"It broadens our world in a way," says Brown.

By Dan Snierson
August 28, 2019 at 01:53 PM EDT
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
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In a moment of concern at the end of the season 3 finale of This Is Us, Randall cautiously opened the door to the bedroom at Kevin’s house and greeted his infirm eightysomething mother by repeating his name. In the present day, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) also opened a door, this one to reconciliation and a new beginning: a move to Philadelphia.

The newly elected City Councilman voted yes on a bold plan brainstormed by wife/dancing queen Beth: let’s move the family to the City of Brotherly Love, where she found a building that could be converted into a dance studio, and where he would no longer have a cruel daily commute. This restart will allow Randall to spend more time with the family while serving the underserved, though it comes with its own set of issues, both foreseen and unforeseen. (Remember when Randall was concerned about creating stability for Deja?) “The move to Philadelphia is inspiring, in that it gives Randall access and opportunity to be of direct service to the African-American community in a way that he hasn’t had to [up to] this point in his life,” Brown tells EW. “The nerves of it are, it’s such a central part of his identity — Am I enough? — that he’s going to be very critical of himself and the impact that he wants to have. Whether he falls shorts of what he wants to accomplish could send him in a couple of different directions.”

The season 4 premiere, which NBC will unveil on Sept. 24, is designed to send you in unexpected directions. “It’s really cool and it broadens our world in a way,” he says. “We’re not necessarily understanding how characters are connected to the Pearson plan at large… There will be something that is disruptive, from the beginning.”

What adjectives would he use to describe the episode? “Subversive,” he responds. “The show can be subversive in a way. You’re expecting something and then we flip it. And in format as well, we’ll do something for a couple of weeks and then flip it on its ear, so this is Dan [Fogelman, This Is Us creator] just playing. I love that he never stops playing and he never rests on what he’s done before. He’s constantly trying to outdo himself. I didn’t even know that was something you were looking for in a showrunner, but I adore it.”

Speaking of said leader, Fogelman hinted that season 4 will feature “restarts” for pretty much everyone in the Pearson family and “a very scary period” for some of the characters. Click here to find out more about the new season, which will be “very ambitious and sprawling in terms of how it plays with time.”

Eager to learn what hints Brown dropped about the flash-forward mysteries from season 3’s finale? Open this door.

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  • 3
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  • 45
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  • Tuesdays at 9:00pm
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  • 09/20/16
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