“We’re going to go for it in season 3. It’s going to be our most ambitious [season yet].” Creator Dan Fogelman, SXSW
This Is Us isn’t a show you could ever accuse of doing it easy. Season 2 continued throwing linear storytelling out the window, expanded yet somehow managed to service its sprawling cast equally, and still took its sweet time giving up the morbid mystery viewers were crying out to be solved. 14 episodes, in fact, to finally lay blame for Pearson patriarch Jack’s death as a faulty slow-cooker, a battery-less smoke alarm and, more debatably, an adopted pup called Louie.
But if you thought water-cooler classic ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ was surely This Is Us at its zenith, think again. As the game-changing flash-forwards in the season 2 finale so intriguingly indicated, there are plenty more mysteries where that came from, which star Sterling K Brown warned People will “slay hearts all over the globe.”
After hitting rock bottom this year, Kevin will embark on a journey for answers in season 3. Seen aboard a plane bound for Vietnam, expect his quest to shine a light on his war veteran dad’s unseen history. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, actor Justin Hartley explained that Kevin’s “retracing his father’s footsteps. To find clues and get information about things he doesn’t quite know about.”
As for Kevin’s love life, Hartley won’t be drawn on whether Beth’s cousin Zoe is indeed more than just a flight companion, but does admit she’s “come at a time in his life when he might need something like that.”
He may be gone, but if you haven’t yet cottoned on, Jack Pearson is certainly not forgotten. Hartley, in fact, declared to WIRED that season 3 will feature “the biggest Jack story of the series” – and it seems sure to include what happened to Nicky, the brother we believe died in action.
“There’s still so much to know about this man, from all the eras,” Milo Ventimiglia told Esquire. “[Jack’s] upbringing, what happened to him in Vietnam, what happened to him after Vietnam before he met Rebecca. His brother – I think’s something that’s going to come up relatively quickly, and play out over the next season or so. I’m excited to focus on how Jack lived, as opposed to worrying about how he died.”
No sooner had we witnessed Toby on cloud nine in ‘The Wedding’ as he finally put a ring on Kate’s finger, then we’re shown a troubling future snapshot of him bed-ridden, consumed by the depression we hoped was a thing of the past. From one extreme to the other, Chris Sullivan told TV Insider that Toby’s duality will be fully explored in season 3. "I'm looking forward for the audience to see both the light side and the side where he holds his pain and suffering. I think through that, the audience will get a much more grounded view of who he is and why he is the way he is."
Will season 3 manage to convince even his most entrenched detractors to join Team Miguel? His on-screen wife Mandy Moore thinks so. "It's hard to imagine Rebecca without Jack, and that she did move on with her life,” Moore told Extra, “but that storyline is going to be a big focus next season. [Viewers will] absolutely come to like Miguel."
Randall, Tess & ‘Her’
No flash-forward was more potent than seeing an aging Randall implore his grown-up daughter: "It's time to go see her, Tess." To which she forbodingly responds: "I'm not ready." Some fans have predicted the ‘her’ in question is foster child Deja, last seen reducing a windshield to rubble, while the majority dread that another tragic spousal departure is on the cards. Thankfully, This Is Us co-creator Isaac Aptaker assured Glamour that, for now at least, those fears are unfounded. “Beth's okay! I don't know where that [rumour] came from, but there's no conspiracy."
Sterling K Brown is in on the secret, but fears a creator-shaped reprisal if he divulged. “[Dan] Fogelman would cut off my big toe if I actually told you who it was," the actor told EW. "But I can tell you it’s probably not what you suspect. It will be like, 'Oh, wow, didn’t see that coming.'"
It’s This Is Us – we wouldn’t expect anything less.