‘This Is Us’ Recap ‘Strangers’

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NBC/Ron Batzdorff

The Pearson’s are back… aren’t they? This Is Us starts season 4 with Strangers, and with it are multiple new characters and new timelines.

Jack, Rebecca, and the parents make 3.

Back in 1972, we get a meet-cute between Jack and Miguel as well as an introduction to Rebecca’s parents. We already know her negative relationship with her mother, but here we see just how much she loves her Dad. It’s very unfortunate that he doesn’t quite agree with her taste in men. During a tense dinner, they discuss Vietnam, and Jack defends the war and his choices. We can see Rebecca falling for him with every word. Her father seems impressed, but at the end of the dinner takes him to one side, warning him that he will do what it takes to stop this. Obviously, we know where Jack and Rebecca end, but it will be interesting to see more of Rebecca, both young and old this season, and how her family life is affected by her decision to be with Jack.

NBC/Ron Batzdorff

You can’t go home again.

Our first new character this season is Army Officer Cassidy (Jennifer MorrisonOnce Upon A Time, House). We see her on duty, before returning home to a perfect suburbia with husband and son. Unfortunately, the human devastation of war has followed her home and PTSD kicks in. She starts to drink and lose control, before lashing out and accidentally hitting her son. We eventually see her meet up with a veteran’s support group and start to process her demons. The session is interrupted by an angry Uncle Nicky throwing a chair through the window.

NBC/Ron Batzdorff

And they called it diner love.

Second up is a young blind man (Blake Stadnik), with the worlds most adorable puppy. A smashed breakfast plate leads him to a diner for breakfast where his charm (very reminiscent of a certain Jack Pearson) woos the waitress.  We follow them through numerous points of their relationship, engagement and subsequent pregnancy. As with Morrison’s storyline, and most new This Is Us storylines, time periods are suspiciously kept under wraps until the big reveals at the end of the episode.

NBC/Ron Batzdorff

Crazy bout the girl

Our last new storyline is a young teenager Malik (Asante Blackk – When They See Us) obsessed with ‘his girl’. In typical Fogelman style, this is not a girlfriend but his infant daughter who his parents are helping him to raise. His relationship with his daughter and the lengths he’ll go to scream Randall Pearson, but luckily his father (like Randalls’) is there with a handy speech to keep him on the right track. (Eagle eyes will have spotted another House alum, Omar Epps.)

(L-R) Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown photographed for Variety by Bryce Duffy on the set of This Is Us on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles.

The Big 3 return

Finally, at the end of the episode, we get to see our Big Three for the first time all episode and firmly tie together the new entrants to the show. First up is Kevin, who receives a call saying Uncle Nicky has been arrested for the chair-throwing incident. Kev is off to save the day, and perhaps fall in love with Morrison? This would fill in the puzzle piece from last season’s finale about who the mother of his future child may be.

Second up we have Kate and Toby with baby Jack. We learn that despite procedures, Jack will never regain full eyesight. Flash forward to our pregnant couple, where we are finally introduced to Jack Damon, arriving on stage at his sold-out concert.

And lastly, we see Malik at a barbecue where he is introduced to Deja. Sparks clearly fly, and when she returns home that evening, she can’t contain her glow, even as Randall teases her.

Season 4 is officially here.

And there we have it, 3 new storylines, one new timeline, and potential questions answered?

With such a large cast, it seems strange to add characters, but season 3’s finale signaled the beginning of the end. While we maybe only at the beginning of the Jack and Rebecca story, it’s clear that the creators are looking towards the shows eventual end in season 5.

What do you think of the new additions? Which storyline are you most looking forward to this season?

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