Tuesday night, season three of NBC’s flagship show “This Is Us” premiered and I’m not sure how to feel.
In the last minutes of the season two finale the creators hinted at what’s to come in season three, and it looked heart wrenching. As Randall gave his speech at Kate’s wedding, the camera flashes forward to Kevin and Zoe, Beth’s sister, en route to Vietnam with a picture of Jack and his team in uniform, to Toby laying in bed as Kate talks about changing his medication, to an aged Randall and Tess talking about not being ready to see an unnamed woman.
Why is Toby off his antidepressants? Will Kevin and Zoe get together? And the most burning question, who is the ‘her’ Randall is dreading visiting? Could it be Daja because she wrecked his car? Is it Beth? Something awful would have to happen but after Jack who knows where the creators would draw the line.
For every question the premiere answers, it raises two more.
Set during Kate, Randall and Kevin’s 38th birthday and Jack and Rebecca’s first date, the episode focused on near misses that just barely pan out… sort of.
The first missed connection is between Randall and Daja. Randall takes Daja to the house where he met his biological father for the first time in an effort to connect with Daja and show that they’re upbringings aren’t that different.
Daja, however, being the young queen that she is, calls BS. Randall grew up in a relatively stable family and ended up with two dads who loved him not an undependable mom and a father who never wanted her. They’re not the same; Randall had choices and Daja didn’t.
While they come to an agreement, I don’t expect an easy road ahead for Randall and Daja’s relationship.
Next up, Kevin and Zoe try to keep their relationship a secret from Beth (another queen), but that doesn’t last long. While it seems like Beth’s resistance is because she wants her sister to stay away from Kevin (who is fresh out of rehab) and hasn’t had a long lasting romantic relationship, Beth actually ends up warning him about Zoe. She goes through men and “spits them out,” Beth said, and she doesn’t want that for Kevin.
What seemed like an easy connection at the end of season two looks like it’s going to be another complicated relationship for Kevin. That said, I’m hopeful that Zoe will ground Kevin and make his character someone to root for as he finds his way back to his dad.
Kate and Toby find out that because of her weight and his low sperm count caused by his antidepressants, they can’t conceive through in vitro fertilization (IVF). While Kate is frustrated and saddened that nothing goes her way (even though she literally just made up with her mom after years of estrangement, her brother is clean and she just got married to a great guy), Toby was almost grateful that they couldn’t do the IVF because the treatments could threaten Kate’s life all for only a ten percent chance of success.
But then Kate and Toby get called in by the IVF doctor who tells them that she’s willing to take that chance if they are. Kate, jubilant, says yes and so does Toby as we watch him flush his medication down the drain.
For the rest of the season, it’s safe to say that both Kate and Toby will face both mental and physical health issues that will test their relationship possibly to the breaking point.
Also, because of the health risks of IVF, Kate could be the woman that Randall and Tess have to visit in the hospital and honestly, what could be more heart wrenching than having characters who have already lost their dad come close to having their worst fear realized: loosing someone else.
They could juxtapose Kevin and Randall’s fear of losing Kate with Jack’s loss of his brother during the Vietnam War, a tear jerking moment, This Is Us creators wouldn’t pass up.
Ultimately, this season will consist of more of Jack and Rebecca’s origin story, Zoe’s past and the Big three’s future, however long that may be.
Alex Taylor is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.