TV Critic’s Corner

A look ahead at the third season of ‘This Is Us’

Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown in “This Is Us.”
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown in “This Is Us.”

“This Is Us” returns on Tuesday night, so brace yourselves for some Pearson-style plucking of the heartstrings. Also, get your juggling skills up to speed. The show will include a regular future timeline, which we saw in last season’s finale, along with the current and past eras of the family.

Here are a few upcoming events.

1. In last season’s finale, we flashed forward and saw an older Randall and daughter Tess as an adult. “It’s time to go see her, Tess,” Randall says, to which she replies, “I’m not ready.” Who is “her”? We will find out, along with a lot of new things about Beth, Randall’s wife and Tess’s mother. Indeed, Beth will get an episode of her very own. Show creator Dan Fogelman told E!, “We have some stuff coming for Beth right away early in season three where you really learn about her and where she comes from and what her background is that I think is going to be really exciting for the audience.”


2. We’ll continue to learn more about Deja, including the identity of her father. Lyric Ross, who plays Deja, has been made a series regular this season.

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3. We do know Jack, but we’re about to get to know him better. We’ll find out about his time in Vietnam, and we’ll meet his little brother, Nicky, with whom he served. Nicky, who (supposedly?) died in Vietnam, will be played by Michael Angarano, who started his career as Jack’s son on “Will & Grace” and more recently costarred on “The Knick.” Fogelman consulted with Tim O’Brien, author of the Vietnam stories “The Things They Carried,” for the plot line.

4. Kevin and his girlfriend, Beth’s cousin Zoe, whom he met at Kate’s wedding, will go to Vietnam to find out more about Jack’s experience there. Is Zoe the one for Kevin, who keeps screwing up his own love life? Beth is not particularly happy about their relationship. Also, the Ron Howard WWII movie starring Kevin and Sylvester Stallone will finally be released.

5. I’m afraid Fogelman and company are going to try to make us open our hearts to the man who dared to marry his best friend’s widow. We’ll see more about how Rebecca and Miguel got together in the first place, and what they’re like when they’re alone together. We’ll also see flashbacks to Jack and Rebecca’s courtship.

6. Kate and Toby are going to continue to try to have children. At the same time, Toby will suffer from serious depression.


7. The season premiere, like those before it, will be set on a Big Three birthday. They’ll be turning 38.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.