Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for the This Is Us episode “That’ll Be the Day.”
The timeline of This Is Us is quickly approaching Jack Pearson’s death day, and new production photos from the set of the NBC drama tease that dreaded day could be coming even sooner than expected. The new photos reveal that the upcoming This Is Us episode, titled “That’ll be the Day,” will show the Pearson clan in several eras: The 1980s, 1990s, and the present day. While This Is Us always shows the Pearsons in the present day (the rare exception was the Season 1 episode “The Big Day,” which detailed the birth of the Big Three and was set entirely in August 1980), the new photos tease a bit more time jumping than usual. According to The Futon Critic, this is the synopsis for “That’ll Be the Day.”
“Kevin helps Randall and Beth with a project. Kate contemplates a big gift for Toby. Jack and Rebecca talk about their future.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us executive producer Isaac Apatker gave a dire spoiler. When asked to give a one-sentence tease for the “That’ll Be the Day” episode, Apatker said the following.
“We see Jack and Rebecca’s last Super Bowl with the kids before they all leave home, and their desire to spend it together as a family with relatively disastrous results.”
That’s probably not a good sign for Papa Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia).
But before something dreaded happens, viewers may possibly see Jack realize his dream of starting his own construction business. After pitching the idea to Rebecca (Mandy Moore) last week, Aptaker told EW Jack will “continue on with this idea of really, very late in life, pivoting and starting the business he always wanted.”
In last week’s episode, it was suggested that Randall and Beth (Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson) will work together on an urban planning venture, and Aptaker has confirmed that Randall and Beth’s career story will continue in “That’ll Be the Day.”
“That’s exactly what next week is about,” the This Is Us producer said. “They’ve been married for a long time, and they’re partners in that sense, but it’s a very, very, very different world when you enter into a financial business relationship with someone. There’s an immediate and initial clashing of their attitudes. We also get to spend more time with the residents of that building, including Garrett Morris [who plays Lloyd.]”
And as for Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) big gift for Toby (Chris Sullivan), Entertainment Weekly has revealed that guest star Lena Waithe will play an animal shelter worker who gives Kate some advice on getting a new pet. Kate’s decision to find a pet comes after she suffered a miscarriage, so it sounds like she’ll bring home some sort of furry friend for Toby to help them heal.
While those spoilers explain the “That’ll Be the Day” synopsis, they don’t explain the production photos that show the Big Three in the late 1980s and a shot of pregnant Rebecca, circa 1980.
In addition to the 10-year-old Big Three, the teen Big Three are also all featured in “That’ll Be the Day,” but Randall (Niles Fitch) is the only one smiling.
The many eras portrayed in the sneak peek shots make it seem as though there will be a montage of memories in the next episode of This Is Us, and that’s always a sign that the tissues need to be nearby.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.