Season 3 premiere of ‘This is Us’ leaves viewers speculating over how rest of season will look

The NBC drama left viewers with mysterious flash-forwards in the season two finale, and the season three premiere begins to unwrap what is to come.

This review contains spoilers for seasons two and three of “This Is Us.”

After six months of waiting, viewers finally got to watch the season three premiere of NBC’s hit drama, “This is Us.” The lovable, complicated yet always entertaining Pearson family returned on Tuesday, Sept. 25 after viewers speculated all summer over how the upcoming season would turn out.

The season two finale ended with three mysterious flash-forwards. One of them showed Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and adult Tess (Iantha Richardson) going to see an unnamed woman. Another showed Toby, (Chris Sullivan), in bed struggling with depression. Finally, we saw Kevin (Justin Hartley) with Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) on a flight to Vietnam. Viewers were also left with the scene of Déjà (Lyric Ross) smashing Randall’s new car during Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby’s wedding.

Viewers awaited the season three premiere in hopes that some of these questions would be answered. While the plot did progress and we saw a little bit more in-depth into the flash-forwards, it is still a mystery as to how exactly the flash-forwards will come about.

In the premiere, one storyline that comes with a happy ending is Déjà’s story. We see that Déjà is still living with Randall and Beth after she smashed Randall’s car. We also see Déjà’s mother giving up her parental rights, a somber yet somewhat in-the-background moment leading to Randall and Beth wanting to legally adopt Déjà. Randall brings up the idea of adoption to Déjà, but she doesn’t take it well initially. Although in the end, Déjà wants to sign the adoption papers.

Each episode comes with a flashback, and this time it was of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) first date. The date goes terribly but ends in a sweet moment where Rebecca leaves her coat in Jack’s car to get him to come back to return it the next day. However, when Jack returns the next day, another man is shown at Rebecca’s door, kissing her while holding a large bouquet of flowers. Who this man is may be a mystery, but this will definitely be a story that is pushed off to the side as viewers know that Rebecca and Jack are together in the end.

One of the three main cliffhangers shown in the finale of season two is of Toby in his bed, struggling with a severe case of depression. In this episode, Kate and Toby visit a fertility doctor in hopes that they will somehow be able to successfully have a baby following Kate’s miscarriage. It is explained that both Kate and Toby had physical issues that could prevent them from having a baby, and the doctor commented that Toby’s use of antidepressants could have something to do with it. He lightly laughed and brushed it off, explaining that there was not anything he could really do about that. As soon as the antidepressants came up, I knew that this was going to play a role in getting to the flash-forward.

Initially, the doctor refused to take on their case and Kate and Toby were beginning to attempt to cope. However, after some thinking and research, the doctor called back and said that she wanted to try. Kate was still enthusiastic about the possibility. Toby saw that glimmer of hope in Kate, and then we see him dump his antidepressants into the toilet. This moment gave viewers a seemingly obvious insight into how the show will progress into the Toby flash-forward story.

The most suspenseful season two cliffhanger, in my opinion, was the flash-forward of Randall and adult Tess, where Randall asks his daughter if she is ready to see a mysterious “her.” The season three premiere did not seem to include any clues as to how we will get to this point, but we do get to see this flash-forward again, this time seeing more of what is happening.

After what we had already seen, Randall is shown calling Toby, who picks up the phone while alone in a pretty bare room in bed. Randall explains that “she” would want him there, and while Toby was unsure, he said he would be on his way. At the end of season two, I wondered if the “her” they were referring to could be Déjà, but I really didn’t know. The fact that we now know that Toby plays a role and that it would be important to this woman to have Toby there, wherever “there” is, makes me think this mystery woman is Kate.

If the woman is Kate, where is she and what has happened to her? Why is it a relevant story to the series now, as it is pretty far off in the future now that Tess is an adult? Are Kate and Toby no longer together? This extended flash-forward might have given viewers more information, but it brings up a lot more questions as well.

The Kevin and Zoe flash-forward from the season two finale showed them on a flight to Vietnam, where Jack had fought in the war. This revealed that Kevin and Zoe would become a couple and that Kevin wanted to feel closer to his father. In the season three premiere, we see that Kevin and Zoe had been continuing a secret, casual relationship since they met at Kate and Toby’s wedding.

Beth, Kevin’s sister-in-law and Zoe’s cousin, figured it out as soon as she saw them interact, and in turn screamed at Zoe, making viewers think she disapproved of the relationship because of Kevin’s immaturity, such as when he accidentally drove her daughters while intoxicated. However, we end up seeing a conversation between Beth and Kevin, where she reveals to Kevin that what she is really worried about is Zoe hurting Kevin, not the other way around. Kevin shrugs it off for a while because although we do not know how far in the future Kevin and Zoe will be flying to Vietnam together, it is pretty clear that at that moment, they are still a happy couple.

While the plot is certainly developing, there is much left to be unfolded throughout the rest of season three. New questions seem to arise every episode, only adding to the suspenseful nature that the flash-forwards bring about. It is evident that it is going to be another season of twists and turns for the Pearson family.

Edited by Siena DeBolt | sdebolt@themaneater.com

More Stories