I live for This Is Us and I have a feeling I'm not alone. Tuesday night's episode showed Kevin in need of "peeling back" the layers of his late father; Jack, Kate, and Toby struggle find common ground in amidst Toby's devastating depression; and still, the mysteries over Jacks' necklace — and his time in Vietnam — are ever present. It's a lot to unpack. Now, I have my own *strong* opinions about where Season 3 is headed, but there are a few This Is Us theories that will make your head spin.
I could spend all day delving into TIU fandom theories but the ones that make me all warm and fuzzy inside are those that aren't the most obvious answers. For example, Tuesday's episode “Kamsahamnida,” was an ode to the only phrase Randall knows in Korean ("thank you"), but I think it's more than that. There's nothing at random in the writing. There is no topic or connective thread that doesn't support another and there is nothing of value that won't hold throughout the entirety of the series (like Jack's necklace, or even Rebecca's Moodshadow necklace). The show is so personal to me, and to a lot of other fans who feel connected to specific storylines within the TIU-realm, but it's still fun to tour the web to see how others think some of those threads will play out. Here are some of the theories viewers really need answers to before they (I), combust (please, writers, please).
"Her" Is Rebecca
One of the most talked about theories so far this season is the mystery of "her." It was in the last scenes in the Season 2 finale when Future Randall and Tess talk about going to see "her" and the internet's been on fire ever since. Within the context, viewers first thought they were obviously talking about Beth (dying? sick? who knows!) but Susan Kelechi Watson (who plays Beth) said no way.
Then, there's the other obvious choice — Kate — because the scene connects with Toby who Randall is also telling to see "her," and now seeing the issues they're struggling through (infertility, egg retrieval, Toby's depression, and now Kate's pregnancy), I know writers wouldn't reveal the exact answer it appears to be.
So now the theory going around is that "her" must be Rebecca. She's not shown in those flash-forward scenes. People speak of Rebecca having Alzheimer's or dying. It's already been confirmed "her" is someone fans already know. Sterling K. Brown told Entertainment Weekly, "Dan [Fogelman, This Is Us creator] has already spoken to the fact that we’ve already shot parts of how he wants the series to end that’s dealing with that particular 'her' as well. I think by about mid-season, maybe Episode 9 or so, the audience will know who that individual is."
Seeing as Randall's the one rallying others to see "her," whoever she is, it makes a lot of sense he's referring to his mother.
"Her" Is Two Different People
Others think "her" is Kate, but also someone else. Reddit user Marty5151 broke it down by explaining Future Randall and Future Tess are talking about "her," who may be Zoe, adding that if she'd broken Kevin's heart, he may relapse. Considering how close Beth and Randall's girls are with their uncle Kevin, Tess may have a hard time forgiving Zoe (and won't want to see her).
Along with that, the theory goes on to add, the "she" referenced on the phone between Randall and Toby could be Kate. After seeing a [still] depressed Toby in bed without Kate — and without a wedding ring — this is a possibility as well. I wouldn't put it past writers to have "her" and "she" work double duty, with different characters, timelines, and/or scenarios. You should know by watching the show, anything goes and nothing is as it seems.
Nicky Is Alive
I admit, I'm also in the camp that believes Nicky didn't actually die in Vietnam, but it's good to know I'm not alone. Theories that Jack had to spend his life pretending Nicky died — so that he could go AWOL and be the hero their alcoholic father wanted him to be — would hold up. It sounds very Jack-like to protect his brother like this, but it's hard to reconcile that he'd never see or speak with him again, if true.
Two others versions of the same theory suggests Nicky is alive but Jack didn't know, or he's alive and Jack knew, but they had a falling out. Therefore, the version of Nicky he knew had died.
If Nicky did die, here's what fans think happened: Reddit user kkruse929 thinks Jack had to choose between saving Nicky or the little boy (whose mom wore the necklace). If he saved the boy, the mom gave Jack the necklace as a thank you, but Jack carried the guilt of the choice the rest of his life.
The multiple ways the whole thing might play out mean your brain may actually explode and your heart will definitely shatter. Like I said — a lot to unpack.
There's Another Pearson Child In Vietnam
Any fan of the show finds it hard to see Jack with anyone other than Rebecca (and Jack's even said he loved her before he ever met her), so the next logical conclusion is that the boy who offered Jack the fish in Vietnam belonged to Nicky. In trying to tie together the necklace Jack receives from the boy's mother, and Nicky's fate, this is one idea that only makes sense if the timelines added up. The boy appears a bit old to be fathered by Nicky — who couldn't have been there for years. Still, it's more believable than Jack falling for the boy's mother IMHO.
William Fathered Another Child
Before the season premiere, show creator, Dan Fogelman, posted this photo of William (Ron Cephas Jones) holding a baby that wasn't Randall. Fans immediately thought the big twist might be that he fathered another child and Randall has a sibling out there. It was confirmed this season that the baby in question is *not* William's, but instead his neighbor's baby — both of which he took a liking to. I wouldn't put this storyline past the writers though. William could've fathered a child with someone else and it's not been shown yet. My theory? It's political opponent, Sol Brown (played by Rob Morgan) who knows the neighborhood as well as William did. How's that for head-spinning?
Kevin Is Dating Zoe To Subconsciously Make Up For How He Treated Randall Growing Up
I can totally get on board with "new" Kevin trying to make amends to those he's hurt. Honestly, he's the character I wasn't sure I'd connect with but turned into the one who's journey I care most about. Sure, Randall's also been on an identity quest — to find his place between Jack and William's legacies — but it took Kevin longer to realize how badly he needed to do the same.
Flashback scenes always show Kevin as a mean, domineering, and attention-needy brother to young Randall. Some fans think Kevin's relationship with Zoe is a direct reflection of how he should've treated Randall growing up. Because really, he never quite saw Randall, and it only added to Randall's identity crisis. Reddit user irishpisano seconded this theory, suggesting the discrimination parallels between Randall with his prom date, and Kevin and Zoe at the store, are asking a bigger question — one Kevin needs to dig deep enough to answer.
Of course, these are all just theories, and this show has a way of surprising even the most dedicated of fans. So who knows what will really happen next.