Warning: This article contains spoilers from the This Is Us Season 3 episode “Nine Bucks.”
This Is Us is throwing a wrench into Jack and Rebecca’s early days. The Season 3 premiere of the NBC drama series ended with yet another big question mark, this time prompting fans to ask, “Who is he?”
The surprising twist came after Jack and Rebecca’s (Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore) awkward first date at a carnival (dude only had nine bucks in his pocket and it cost $5 to get in) and after the future Pearson mom purposely left her jacket in his car so he’d have to return it.
The episode, set in 1972, ended with Jack pulling up to his new crush’s house only to see a strange guy at her door bearing flowers. Even worse, when the mustached mystery man kissed her, she kissed him back.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Moore said she was “excited” about the potential love triangle twist, although she admitted she never saw it coming. While the This Is Us star didn’t come out and say that the mystery man (played by Weeds alum Hunter Parrish) is an ex-boyfriend of Rebecca’s, it’s pretty clear their on-the-mouth kiss indicates some sort of romantic history, even if she wasn’t planning to see this particular guy the day after her whirlwind date with Jack.
“I don’t think she was expecting him, but he brought flowers, and he felt comfortable enough to step in for a kiss. She didn’t back away from the kiss, so they know each other… we obviously know where things end up so he can’t be that big of an obstacle, can he? There will be a resolution to who he is and his dip into Jack and Rebecca’s romantic life. I think it will resolve itself in due time.”
Moore explained further to Deadline, pointing out that Rebecca’s surprise at seeing this man could be a clue as to her status with him.
“I think Rebecca’s surprised to see him, so that’s like a hint of, this maybe isn’t a current beau of hers, because I don’t think she would have gone on a date with somebody else if she was currently attached and she wasn’t expecting him. It will be resolved in the next couple episodes.”
This Is Us fans can expect to see the mystery man once again in the third episode when the show returns to that 1972 timeframe.
“We’re going to pick up right back with her on the doorstep with Hunter and the flowers and Jack in the car, and see what the hell that was about,” executive producer Isaac Aptaker told EW. “It’s obviously somebody that she knows and we’ll learn more about how exactly she knows him and what their history is together.”
This Is Us fans know very little about Rebecca’s pre-Jack life. In previous seasons, it was revealed that she ditched a blind date to go sing at a club on the night she met her future husband.
Showrunner Dan Fogelman teased a romantic Jebecca moment in the third episode which he compared to “Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze doing pottery in Ghost, but everyone has clothes on and it’s the opposite of Ghost.” In other words, it sounds like the Jack-Rebecca-Mystery Man triangle won’t last very long.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.