Warning: Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us yet, do not proceed.
This Is Us spent a day at the pool, and revealed quite a bit about how pivotal life moments from the past can drastically affect the present.
On Tuesday’s episode, titled “The Pool,” Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) brought “The Big Three,” now 8 years old, to the neighborhood pool to spend the day, meant to serve as a reprieve from the chaos of their lives. But of course, that didn’t end up happening.
In the present day, Kevin (Justin Hartley) moved forward with his New York City audition to embarrassing results and Kate (Chrissy Metz) got a little too close to Toby’s (Chris Sullivan) ex-wife. Meanwhile, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) dealt with his ongoing struggles with his identity.
ET compiled the four biggest revelations from the newest episode, and how they changed the present.
1. Kevin Was the Odd One Out
The Revelation: It’s been well-established that Kevin and Randall have a strained relationship in the present, but there was one crucial moment when they were both 8 at the family pool day that may have been a momentum shifter. After multiple warnings from Rebecca and Jack not to travel to the deep end, Kevin -- who just wanted to get his Pittsburgh Steelers football back -- went past the line, nearly drowning in the process. His parents, busy dealing with their two other kids, didn’t even notice.
You’d never think that Kevin, the boy with the All-American looks and no obvious conflicts, would be the odd one out of “The Big Three,” but that’s exactly what we discover -- and it’s truly heartbreaking. So much so that Kevin calls out his parents for their temporary lapse in judgment (“I almost drowned. Did you even care?! … You never watch me, you always watch them! … Meanwhile, where’s Kevin? Oh, guess what, he’s dead!”), prompting Jack to apologize.
How This Changes the Present: In the present, Kevin takes part in a cringe-worthy audition for a play in New York City, only to earn the role after producers decide that “The Man-ny” would get butts in seats -- not because of his talent. You get the sense that Kevin, desperate for some fulfillment in his life, is still seeking to fill that hole, a revelation that’s made even clearer when he meets Randall’s biological father, William, for the first time.
2. Kate Lost Friends Over Her Weight
The Revelation: Boy, can kids be mean-spirited. An 8-year-old Kate chose to debut her new Care Bear bikini at the pool, only to be shunned by kids she thought were her best friends for proudly showing her “baby fat.” “We don’t want you to play with us anymore. You embarrass us,” the note read from her “friends,” complete with a cartoon drawing of a pig’s face.
After learning of the unkind note, Jack sits Kate down for a sweet father-daughter heart-to-heart, sharing a tall tale about how he came across the army green “Florida: Surf’s Up” T-shirt he often wears, which he says is filled with “magic” -- inspiring her to be seen as whoever she wants to be seen as. “When you wear it, enemies will see you exactly as you want to be seen, and only that way,” Jack told his young daughter. “Whether it’s a warrior or a princess, whatever you want.” Kate chose the latter. “I want you to know, your daddy sees you that way without your shirt. You don’t need it,” Jack made sure to say, in hopes of building up her self-confidence.
How This Changes the Present: Though the tough day at the pool was just one moment in Kate’s life, it goes to show just how far-reaching her issues with weight and most importantly, self-confidence, have been throughout her life. In the present, she struggles with the fact that Toby was once married to a gorgeous, thin, successful shop owner named Josie, even going so far as to land a job at her store to find out more about their past romance. “My issues are not going to go away overnight,” Kate says at one point, after discovering that Toby’s marriage to Josie was anything but ideal.
3. Randall’s Search for His Identity Began Very Early
The Revelation: It was all about identity for Randall, even as a young 8-year-old boy growing up in “pretty much the whitest place on Earth.” Without his parents’ knowledge, Randall strayed from his family at the pool to play with kids who looked like him, which caused Rebecca to have a slight panic attack about his whereabouts. When a black mother suggested that Rebecca chose not to reach out to them for advice in raising Randall (see: the razor burns from not going to a proper barber), she took offense. Eventually, though, she came around.
And that little notebook Randall was seen marking up? That was so he could keep track of every black person he met as he grew up, including the black men he thought could turn out to be his biological father. By the time he was 8, there were roughly 30 marks.
How This Changes the Present: In the present, Randall admits -- in so many words -- that his unique childhood still left him with questions about where he ultimately belonged and who he was. Even as an adult, he continues to grapple with a feeling of being in between two identities -- for instance, taking notice of others’ reactions to his daughter playing the lead role of Snow White in the school play.
4. Could There Be a Fourth Sibling?
The Revelation: It was an off-hand remark at the end of the episode, in which Jack prods Rebecca about trying for another child. “Is now a bad time to mention having another kid?” Jack asks. Rebecca fails to respond as she finishes reading Stephen King’s 1987 psychological horror novel, Misery.
How This Could Affect the Present: It could be nothing, but anything these characters say is usually said for a reason, right? And could Misery, which sees one of the main characters driving off a cliff while under the influence of alcohol, serve as a potential hint?
What did you think of the latest episode of This Is Us? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us at @ETnow!
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.