By Dan Snierson
November 20, 2018 at 02:50 PM EST
This Is Us - Season 3
Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

While you begin preparations for your Thanksgiving meal, This Is Us will serve up an unusual feast of drama for the holiday. Tuesday’s episode, titled “Six Thanksgivings,” is structured in a similar manner to season 1’s fall finale “Last Christmas,” in that each act unspools its own story. “It won’t be as traditional as what we do every week,” This Is Us executive producer Elizabeth Berger tells EW. “We’re telling six different chapters that stand alone. I can tease that we’ll see a return of William [Ron Cephas Jones], which we’re really excited about. We can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Some of the action centers on the attempt by newly pregnant Kate (Chrissy Metz) and depression-battling Toby (Chris Sullivan) to cook a Thanksgiving meal at the home of Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). “They’re going to be in charge this year because Randall has a political event that he has to go to,” adds executive producer Isaac Aptaker, “so we see what it’s like when they’re holding down the fort and trying to make dinner for the gang.”

Elsewhere, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Miguel (Jon Huertas) will be feasting with his family, and what can you expect to see when he breaks bread with his grown-up children? “They might not have the best relationship with Miguel,” says Aptaker. (And in case you’re wondering if Pilgrim Rick will make an appearance this year somewhere in this episode, Berger answers coyly: “Traditions are kept alive.”)

Meanwhile, in the ’90s past, you’ll see Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca share what will be Jack’s last Thanksgiving, and in the ’70s past, you will see how soldiers in the Vietnam War spend their Thanksgiving. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) has his plate full trying to help spiraling-out brother Nicky (Michael Angarano), as he has been given just two weeks to correct his seemingly doomed course. “Those are a very seminal two weeks for Nicky,” hints Aptaker. “And we know how determined and heroic Jack is, and he is absolutely determined to try to bring back his brother, but it’s such a ticking clock.” Hinting at those addiction issues for Nicky, Aptaker notes: “He’s become dependent on a variety of things to get through the trauma and horrors of Vietnam. That’s something we’re going to be getting into more with these next few episodes as we see how the tale of Jack and Nicky over there unfolds.”

As for that story of Jack and the mysterious Vietnamese woman who was seen wearing the necklace that Jack gave Kevin (Justin Hartley), Aptaker teases: “We’re going to pick right up with a much meatier interaction for them.” In other words: Bring your appetite to this sprawling Pearson Thanksgiving episode.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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Episode Recaps

This Is Us - Season 3

This Is Us

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

  • TV Show
  • 5
  • Tuesdays at 09:00 PM
  • Dan Fogelman
  • NBC
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