving anyone displeased with him.
Kate and Toby struggled to get on the same level
Present-day Kate (Chrissy Metz) met a new neighbor, Gregory. The cranky man complained about Toby’s car in his walking path. The character, played by Timothy Omundson, later revealed he’d had a stroke. Omundson actually suffered a stroke in real life, so the portrayal is a must-see.
Show creator, Dan Fogelman, told Entertainment Tonight he wrote the part specifically for Omundson.
Episode three also highlighted a new weight issue between Kate and Toby (Chris Sullivan). Kate needed a different table at a restaurant. Embarrassed, she admitted she couldn’t fit into a booth. Toby’s weight-loss revelation suddenly became a bigger issue of trust and secrecy.
“Holy crap,” she said staring at her suddenly buff husband. Needless to say, Kate didn’t take the news of Toby’s secret workout schedule very well. Who would?
Jack nearly lost his job, but Miguel saved him
It’s no secret Fogelman and his team want viewers to love Miguel (Jon Huertas) in Season 4. Die-hard Jack Pearson fans may not take the bait, but writers are going to try anyway.
Jack unintentionally signed off on a contract that cost his company a lot of money. His boss fired him and fans collectively screamed into the abyss. Then, Miguel stepped in and threatened to leave if Jack was let go.
Jack kept his job, the two became closer, and even the most dedicated Jack fans cheered for Miguel. OK This Is Us team, we see what you’re doing here.
While that sums up the major plot points from episode three, we’d be remiss not to mention Malik (Asante Blakk) confessed he has a daughter to Deja (Lyric Ross), and Tess (Eris Baker) struggled with a new school year.
Next week, it looks like the return of Felicia Rashad as Beth’s mom tests Randall’s relationship with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) again. Something tells us there will be more tears shed in the weeks to come.