'This Is Us': Jack's Breakdown, Rebecca's Disappointment & Zoe's Secret (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 7 of This Is Us, "Sometimes"]
After a week off the air, This Is Us was welcomed back by its many loyal viewers with an episode featuring the beginnings of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) love story.
This road trip storyline was told parallel to Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe's (Melanie Liburd) Vietnam trip. Meanwhile, fans were also shown the origins of Jack's necklace.
We're breaking down the key moments from the episode, "Sometimes," which included three stories told on two different continents.
The episode opens in Vietnam as Jack's necklace is seen being crafted and passed from person to person. Ultimately, the woman in the photo crosses paths with the piece when she finds it on a killed soldier's body while scavenging for valuables. That segues into Jack and Nicky's (Michael Angarano) encounter in Vietnam, where, at first, Nicky doesn't believe his brother is in front of him.
Jack can tell Nicky is high on some sort of substance, and his younger brother confirms he's lost a grip on reality likening his situation to purgatory. As always, Jack is ready to save the day, telling Nicky he'll bring him with him but Nick isn't having it. Also not having it is the soldier in charge of the camp, who denies Jack's request to take Nicky back to the fishing village with him.
On Jack's journey back to the Ville, he asks a local to give him a lift on his moped, but the man's pitstops make Jack uneasy as he notes the cans his companion carries are the same used by the VC (Viet Cong) to create landmines. As they continue on their journey, Jack questions his escort if he's bad or good and the man admits that even he's not sure, telling Jack to walk the rest of the way.
Jack eventually gets some good news when a helicopter drops Nicky at his Ville, and he learns he has two weeks to straighten out his brother's behavior. Will he succeed? Time will tell.
Next, we see Jack and Rebecca embark on their road trip to Los Angeles for the latter's meeting with a record label. On their way there, Rebecca does her best to get Jack to open up, asking about his plans to visit a mystery guest in Reseda. But he's short with her and his tone implies something darker or deeper.
As they pull into their first motel, the pair share dinner at the attached restaurant where Rebecca reveals that she loves singing because it encourages slow dances. Quick as can be, Jack says "hint taken," and takes her for a twirl around the room and she sheds a few tears when she spots elderly couple dancing. With that, Jack claims he doesn't cry, explaining that he buries things inside. They then turn in for the night, and the awkwardness slips away after they share a kiss. Then the scene cuts to the next morning and, needless to say, one bed is empty.
A montage shows the couple spending most nights the same way along their journey and, by the time they arrive in L.A., they're both smitten. Things take a tense though when Rebecca notices Jack's night terrors and questions him, but he deflects. Rebecca meets up with a friend from home and gushes about Jack before wishing aloud that he'd be more open. It doesn't help that, moments later, he flinches over the noise of popping champagne and it's clear he's suffering from PTSD.
Finally, Jack explains that he doesn't want to mix their relationship with his time in Vietnam because it was so negative, and for him, their bond is an escape. It's clear that Jack's falling for Rebecca because he can't hide his disappointment over her considering a move to L.A.. Still, he drives Rebecca to her meeting the next day on his way to visit "friends."
Those "friends," it turns out, are his former Army pal's parents and he meets with them to apologize. He feels guilty over the death — he was the man we saw killed earlier this season when he stepped on the landmine running to catch a football. The parents console him and say it's not his fault and you can see some relief on Jack's face.
Meanwhile, Rebecca gets the stereotypical "we like you, keep in touch," deal from the record company. When she asks for a clear assessment they tell her she's "Pittsburgh good." So when Jack picks her up, and they're both a little down, he asks for her to sing the song she presented. She eventually caves, and the usually tough Jack can't help but break down in tears. That visit with his friend's parents definitely awakened something inside of him. And the moment gives birth to Jack's special nickname for his future wife: "Bec." The two ultimately decide to head home to PA.
On their parallel trip, Kevin and Zoe are in Vietnam, seeking more info on his father and that necklace. Throughout the trip, much like Jack, Zoe deflects any personal questions Kevin asks about her childhood before moving in with cousin Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).
The first red flag comes when she tells him not to tag her on Instagram, explaining that she doesn't want her father — who lives in China — to contact her. After much deflecting they go to a nearby market for lunch, where she eats some bat (yes, really) and Kevin spots a tourist donning a familiar piece of jewelry. He's crushed to learn that necklaces just like his father are sold all over tourist shops in the area.
Feeling down, he complains about the necklace and how Zoe won't open up to him. He mistakes her being sick for deflecting until she gets violently ill.
As Zoe recovers in the hotel tub, Kevin does his best to take care of her. He also can't stop himself from revealing he's falling in love with her and that spurs her to open up. She explains that her father sexually abused her when she was young, and he tries to make amends with her from time to time. The reason she hasn't told him? She doesn't want to tarnish the good thing they have going with a dark history she wants to forget.
Below are a few important things to keep in mind for the rest of the season:
- Zoe's reveal about her father definitely makes sense with Beth's earlier comments to Kevin about her baggage. Will this drive a wedge between the pair? Or will they weather the storm? Zoe did say she was strong in the episode.
- The woman with Jack's necklace seems like some kind of scavenger. Will she meet a similar fate to those she from whom she steals? That is one theory: that the two become close, only for her to die. Maybe the piece is a token to remember her by.
- Considering the dead-end necklace lead, will Kevin be able to uncover some new answers regarding Jack's past? We sure hope so.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC