6:15am PT by Jean Bentley
'This Is Us': 9 Burning Questions for Season 3
[This story contains spoilers from the season two finale of NBC's This Is Us.]
The second season of NBC's This Is Us was filled with plenty of sadness as it focused on the circumstances surrounding the death of Pearson family patriarch Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), but the finale ended on a happier note as Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) got married. That is, until a flash-forward showed Kate and Kevin (Justin Hartley) a few months in the future and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) far in the future with a grown-up version of his eldest daughter, Tess.
While the episode provided closure for many of season two's storylines, including whether Kate and Toby would make it down the aisle at all and how the old man version of Jack teased in the promo for the finale would fit in (considering the character has been dead for 20 years), it also sparked plenty of questions. Below are the nine most important.
1. Who is the "her" future Randall is referring to?
The end of the episode saw another flash-forward to 10 or 15 years in the future, as an older Randall visits his grown-up daughter Tess (Iantha Richardson), a social worker, at her office. "It's time to go see her, Tess," he says. "I'm not ready," she responds. "Me neither," says Randall. Who the heck could "her" be? Are they referring to Tess' mother, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson)? Foster sister Deja (Lyric Ross)?
"I can't tell you who the 'her' is, but we'll be definitely following up on it in season three," co-showrunner Elizabeth Berger told The Hollywood Reporter after the season finale.
2. Is Beth dead?
One contingent of fans is convinced that Beth could be dead in the future, especially considering Susan Kelechi Watson wasn't there. Then again, neither were any of Randall's siblings or his mother, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and stepfather, Miguel (Jon Huertas). Who else is alive in the future? Berger wouldn't say, but she did promise that there will be more flash-forwards throughout the third season.
3. What happens to Toby?
The night before the wedding, Toby's parents — played by sitcom royalty Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick — sat him down to tell him that they weren't sure he was making a good decision. They felt Kate was emotionally unstable and that he needed to do too much of the emotional heavy lifting in the relationship — especially considering how deep of a depression he sunk into following his divorce. He rebuffed them, but the end of the episode flashed forward a few months in the new couple's life together — to show Toby deeply depressed and Kate telling him how the doctor wanted to adjust his meds. What happened in those intervening months that brought Toby to this point?
4. How serious is Kevin (Justin Hartley) about his new girlfriend, Zoe (Melanie Liburd)?
The finale introduced Liburd (Netflix's Gypsy) as Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) cool cousin Zoe, who was raised practically as the sister of Randall's (Sterling K. Brown) wife. In the season-ending flash forward, Zoe and Kevin are cuddled together on a plane to Vietnam. Does that mean this relationship is going to last?
"When we come back, we're going to be embarking on a new chapter with them sort of discovering their romance, and their relationship, and figuring out what they are. We can expect to see her for a while," Berger told THR.
5. What about Jack's past?
Co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker previously told THR that the series will explore more of Jack's early life in season three, including the Pearson patriarch's time in the Vietnam. Judging from the fact that Kevin is gazing at a photo of his young father during the war, it appears that might be one of the first new stories on the agenda for the new season.
6. Who will play Jack's brother?
Season two revealed that Jack had a brother who died in Vietnam. So far, only a young version of the character has been cast. If season three will tell the story of Jack's time in the war, that means meeting an older version of his little brother should also be first on the list.
7. Who will play Beth's family members?
"We're looking forward to including Beth and Zoe's extended family, and throwing them into scenes with Kevin and Randall. It just felt like the possibilities there were really fun and endless," Berger told THR after the season two finale. And since Beth has mentioned her large family and several sisters on more than one occasion, there will be plenty of those extended family members to meet.
8. Will Toby's brother appear?
Toby mentioned during his bachelor party that he has a younger brother with whom he's not particularly close. And while his baby bro didn't make it to his bachelor party or wedding, with Toby experiencing a mental health crisis there's still the potential for an appearance.
9. Will Deja stick around?
Deja has already left the Pearson family once to reunite with her mother. But now that her mom has told the court she's willing to sever her parental rights, does that mean she'll live with Randall and Beth for good? At the end of the season two finale, she took a baseball bat, "Lemonade"-style, to Randall's beloved car. Will the family be able to work through Deja's anger and devastation at her mother's absence?
What are your season three theories? Sound off in the comments section, below.