Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for the This Is Us episode “The Fifth Wheel.”
This Is Us fans have been waiting since Nov. 28 for a new episode, but now it sounds like it will be worth the wait. Ahead of the hit NBC drama’s midseason premiere, titled “The Fifth Wheel,” This Is Us Creator Dan Fogelman took to Twitter to tease the show’s return on January 9. In his tweet, Fogelman revealed that there will be an extended scene featuring four members of the Pearson clan and a special guest star, and he also hinted that a new “version” of the Big Three will be introduced.
“Happy New Year!” Fogelman tweeted earlier this week. “Back to work today, back on TV next Tuesday (1/9). There is a twelve-minute take between four of our Pearsons and (and a great guest star) that will knock you over. Also get to meet the new Big Three!”
According to the Futon Critic, the synopsis for The Fifth Wheel,” episode is: “The Pearsons come together under unexpected circumstances. Meanwhile, Jack surprises the family with a summer vacation.” The This Is Us synopsis makes it clear that there will be at least some flashback scenes to the 1980s or 1990s when Pearson patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is still alive.
But many This is Us fans are more interested in Fogelman’s hint about “the new Big Three.” The Big Three is the nickname for Pearson siblings Kevin, Kate, and Randall. The characters are currently seen on the show at three stages of their lives. As adults, the trio is played by Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, and Sterling K. Brown. As teens, they are played by Logan Shroyer, Hannah Zeile, and Niles Fitch. And as children, the Big Three is played by Parker Bates, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, and Lonnie Chavis.
Some This Is Us fans have assumed that Fogelman’s tweet means there will be another time jump, with the possibility of three new actors playing Kevin, Kate, and Randall in either a flashback or flash forward to the future. But according to spoilers posted by Screenspy, that is not the case.
When This Is Us returns for its midseason premiere with “The Fifth Wheel” episode, the show will pick up four weeks after Kevin’s (Hartley) arrest for a DUI where he is getting treatment at a “swanky” rehab. But when his mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and siblings Kate and Randall (Metz, Brown) are invited to join his therapy session, the conversation turns to Jack’s addiction issues, which causes some family fireworks.
The new This Is Us episode will include flashback scenes to a summer vacation in a log cabin by a lake, with the Big Three played by Bates, Hancsicsak, and Chavis.
As for the new “Big Three,” Screenspy reveals that as the Pearsons hash things out at Kevin’s therapy session, unlikely trio Toby, Beth, and Miguel (Chris Sullivan, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Jon Huertas) decide to form an alternative “Big Three” of their own. Does that mean we’ll see some comedy relief in “The Fifth Wheel?” Stay tuned!
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.