Exec producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger preview the intense Thanksgiving episode.
This is Us
Credit: NBC: Mitchell Haddad/NBC (2); Ron Batzdorff/NBC
This Is Us - Season 3

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, which means This Is Us is about to serve up its annual feast of dysfunction and drama. (Remember this? And who can forget this?)

Tuesday’s episode of NBC’s era-hopping family drama is set around the holiday meal being held the home of Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). It will, of course, gather all the Pearsons that you would expect, but as hinted at in last week’s episode, there will be a few additions to the table this year that should make for a colorful day. Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) accepted the invitation extended by Kevin (Justin Hartley), while Deja (Lyric Ross) was last seen getting permission from her adoptive mother, Beth, to invite her troubled biological mother, Shaunna (Joy Brunson) to the meal.

“It’s actually a backdoor pilot for a Nicky-Shaunna spin-off — the show nobody knew they wanted,” deadpans This Is Us exec producer Isaac Aptaker before turning more heartfelt. “Our family and our show just keeps on expanding in what we think is this really interesting way. Collecting this really, really disparate group of characters in a pretty small Philadelphia townhouse creates just so many really interesting, complicated dynamics — and shows how just such different people continue to touch each other’s lives.”

Noted Thanksgiving fan Randall Pearson has his designs on a holiday to remember, though it may not be in the ways he has planned. “I feel like Randall might want to choose a new favorite holiday because he’s not had a relaxing Thanksgiving in quite a few years,” executive producer Elizabeth Berger tells EW. “And it’s not going to get any calmer this year.”

Especially given how Randall and Rebecca ended their last conversation. In the previous episode, Randall broached the subject of Rebecca’s memory lapses/mood swings and asked her to seek help, a suggestion that she did not appreciate, growing combative with him before shutting the door on him. Suffice it to say the turkey will be served with a side of awkward. “That’s not a fight that’s just easily swept under the rug,” says Aptaker. “They now have to face the fallout of what was said in that bedroom at the end of the episode in front of the entire family.”

If that weren’t enough, the Pilgrim Rick tradition will experience a “hiccup,” and you will travel back to a past repast that young Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Nicky (Michael Angarano) shared. Better yet, Nicky is actually in decent spirits and not-yet broken! “It’s a happier time in Nicky’s life, before they went overseas before the draft,” shares Aptaker. “It’s nice to see a warm and lovely color on the character who’s been through so much.”

You may also color yourself intrigued and concerned by the end of the episode. “There are some real huge twists and turns in this one,” warns Aptaker, “and people are going to have a bunch of new questions to be wondering over their holiday break.”

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. 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
  • 6
  • Tuesdays at 09:00 PM
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