The show is about people whose lives are all connected in some way. It focuses on a couple, Jack and Rebecca Pearson, and their kids throughout their lives-triplets Kevin, Kate and Randall Pearson.
As usual, the new season begins on “The Big Three’s” birthday. However, the episode focuses primarily on introducing some new characters, with a little bit of young Jack and Rebecca sprinkled in. This was hinted at in the title of the first episode, “Strangers.”
The new characters introduced are Cassie (Jennifer Morrison), Malik (Asante Blackk) and a man who is played by Blake Stadnik, who is a Pittsburgh native in real life.
Jack and Rebecca’s plotline focuses on Jack meeting Rebecca’s parents for the first time. Because Rebecca comes from a wealthier family, they do not approve of Jack. He comes to dinner at their country club in a borrowed suit (which he is given permission to borrow from Miguel, who we see him meet for the first time), and Rebecca’s parents visibly try to get under his skin. Despite Rebecca telling them not to talk about Vietnam to Jack, her father goes on a tangent about how it was not a real war. Jack, however, calmly owns him, stating that he lost his brother in Vietnam, so therefore, it was very real to him. After dinner, Rebecca’s father tells Jack that he is not good enough for his daughter, out of Rebecca’s earshot. Rebecca comes back, and she and Jack go to a club where she sings and dedicates her song to Jack.
Cassie, a new character, is a veteran. We see her while she is deployed, and when things go wrong, she comes back home. Throughout the episode, we watch her deal with PTSD as her normal life triggers memories from the war. Her marriage begins to fall apart, and she ends up in a support group for veterans. Here, she meets (in an unconventional way) a character we recognize. This interaction is left on a cliffhanger to be dealt with in the next episode.
We are also introduced to Malik, a young boy in high school. He is revealed to have a daughter, and he works with his father in a car shop. They are seen working on a fancy car with a license plate that says “Pearson,” alluding that it may be one of the Pearsons’ cars (most likely Randall, given context clues). At the end of the episode, he meets Deja, Randall and Beth’s adopted daughter. She comes home smiling and in a cheery mood after meeting him, which her parents take notice of.
Finally, we meet a man who is unnamed until the end of the episode. He is a blind musician, and we follow him as he meets a waitress at a diner, whom he eventually falls in love with, marries and eventually has a child with. His identity, which is revealed at the end of the episode, is extremely important. We’ll just say he has a huge connection to The Big Three, especially Kate.
This season of “This Is Us” looks very promising with the addition of these new characters, especially since they are all connected (or going to be connected) with the Pearsons’ lives.