‘This Is Us’: Is Uncle Nicky Keeping a Shocking Secret From the Big Three?

The character of Uncle Nicky in NBC’s This Is Us is the ultimate representation of a troubled outcast family member who seems to find some sort of redemption late in life. Played brilliantly as an older man by Griffin Dunne (and Michael Angarano as young Uncle Nicky), everyone probably knows a person like Uncle Nicky in their family.

While the show offered details on how Nicky became ill with PTSD following the Vietnam War, there’s also been a flash-forward showing him by Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) bedside as she deteriorates from an unknown medical condition.

Griffin Dunne as Nicky on NBC's 'This Is Us.'
Griffin Dunne as Nicky on NBC’s ‘This Is Us.’ | Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

What happens in-between that time is slowly playing out during Season 4, but some fans suggest Nicky could be hiding something shocking the Big Three don’t know about. Would this be typical of This Is Us throwing an unsettling familial twist?

If there’s something else bad in Nicky’s past, it probably won’t shock viewers

One thing about This Is Us that makes it stand apart from other family dramas is its brave approach to tragedies and never flinching on showing the truth. Doing so can be very painful sometimes as everyone saw with the odd and tragic circumstances surrounding Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. The fact that it all started from something seemingly innocuous as a faulty crockpot, it tells everyone real-life works exactly the same way.

Should something shocking come out about Nicky in the ensuing years after he and Jack reunited, it may not shock anyone based on what’s already been shown. It’s easy to argue his judgment wasn’t always the greatest as shown when he accidentally had a young boy killed in Vietnam.

Maybe he learned to live more cautiously afterward, despite suffering from PTSD and alcoholism from then on. Since his life has been kind of rough since then (including living in a trailer), he might have had some involvement in some seedy things up until Kevin (Justin Hartley) connected with his unknown uncle.

Whatever secret that might be could shock the entire family. Nevertheless, whatever it is might be quickly forgiven based on seeing him within the good graces of the family in the future.

Online fans think Nicky will serve some larger purpose

There has to be something bigger there with Nicky since he wouldn’t be involved in the story without some kind of twist or bombshell. Reddit fans think so anyway, simply because this is how the structure of This Is Us works so far. No character is going to be there just to get in the way without having a significant purpose.

Then again, there could be a different twist involving Uncle Nicky. Because he’s been so troubled, viewers might just assume he has something egregious in his past to trouble fans and the Pearson kids. What if it turns out to be something more positive, as in finding out he has a child he never knew?

A clue to this might come in something one Reddit user above noted. In a flashback sequence where Jack met back up with Nicky later, the latter says he’s had some elements of a better life in prior years. Whatever this entailed isn’t revealed, yet could provide a clue maybe he had a relationship with a woman, maybe his prior girlfriend named Sally.

If so, a perfect family twist would be to find out she had a child he didn’t know about, bringing a new Pearson into the fray.

Any Pearson family fractures will likely be amended

Even if a Nicky shocker is something more salacious, redemption is clearly in the cards as the ultimate ending point for the show. All the flash-forwards have already set this up, and it’s all a matter of the details in how it gets there.

By the end, everyone will have seen This Is Us‘s real purpose: To help anyone with fractured families find a roadmap to forgiveness and finding the value in togetherness.