In recent days I’ve had to wrap my head around a lot—re: Pete Davidson and Ariana Grand’s split, Justin Bieber’s conflicted feelings for Ms. Gomez AND my Uber rating has dropped significantly—dark times people, dark freakin’ times. So forgive me if I was kinda looking forward to curling up on the couch, lap warm from a steaming bowl of apple crisp, for a lighthearted episode of This Is Us, featuring Kevin’s self-serving antics and
Rebecca 2.0 Kate’s whining, peppered with a couple bangers courtesy of Beth. Boy, was I wrong.
— steph williams (@keebztheelf) October 16, 2018
Episode four of Season 3 was titled “Vietnam” and the entire hour was dedicated to Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), the patriarch of the Pearson famalia and fictional heartthrob of the Americas. (Oh, and PS, in real life, Ventimiglia is actually the son of a Vietnam veteran and spoke to his father to inform his performance in this episode.)
The teaser trailer gave us shots of a clean-shaven, young Jack, talking about protecting his brother, and many hints that in this episode we would “Discover How Jack Became Jack”—a heavy promise which, tbh, should sound real familiar to This Is Us fans…
That’s because in Season 2, we learned about the the godforsaken household appliance that ultimately lead to Jack’s death, forever changing the Pearson family and moulding them into their modern-day characters. The details of said disaster were carefully unveiled over the course of the *entire* season, with the writers dropping just enough info for us to keep coming back for more. But based on the most recent This Is Us episode, we have just met this season’s crockpot: Jack’s younger brother Nick.
The fourth episode of Season 3 opens with a moustache-less Jack serving military realness in a helicopter ready to carpe the diem out of his quest to find young bro, Nick. While This Is Us is known for jumping back and forth between present day and past, this trip to Vietnam starts with Sergeant Jack and Nick’s union and rewinds further into Jack’s past to the day Nick was born. And just like with the crockpot, we start to see small examples and hints as to how this relationship sparked massive change for Jack Pearson.
Here is a list ever everything we learn about Jack’s relationship with Nick:
Three weeks earlier
We find Jack elsewhere in Vietnam amidst a latenight ambush holding a fallen friend, Robinson, whomst btw has lost a foot (the same friend Kevin emailed last episode). It’s in this precious moment that his wounded pal takes Jack’s face in the palm of his hands and reminds him to BREATH. Hence the teachable trick he would later pass on to a panic-ridden Randall. Insert tears part one here.
— Nora Dominick (@noradominick) October 17, 2018
14 months earlier
A youthful Jack reads a letter from dear old Nicky citing he’s been “Article 15-ed,” a form of military punishment that means Nick will probs never leave the war. In a classic Jack Pearson move, big bro decides it’s time to enlist.
Off to the doctors we go, where we learn Jack has had a freakin’ irregular heartbeat his whole damn life. PARDON ME?! And you knowingly re-entered a burning building to save Kate’s dog??!!
— Destiny’s Stepchild (@will_haywood99) October 17, 2018
One year earlier
It’s lottery draft day and a long-haired, bell bottom-wearing ’70s snack, aka Nick Pearson (Michael Anganaro), has’t arrived. Nicky is allegedly born with a horseshoe up his butt and thus needn’t worry about le draft. Naturally, October 18, Nick’s unfortunate day of birth gets picked, and big bro Jack comes up with a big boy plan to escape on a “hunting trip” to Canada. God bless him. Though we know he’d tots rather pull a Katniss Everdeen.
— Tara (@ShilohStorm) October 17, 2018
Thirty miles from the border of our home and native land, the boys decide to catch some zzz’s in a motel and like a thief in the night our littlest bro Nicky sneaks out mid-slumber. Hellllloooooo, Vietnam.
14 years earlier
Rewind to a preteen Jack and Nick playing an innocent game of catch when, whoopsie, Jack accidentally sends a football flying at Nicky’s glasses. Visibly upset and understandably fearful of what their monster of a father will do, Jack tenderly tells his younger sib “I’ll never let him hurt you.” Nick was clearly Jack’s first step on his path to father-of-the-year mug territory.
7 years earlier
Hallelujah, the day Nick is born has finally arrived and we learn that, to our shock and awe, Papa Pearson wasn’t always the worst (sober, warm and, dare I say, kind?!), telling a toddler Jack that, “Big brothers look out for little brothers. It’s their only job.” That sentiment—DUH—became Jack’s mission statement in life.
We then pan to all the babies born on October 18, who will eventually have to serve in the impending war and learn Nick was born at 11:58 p.m. and almost escaped this cruel fate. *Cue flashback to the moment we saw that dang crockpot get plugged in.*
— 💜 Teetads 💜 (@teetads) October 17, 2018
By the end of episode four, we know that dear Nick dies, but are no closer to finding out how. And let’s get real, we’re not going to find out any time soon. Lest we forget the neverending teasers of a burning house circa Season 2. Give this plotline at least a season, maybe two, in order to slowly reveal how the death of Nick creates Jack Pearson, the man, the myth and the legend that stands before us today.
Strap in, folks, because if Season 2’s crockpot taught us anything, it’s that This Is Us is going to keep us stewing on Jack and Nick’s relationship for many, many episodes to come.
If This Is Us Comes for Beth and Randall’s Marriage, I Am Done.
The Big Three Questions: Decoding This Is Us Hints From the Season 3 Premiere
This Is Us Star Hannah Zeile Reveals the Best BTS Secrets from Set