‘This Is Us’: A Glimpse Into Jack’s Past Is Revealed (RECAP)

This Is Us - Lonnie Chavis, Milo Ventimiglia
Spoiler Alert
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Pictured: (l-r) Lonnie Chavis as Randall, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack

[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from “Brothers,” Episode 5 of This Is Us Season 2.]

Another week means more drama for the Pearson family in NBC’s hit show This Is Us. Every character dealt with their own struggles—from Kate’s (Chrissy Metz) pregnancy fears and Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) burgeoning addiction to Déjà’s (Lyric Ross) acclimation to her foster family—but it was the father-son and brother relationships that took center stage. Among those male-centric plots was a surprising reveal about Jack’s past.

The episode began with Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) taking young Randall and Kevin on a camping trip in an effort to improve the strained relationship between the two brothers. Meanwhile, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) receives a call regarding the declining health of Jack’s father, Stanley (Peter Onorati), and tries her best to reach her husband who is out in the wild with the boys. Kevin and Randall’s differences are Jack’s main focus though, as he tries to understand why Kevin gives Randall such a difficult time. Once Rebecca finally reaches Jack he refuses to come home, and a flashback of Jack with his father on the way to a fishing trip displays their differing parenting styles. Eventually Jack’s efforts yield promising results when he finds Kevin and Randall roasting marshmallows over the campfire—in peace.

As Rebecca vouches for Jack’s character to his father, viewers are shown a flashback of a young Jack that explains his motivations. In the scene, Jack is shown in the front seat of his father’s car when suddenly another young boy that he refers to as Nicky sits up in the back seat and asks where their dad has gone. Surprise: Jack has a brother! A later scene, where we see Jack and Nicky in military attire, implies that this mysterious brother likely passed away in Vietnam. (But should anything be assumed on This Is Us?) This reveal is likely to be explored some more as the season progresses, and certainly explains some of the demons that Jack deals with in the future.

As for last week’s big pregnancy news, Kate finally tells Toby (Chris Sullivan) that he is going to be a dad. Much like last week where Kate’s behavior stemmed from fear, she told Toby that she doesn’t want to get excited for fear that the pregnancy doesn’t last to term. Instead it takes a support group meltdown for Kate to realize that telling people may shake some of her fears, especially when she gets in a fender bender with her support group enemy Madison. In the end she lets Toby have his fun by allowing him to tell a café full of customers about their exciting news. Maybe this realization will lead to the sharing of this news with the rest of the Pearson clan?

This Is Us - Justin Hartley

Pictured: Justin Hartley as Kevin

While Kate is getting over her fears, Kevin is only letting his issues swallow him. For the last two episodes it has been implied that Kevin may have a problem with pills, this theory was finally confirmed since he spent most of the episode on the phone with doctor’s offices. The problem is beginning to impact his personal life as well, when he doesn’t follow through with his promise to participate in Sophie’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) work gala, instead becoming inebriated and distracted by his need for pills. Sophie tries to address the issue with Kevin, but he blows her off after a lackluster apology. It doesn’t look like Kevin’s path will become any easier, and it will be interesting to see if an intervention will have to be made on his behalf.

Finally, there is Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who are still trying to find common ground with the new addition to the family, Déjà. When Déjà shows excitement at the possibility of attending Sophie’s work gala, Randall practically jumps at the chance to please her. In an attempt to be cool, Randall does his best to make the night a success, and all is going well until Déjà almost eats a shrimp tail, and he goes to swat it from her hand. Déjà’s responding flinch is enough to see that the night will not go as smoothly as Randall had anticipated.

When Déjà end up in the bathroom, Randall – despite Kevin’s discouragement – goes after her, and once she realizes that Randall won’t quit, Déjà opens up to him. Randall’s foster daughter admits that in one of her homes, the boyfriend of the woman in charge, would beat her and the other children with rolled up magazines. This revelation allows Randall to understand what is okay and what isn’t okay for Déjà, including swatting shrimp tails. Randall seems to have reached a turning point in his relationship with Déjà and it will be interesting to see how it will continue to improve.

Some of the Pearsons took steps forward while others continue to take steps back, but it is their struggles which seem to connect with such a wide audience, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. In the preview for next week ‘s episode, it was revealed that viewers will get a glimpse of “The Big 3” in their twenties, if that isn’t worth looking forward to, we don’t know what is.

This Is Us, Tuesdays 9/8c, NBC