This Is Us will be premiering its third season this Tuesday, September 25. Coming off of two very successful prior seasons that gained the attention of both fans and critics, the third season can best be described as highly-anticipated. This is for good reason too, as the show has proven that drama can still not only survive, but also thrive, on one of the original television networks. Although at one period of time this would have seemed like an extremely likely possibility, if not an obvious one, the shifting of TV’s landscape to cable channels and streaming services having the most popular drama series has been confirmed through the years’ ratings and Emmy nominations.
This Is Us centers on the Pearson family, which consists of two parents, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and three children, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown). However, the show takes on a unique storytelling technique in which the life of these characters is portrayed in multiple stages, one being in the early 1970s, later in the 1980s, and again in present day. Therefore, although each character is still the same person, the story being told in each episode can rotate between eras of each of their lives. This has proven to be a wildly successful aspect of the show, as it makes storytelling possibilities seemingly endless, as writers can always go back to another day in the characters’ pasts and craft a completely original narrative to depict it.
The Pearson family unit is undoubtedly strong, having each experienced heartbreak that was announced very early on in the series. This occurs after the family loses their patriarch, Jack, when he is only middle-aged. The kids, who at the time were only seniors in high school, had to take on the pain and confusion that came with the event, one of them even blaming themselves for the accident. Rebecca also was forced to take on the position of being a single parent, while dealing with the man she had loved for decades. This loss shapes the characters in many different ways, even affecting their actions and relationships before the exact cause of death is revealed to the at-home audience.
Despite the sadness of this plot-line, however, the show ultimately serves as a reminder of the importance and utter beauty that is family. This is even something the actors themselves wanted to stress, reminding reporters and fans not to solely focus on Jack’s death, but instead his life, which was certainly well-lived. With that said, the Pearson family is one that is almost impossible not to root for. They face struggles like every other family, including heartbreak, confusion, and moments of disappointment within the tightly-knit group. Nonetheless, they fight through it together.
Being only two days away from the premiere of the newest season, there have been a few pieces of information released to fans to help get them even more excited for the show they love’s arrival. One of the most important revelations, which may have an undeniably major impact on the series as a whole, is the storytellers’ decision to dive into Jack’s experiences serving in the Vietnam War. This topic was not very deeply-explored in the series prior to this, having the news of its future inclusion come as a bit of a revelation to fans. However, the topic seems as though it will be a great chance to further explore the character of Jack, and what helped to shape him into the man that he ultimately became. This will also serve as an opportunity to further celebrate and remember his life rather than his death, despite fans’ knowledge of his passing occurring not far down the road. Despite his already “being gone”, this timeline will only further help the audience feel as though he is still with them.
The show is also slated to introduce Jack’s brother this season, a character who was not revealed as having existed until the story was well underway. This immediately caused suspicion as to why the storytellers kept this relationship of Jack’s a secret, and ultimately led to questions regarding the importance of Jack’s brother on his own life. Back in August, it was revealed that Michael Angarano will be playing the role of Nicky, Jack’s brother, in the upcoming season. Angarano is largely known for his role in the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here.
The off-season also saw the promotion of two characters to series regular spots. One of these characters, Deja (Lyric Ross), a young girl fostered by Randall and his wife, Beth, who goes through many of her own struggles early in her life, is now expected to be seen even more throughout Season 3. In addition to Deja, Zoe, portrayed by Melanie Liburd will also be promoted to a series regular role, and is expected to grow into a strong romantic relationship with Kevin.
The finale of Season 2 ended with Kevin and Zoe, who looked lovingly into each others eyes, on a flight to Vietnam. There, they hope to learn more about Jack, but are not exactly sure what they will find. This may be the moment in which Season 3 picks up, but may also be tucked away as an opportunity to reveal a secret later on down the road. If you are still looking to catch up on the first two seasons of the show, all episodes are currently available on Hulu.