If last week’s episode of This Is Us just felt like two guys on a stage arguing about politics, this would probably be a good time to let you know that was actually the vice presidential debate, which pre-empted the show. But on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT (note the new time), a new episode of the NBC dramedy will be delivered to your TV. Given that the first two installments of the series dropped some twists that made viewers rethink the show’s game plan — including the episode 2 reveal that Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is now married to Miguel (Jon Huertas), and not Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) — you’re probably wondering where the Pearsons’ story might zig (or zag) in episode 3. Here to offer a little guidance are the stars of This Is Us and creator Dan Fogelman.
You’ll see more of the old Rebecca and Miguel.
Still reeling from that Rebecca-winds-up-with-Miguel revelation? Pull it together, because you’ll be spending more time with the present-day versions of those characters — especially Rebecca — as the episode returns to the scene of their drop-by. “You’re picking them up right inside the doorway in that scene and seeing the exchange,” Fogelman tells EW. Turns out that Miguel may not be the world’s biggest Hamilton fan, digging an even deeper hole for himself.
You’ll see young William for the first time.
The show will dip back in time further than it has, offering a flashback peek into the life of William (Ron Cephas Jones). “We see that there might have been a history with Rebecca that nobody has known about about before — that she’s kept secret for many, many years,” says Fogelman. “It’s a loaded secret that will carry us through the first season a little bit.” Which may explain his hasty retreat to his bedroom when Rebecca arrived at Randall’s house. “I think the read right now is that he wants to give Randall [Sterling K. Brown] a moment without bombarding his adoptive parents with his biological father,” Fogelman told EW last week. “Coming [this] week we’re going to learn that it’s a little more than that.”
Randall is trying to get William some help at doctors.
Ever the good son — even to a father he just met — Randall is working hard to get William top-flight medical care. “He winds up taking William to that doctor in episode 3 and figuring out just whether or not the prognosis is as Williams says it is, or if it could possibly be something slightly more optimistic,” Brown tells EW. Whatever that outcome, adds Brown, “as far as we know he’s terminally ill. How close do you allow your family to get to that person? So Beth [Susan Kelechi Watson] and Randall are constantly trying to negotiate, ‘What are you doing? Are you going to connect? Are we going to tell our children who this person is or are we going to send him on his way?’ It’s a constant roller-coaster of emotion for this whole section of the Pearson family, in terms of what next.”
NEXT: “Toby really sets the stage for Kate to come out of her shell”[pagebreak]
Toby commits another random act of Kateness, er, kindness.
“I would say that Toby really sets the stage for Kate to come out of her shell,” says Chris Sullivan, who plays Kate’s eager boyfriend. “If given the opportunity, he might do it, time after time.” (Was that a Cyndi Lauper reference? Perhaps you’re starting to see his true colors.) “It’s something that she’s always wanted to do but never felt confident enough to do it,” adds Chrissy Metz. “It’s such a kind, kind gesture, but very scary at the same time.”
Kate is breaking up… with Kevin?
With Kevin (Justin Hartley) headed to New York to pursue his theater dreams, Kate — who has been looking after her not exactly self-reliant twin brother, as his personal assistant and beyond — will have to decide how connected to her twin brother she wishes to be. Or maybe that choice will be made for her. “I think they realized that a while ago and it’s one of those things that you just don’t talk about,” says Hartley. “You’re like, ‘Yeah, I know, I know. I’ll quit smoking eventually. But Kevin finally brings it up.'” Adds Metz: “When you’re attached to the hip in the same womb as another human being and then for 36 years you’re like, ‘Oh, you’ve been my right-hand guy and girl,’ and then you leave — forget leave the house; leave the state, you’re across the country — it’s hard, it’s really hard….
The episode doesn’t end with a heartstring-yanking cliffhanger, but you might be reaching for a Kleenex before then.
“Episode 3 is the most emotional thing I’ve ever worked on,” declares Fogelman. “it’s really, really powerful origin story stuff for all the characters. We go back to the birth of the family, we go back to that time period where we start the pilot and a lot of secrets are revealed. And there’s something very visceral about the episode in a different way than the other first two have been, which are also really emotional and fulfilling.”
To watch a preview of episode 3, click here.
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