The popular drama This Is Us on NBC is the perfect example of a program that can pull more surprises out of its hat. The program hasn't held back from purposefully startling its audience from the start. This Is Us frequently astounds viewers by exposing the Pearsons' links to one another or certain family secrets. Even after over six years on broadcast, Dan Fogelman's masterfully created family drama never ceased to surprise viewers.
The major storyline twists from This Is Us are broken down here, and we've attempted to rank them according to how shocking they were.
14. Jack's ER Encounter (Season 6)
The penultimate episode features a family that viewers have never seen before in a flashback plot. The family patriarch Kenny (Dulé Hill), who is anxious about his son Marcus (Jonigan Booth), who is in surgery, when they end up having a car accident, tries to relax with a cup of coffee. He runs into Jack in the kitchen after the house fire as he grabs the drink.
Jack shares some advice on lemons that he once heard from Dr K (Gerald McRaney). Marcus, Kenny's son, survives a difficult surgery but Jack later passes away from his heart attack. Marcus went on to contribute to scientific advancements in the field of Alzheimer's, which is another important contribution to the environment Rebecca lives in as she ages.
13. Kevin & Zoe's Future Relationship (Season 2)
Fans are first introduced to Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) cousin Zoe during Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby's (Chris Sullivan) wedding celebrations (Melanie Liburd).
She has a significant impact on the episode, but the shock of seeing her travelling to Vietnam with Kevin (Justin Hartley) in a near-future flash-forward was enough to leave viewers hoping for clarification going into Season 3. In the end, they learn that the couple developed a close relationship during Season 3 and inquire about Jack's (Milo Ventimiglia) time in Vietnam.
12. Kate's Abortion (Season 5)
The Kate and Toby storyline from Season 5 involves them exploring the notion of adoption. When their prospective birth mother Ellie (Annie Funke) confesses that she thought about having her kid aborted before deciding to give it up, it causes a lot of drama for Kate.
Unbeknownst to the audience, Kate had gotten pregnant while dating creepy ex-boyfriend Marc (Austin Abrams), and she chose to have the baby aborted in order to avoid more complications in their relationship. It wasn't an easy decision, and fans probably didn't anticipate it.
11. Baby Jack Grown Up (Season 4)
Fans were left perplexed for the majority of the first hour of the season four debut episode "Strangers," which also introduced a number of new characters in addition to the Pearson family. The adult Jack, son of Kate and Toby, who is blind and musical, turns out to be one of the significant discoveries (Blake Stadnik).
During the course of the episode, Harry meets Lucy (Auden Thornton), who becomes his wife. Anyone who knows where Jack draws inspiration from—with a talented mother and grandmother—is going to be moved to tears when they realize how far Jack has come as a successful musician.
10. Kate's Second Marriage (Season 5)
A brief time jump in the show's Season 5 finale shows that Kate is remarrying Philip, a coworker (Chris Geere). Even while earlier flash-forward scenes hinted at Kate's separation from her first husband Toby, most people didn't foresee her getting married again, especially her argumentative coworker at the time. Needless to say, until the show's return for its final season, the cliffhanger disclosure left many unanswered questions.
9. Rebecca's Alzheimer's Moment (Season 4)
The mental health of Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is called into question in the Thanksgiving episode of Season 4 called "So Long, Marianne," and on an outing to clear her thoughts, viewers are taken away as she falls into a pattern of bewilderment.
Even though it appears as if her Alzheimer's episode occurred in the present, the Big 3's 40th birthday was in the close future. This time, viewers discovered that Kevin and Randall had a falling out and were no longer communicating when they returned to the family cabin.
8. Kate & Toby's Daughter (Season 4)
As if receiving a glimpse into baby Jack's future wasn't enough, Kate and Toby bring up the possibility of adoption in the Season 4 finale as a way to give their son a sibling. When Hailey (Adelaide Kane) attends the hospital for the birth of his and Lucy's daughter, Hope, we learn a new character who is sprinkled throughout the episode happens to be baby Jack's sister.
7. Randall & Tess's First Flash-Forward (Season 2)
While "Super Bowl Sunday" from Season 2 is primarily recognized for being the episode where Jack dies, it also featured one of the show's first-ever flash-forwards. Randall (Sterling K. Brown), speaking to his daughter Tess (Eris Baker), in the concluding moments of the episode, expresses his affection for her and offers a positive outlook.
Videos of Randall honouring his commitment to visit his adult daughter at work in the future are interspersed. It is all the more endearing when she reveals that she has started working in social services since her parents' dedication to foster daughter Déjà (Lyric Ross) served as an inspiration. Additionally, fans had made the ensuing mystery of their flash-forward a primary priority in the seasons that followed.
6. Rebecca's Marriage to Miguel (Season 1)
We all remember how enthralled we were when Jack and Rebecca were initially introduced to us in the pilot, and the seemingly ideal couple could never be stopped, could they? The fact that Jack is nowhere to be found when Randall's daughters tell their father that "grandma and grandpa" are at the door indicates that the writers didn't wait long to show that the pair didn't survive for the long haul.
Instead, Miguel (Jon Huertas) stands by her side, and up until clarification, the fact that he is Jack's friend sparked even more controversy. It goes without saying that the early episodes were rife with unexpected turns like this one.
5. The Spark Behind Jack's Untimely Death (Season 2)
Once Jack's tragic death was announced to the public, a waiting period regarding its cause started. In "That'll Be the Day" from Season 2, which featured Crock-Pots and slow cookers as the main antagonists, viewers received the answers they had been waiting for. Jack survived the fire that destroyed the Pearson home on Super Bowl day, but the heart attack he suffered, as a result, was fatal, and it was all due to malfunctioning kitchen appliances.
4. Kevin Picks Sophie (Season 1)
If viewers can go back to Season 1, they'll remember that Kevin was split between the spunky actress Olivia and the writer Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) (Janet Montgomery). During the dialogue in the episode "Three Sentences," the actor asks Toby who he should be with.
Toby then gives him an exercise that requires him to close his eyes and visualize the person he loves most in the world. We're waiting to learn whether Kevin chose Sloane or Olivia when it appears that he has decided on an answer. In actuality, it was neither. Instead, Kevin seeks out Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), his childhood girlfriend whom viewers had never seen before.
3. Randall's Mom (Season 5)
The revelation that Randall's birth mother Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes) survived the overdose that William (Ron Cephas Jones) had believed killed her is no less surprising, even if it is undoubtedly one of the more unbelievable storylines on the program.
Although the payoff is a one-episode background for Randall's biological mother, the suspense surrounding her future following the discovery has become a staple of This Is Us twists.
2. Nicky's Alive (Season 3)
Jack's lie, which he had been telling his children and wife for years that his brother Nicky (played by Michael Angarano and Griffin Dunne) had perished in battle, was exposed during Kevin's research trip to Vietnam. He was alerted when Nicky's name wasn't found in a death database, and as viewers are aware, the rest is history.
The shock that follows is accompanied by an overpowering sense of sadness as you consider what might have possibly prompted Jack to fabricate his brother's position in the first place. It is as heartbreaking that a war accident caused their separation.
1. The Pearson Family Connection (Season 1)
Viewers were given a brief introduction to the people they would later grow to love, but nothing can compare to the realization that the action is taking place in two very different universes.
The gaps are filled in as soon as a fireman gives Jack a cigarette in the hospital waiting room and we discover that the children he and Rebecca had grown up to be Kate, Kevin, and Randall. Even after almost five years, we still get chills.
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