Tear ducts all around the country, across almost every imaginable demographic, have turned into waterfalls ever since the very first episode of NBC’s hit drama, ”This Is Us” premiered September 20, 2016.
Built around the Pearson family, led by father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore), “This Is Us” centers around the three Pearson siblings: Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), and their adopted Black brother, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), who substitutes for the triplet who didn’t make it.
High-achieving Randall’s world initially got torn apart when he found his biological father, William (Ron Cephas Jones) only to have their time cut short when William died from cancer.
Kevin is the All-American athlete who turned to acting after his sports career ended with a knee injury before it could truly begin. Kate is a promising singer who is crippled by her weight and has done every diet to try to compete with the woman she thinks everyone wants her to be.
The three stand at different points in a whirlwind, only anchored by the one person who made them all feel worthy; their father Jack who died when they were teenagers. We finally learned how that happened last season (it was a heart attack and not in the house fire as we all assumed).
Even as Kate is in wedded bliss with Toby (Chris Sullivan), Randall remains content with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Justin searches for love, Jack, even in death, still looms large in their lives. Though they are all adults now, they still feel the void left by their father’s death. All these years later, it’s still hard for the siblings to accept their mom’s husband Miguel (Jon Huertas), whom they grew up knowing as their dad’s best friend
It may sound like a hot steaming pile of convoluted mess for a hit TV series, especially with all the flashbacks, but believe us when we say it works.
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“This Is Us” has consistently drawn at least 10 million live viewers and regularly trends on Twitter during its broadcast. It has garnered two huge Emmy wins for its Black actors—one for Sterling K. Brown for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series last year and another for Ron Cephas Jones for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series this year.
The main cast has also received epic raises, with each of the five core actors—Brown (Randall), Metz (Kate), Hartley (Kevin), Moore (Rebecca) and Ventimiglia (Jack)—making a whopping $250,000 per episode each, totaling a reported $4.5 million a season for 18 episodes. Because all the actors make the same across the board, it’s been touted as a major equal pay win in Hollywood.
Tonight brings the start of season three with even more drama, surprises and tears shed. Here are some details of what we see ahead broken down by characters.
Jack and Rebecca
Word is that we will get to see Jack woo Rebecca even more. In previous seasons, his love for her is down right palpable, but it’s been overshadowed by being pregnant with triplets, losing one, gaining another and then raising them all together. We got a glimpse of Jack’s Vietnam story, and we’re betting that the writers will take us back in time to show how he made it home, but his brother, Nicky did not.
Or did he?
Kate and Toby
Now that they are husband and wife, the expectation would be for Kate and Toby’s epic love story to continue in new and exciting ways. Instead, last season’s finale foreshadowed Toby slipping into a grand depression while Kate took over as his caretaker. Now that she has said her vows, why does it seem like Kate has to settle for “worse” before it gets “better” …if it gets better. She already suffered a miscarriage and continues to battle her weight and body issues. Plus, she’s still dealing with losing Jack. We’re hoping this season cuts Kate some slack and not put more on her already overwhelmed plate.
Beth and Randall
Yes, we know that Deja is having a hard time processing her mom Shauna (Joy Brunson) signing away her parental rights to Beth and Randall, but her violent outbursts are becoming more than concerning. Smashing Randall’s prized Benz during the season two finale was frankly scary. Luckily, Zoe (Melanie Liburd) is still around and she can help calm Deja down in ways Beth and Randall are still learning how to do.
Beth may want to check herself. She’s meddling into Zoe’s affairs (literally) as her cousin and brother-in-law are getting overly friendly. Beth already just tolerates Kevin, but now he’s messing with her family, giving her real reason to truly hate him.
On the couple front, give us more Beth and Randall please!! Television needs more examples of Black relationships built on love and partnership. They are not only couple goals, but character goals as well. Please, please NBC don’t mess with Beth and Randall. We might never forgive you.
It’s always hard to keep up with Kevin. His good looks are a gift, but of course the inflated ego typically gets in his way like a curse he can’t shake and it ends up affecting everyone around him. Maybe Zoe will be the woman to crack the code.
The season two finale did foreshadow them going to Vietnam together, but given that we know Jack’s history there, that probably won’t turn out well for Kevin. Then again, what does turn out well for Kevin? He is the master of self-sabotage and it gets grueling to watch.
Poor Miguel always seems to be out there on his own. He might be with Rebecca, but it is awfully hard to keep competing with the ghost of the most perfect husband, father, and best friend in the world, Jack Pearson. Worse yet, he absolutely knows this to be true. As the show delves deeper into Rebecca’s early relationship with Jack, Miquel could easily start fading into the past and stay there.
Follow us @theGrio on Twitter as we live tweet tonight’s show. Season three of “This Is Us” airs on NBC at 9PM EST.