- This Is Us -The 10 Biggest Plot Twists On ‘This Is Us’, Ranked
Spoilers ahead for This Is Us Season 5. This Is Us loves to take what we previously Knew To Be True and flip that on its head. The Season 5 premiere was no exception when This Is Us revealed Randall's birth mother didn't die after childbirth from an overdose and could still be alive.
It got me thinking about all the other times This Is Us blindsided fans. There are twists within twists in nearly every episode of the NBC family drama — some more shocking than others. Below, I've ranked some of the more major times that This Is Us got us good.
10. Jack Is Dead
After meeting the beloved Pearson patriarch in Season 1, the show took four more episodes to reveal Jack was dead with Kate's urn of his ashes during "Game Day."
Blindside factor: Fans had weeks to theorize where Milo Ventimiglia's character was in the present day with the most logical conclusion being that Jack had to be dead. Why else was Rebecca still wearing the moon necklace Jack gave her? Though a very important plot morsel, this revelation was more of a confirmation of what we had already reasoned.
9. Rebecca's The "Her" In The Future
In the Season 2 finale, Randall and adult Tess are reluctant to go visit someone in the future timeline. In the Season 3 premiere, it was confirmed that Toby was also in on seeing this unidentified "her." By the ninth episode of Season 3, Beth, always the star, lets us in on the fact that the "her" is Randall's mother. But it's not until the Season 3 finale that we see everyone visiting Rebecca in the hospital with Alzheimer's.
Blindside factor: The question of "Who is her?" (her?) haunted us for pretty much an entire season. But the buildup was a bit of an overkill and since we knew it had to be an established female character, that narrowed down the options. Still, points go to this whole "her" storyline making us question which couples are together in the future.
8. Madison Is The Mother Of Kevin's Kids
When we saw Kevin in the future with two kids, the mother could have been Kevin's on-again, off-again ex-wife Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), new love interest Cassidy Sharp (Jennifer Morrison), or even superfan Lizzie (Sophia Bush). But in the Season 4 finale, we find out Kate's friend Madison (Caitlin Thompson) is the fiancée carrying Kevin's children, thanks to a one-night stand.
Blindside factor: We knew parenthood was important to him since this issue is what ended his relationship with Zoe, so Kevin eventually having children wasn't a shock. But with many possible love interests and thus, so many possible mothers, this was a bit sneaky. Season 5 will hopefully give us more answers about Kevin's future relationship with Madison, though fans are still left wondering what else could happen between him and Sophie.
7. Rebecca Had Met William... More Than Once
Randall tells his mom he found his birth father in the third episode, "Kyle." But what she neglects to tell him is that she and William already met back in 1980. Then, in "Pilgrim Rick," Randall discovers that his mother had actually kept in contact with his birth father for decades without telling him. And while William had stopped using drugs and was willing to meet his son, Rebecca blocked this from happening.
Blindside factor: This is a two-for-one deal since the full scope of Rebecca's lies isn't revealed for episodes. We got to feel the betrayal right alongside Randall and he's still dealing with the emotional fallout from his mother's choice.
6. The Blind Man Is Baby Jack
We're introduced to a few new characters in the Season 4 premiere "Strangers" that are all related to the Pearsons in some way or another. But the greatest payoff was when we learned the blind man with the adorable dog who fell in love with a waitress was Kate and Toby's son. Even better, he fulfills the dream his mother and grandmother both had of becoming a famous singer.
Blindside factor: We knew there were health complications for Baby Jack due to being born prematurely, but there weren't many clues that the character, played by Blake Stadnik, would turn out to be Jack Damon. Plus, the reveal impacts Kate and Toby's family for the rest of their lives.
5. Jack's Brother Survived Vietnam
We didn't even know Jack had a brother until Season 2's "Brothers," and even then Jack led his family to believe his brother had died. While Kevin tries to uncover what happened between the brothers in Season 3's "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning," he discovers his uncle hadn't died in the Vietnam War. The episode ends with a quick flash to Griffin Dunne's older Nicky alive in Pennsylvania.... what?! Uncle Nicky is alive?! Then in "The Last Seven Weeks," Kevin learns that not only did his dad know Nicky was alive, but he was in correspondence with him in the '90s. Damn, Jack.
Blindside factor: Turns out, Rebecca isn't the only one to keep huge secrets from the family and it's wild to discover the saintly Jack died never telling his kids they had an uncle who was still alive. The reveal loses a bit of a punch for how quickly they explained why Jack cut Nicky out of his life, but honestly, after this shock, I was grateful the show didn't drag it out.
4. The Social Worker Is Tess In The Future
In Season 2's tenth episode, "Number Three," we're introduced to a social worker who's working on placing a young boy in a home. The assumption was this boy was going to become Beth and Randall's next foster child after Deja... but not so fast. Four episodes later in "Super Bowl Sunday," we find out this social worker situation was taking place in the future when an aged-up Randall visits his grown-up daughter Tess at her job.
Blindside factor: While sneaky time jumps are a bit old hat for the show now, adult Tess was the first time we saw a present-day child character in the future. That, combined with the foster child fakeout, made this moment even more shocking than finally learning how Jack died.
3. Rebecca Is Married To Jack's Bestie Miguel
The first time we see Mandy Moore's aged-up Rebecca in the present day, she shows up at Randall's home with her husband... and it's not Jack it's (gasp) Miguel. Miguel had been crushing hard on Rebecca in the past in order to emphasize to his best bud Jack how good he had it. But how in the hell did this happen to the very-in-love Rebecca and Jack? What circumstances could possibly have led her to be with his best friend?
Blindside factor: This reveal in the second episode established that the pilot twist (more on that in a bit) was no fluke. It signaled that you better buckle up because This Is Us is going to be a twisty ride.
2. Randall's Mother Survived
The hits keep on coming in the Season 5 premiere when Randall's birth mother Laurel opens her eyes and gasps following the drug overdose we were told caused her death. As it stands now, no one — not even Randall in the present or William in the past — knows the truth... yet.
Blindside factor: The catalyst for this article earns a top spot simply because after so much parent drama for Randall, I didn't even think adding more parents was an option. I thought this plot was (ahem) dead and buried and it's led to so many questions — Is Laurel alive today? Did William find out she survived? How will Randall find out? How will Randall react? And, most importantly, who's going to be cast as older Laurel? — for the show to address throughout Season 5.
1. How Everyone's Connected In The Pilot
With the on-screen text of how many people share birthdays, it stood to reason that the "us" we were following were just four random people turning 36 on the same day. Kevin and Kate's twin status was established early on, but it took until the end of the episode to find out Rebecca and Jack are in the past and the parents of Kevin, Kate, and Randall.
Blindside factor: Sufjan Stevens may have distracted us from figuring out Jack and Rebecca were in the past, but we should have noticed the hospital they were in was unsettlingly low-tech. But this is the blindside that established that this show will be all about the blindsides. While anyone who had seen Dan Fogelman's Crazy, Stupid, Love maybe could have seen the initial twist coming, this was what established the foundation of the story of the Pearson family and thus, will always be number one, no matter what else Fogelman continues to throw our way.