This Is Us viewers may be eager to discover the identity of the mystery woman in those flash-forwards, but first, they’re going to find out more about the mystery man in that flashback.
The season 3 premiere, which brought you the first date between Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), ended its 1972 story with a question mark and disappointment for Jack. After a fairly disastrous first date, Jack managed to salvage the situation on the car ride home by finally opening up a bit and confiding, “You make me feel like I’m home. I never really felt like that before.” They kissed before she left his car, and the next day he bought some flowers and drove back to her house to return the jacket she not-accidentally left in his car. Pulling up, though, he saw Rebecca answer the door cheerily; she was clearly expecting Jack and appeared to be startled to see a man in a mustache (played by Hunter Parrish) bearing flowers. He leaned in for the kiss, which she did return, and then she let him in her house. Ouch.
In the third episode of the season — titled “Katie Girls” and airing Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC — viewers will take a “deep dive into Rebecca’s past, which is exciting because we haven’t spent much time with Rebecca pre-Jack,” TIU executive producer Isaac Aptaker tells EW. “We’re going to learn that whole story of who this dude was who thought it would be a good idea to buy a bouquet and show up at Rebecca’s door and try to kiss her the night after her not-so-perfect first date with Jack… She’s still kind of reeling from that and then someone she was not expecting shows up at her door.”
“They’re on good enough terms for her to kiss him back,” reminds executive producer Elizabeth Berger, “and there’s a history there, and we’ll learn more about it.” Fair to say that she’ll be making a big choice in the episode? “Fair to say,” answers Berger. (Cross those fingers for Jack! It may be a long shot but for some reason we’re putting our money on this guy!)
Creator Dan Fogelman has hinted about a powerful moment between Jack and Rebecca in this episode. “There’s a scene in it that I love so much,” he said at last week’s premiere party. “I find it so wildly romantic. For me, it’s like Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze doing pottery in Ghost, but everyone has clothes on and it’s the opposite of Ghost.” And as Moore told EW, “I think that’s a moment in the life of Jack and Rebecca that really defines their relationship. It crystallizes who they are and the possibility of what they can be.”
Berger adds one more hint for this couple-to-be: “Just sitting in the car when he drops her off at home, the two of them — even when they’re doing that much or saying that much — there’s a real electricity to the two of them in this time period that is so visceral and exciting,” she says. “And I think there’s a lot more of that to come in episode 3.”
As for those present-day stories, the episode resumes in the wake of Kate’s comment that she’s the only sibling who will carry on a piece of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). As you may recall, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was not pleased to learn about this through Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Kate (Chrissy Metz) will need to do some damage control. “We’re going to… see the fallout of that inflammatory statement that Kate made,” says Aptaker. Kate will continue her journey to get pregnant and head down the IVF path. “IVF has a lot of different parts to it, a lot of different chapters, a lot of different things that you have to go through,” says Berger. “We’re going to see the way that the family rallies behind her and what their different reactions are to this next step.”
Kevin, meanwhile, will take a Gross turn while promoting his war movie Hill 400, and by that we mean that he will be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. That cameo is “for all of our NPR fans out there, like us,” says Aptaker. “We’re super excited about that. She was so, so cool, and was a fan of the show, which just blew all of our minds.”