Any fears I had about This is Us being unable to sustain its brilliance this season has not just been quelled but obliterated after a super season 3 premiere.

Yes, there were some tears- did you expect anything less? but there was also a lot of depth and complexity as we delve deeper into the lives of these characters we’ve come to know and love. 

And that’s what tonight was all about- discovery, learning more about the origins of each and every one of these people on what is the Big 3’s 38th birthday,

The show starts with a flashback (what else?) of a young African American man and at first it’s anyone’s guess who it is.

But, as is the norm with this show, the dots are cleverly connected and we soon come to discover this man, who appears to be a member of the Pittsburgh Steeler, is Deja’s father.

These scenes are juxtaposed with Deja’s mom signing her rights away and Randall, Beth, and Deja in therapy in the aftermath of her smashing that windshield last season. 

As the show fades away from the Steelers game we are transported to the bar where Jack and Rebecca first met. It is a sweet scene as we see Rebecca babbling because she is nervous and Jack pooling together $9 with Miguel behind the bar to take Becca out and show her a good time. 

And he uses that money to take her to a carnival! As they go around to the different attractions Jack and several carnival workers talk about that Steelers game, and you just know some big reveal is coming. 

We also see Jack calculating his money to get Becca whatever she wants, culminating in an oh-so-sad moment as it starts to pour and Jack begs off buying an umbrella because he’s out of money and ashamed to admit it. 

There’s a glimpse into Jack’s time in Vietnam through a quick flashback and his struggle to find his way after the war is evident. He tells Becca briefly that his brother died in the war and that he is between jobs.  When it starts to rain he begs off buying an umbrella because he’s out of cash and you can’t help but feel for him.

And so does Becca, as Jack does eventually come clean to her when he takes her home. He tells her that he is sad and angry about his brother, that he only had $9 to take her out, and that he’s sorry he was such a lousy date.

 Then, this being Jack, he tells her he feels like he’s at “home” with her. Which causes Becca, after telling him this was anything but a typical date, to lean over and kiss him, then run out of the car. 

You think it will end well, only we see at the end that as Jack goes to see Becca the next day he spies her at her front door kissing another guy. Upsetting, but we know this is a temporary bump in this magical love story. 

As for Kate, we discover that she and Toby tried to have a baby since the wedding, only to find out that he has a low sperm count, she has PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and they are not viable candidates for IVF due to her weight (a definite tear-jerker moment).

We also get to see what might be the beginning of Toby’s depression, as he wants to go home after their less-than-successful meeting with the IVF doctor but Kate insists on going to a birthday brunch with her friends.

 That doesn’t go so well, as Kate has a meltdown over her inability to have a baby and her frustration over having lost 40 pounds and still not being where she wants to be. As they return home, Toby venting about his fears when it comes to in-vitro and discussing other ways to have a baby, they get a call from the doctor to come back in. 

The doctor took Kate’s disappointment to heart and decided she will take her on as a patient. Kate is ecstatic but later on, we see Toby deciding not to take what appears to be an anti-depressant without Kate knowing.

On a somewhat lighter note, it seems Kevin and Beth’s cousin Zoe have been messing around in secret- but Beth is quite suspicious and promises (with fingers crossed) to Randall not to confront him during the birthday party. That promise lasts all of 3 seconds, as Beth accuses them of “knocking boots” as soon as Kevin arrives.

There is a scene later on where Beth is screaming at Zoe for getting involved with Kevin as Kevin and Beth’s daughters listen that will have you laughing out loud.  It seems a bit much that she is so angry, presumably at Kevin. 

But the big surprise is that Beth’s anger isn’t at Kevin, but Zoe. It seems Zoe has a complicated path and has a tendency to run through men; Beth doesn’t want to see that happen to Kevin, who she loves and care for. It is a moment that could easily be sappy, but Beth’s no-nonsense delivery gives it just the right tone. 

And if all that didn’t pull at your heartstrings enough the scene of Randall taking Deja to the building he brought and telling her how it all went down with William, how alike they are, and that they want to adopt her surely will.

 Deja, to Randall’s surprise and dismay, isn’t ready for that and seems mad he tried to compare their lives and situations. She tells him she’s not ready and your heart breaks for both of them.

But, as it turns out, all is not lost as she and ends up hopping a bus to see none other than her dad, who is fixing a bike in a garage. And as much as she says she and Randall are not alike, she follows right in their footsteps and goes to tell him off, just like Randall did with William in season 1. 

Deja asks him for just one thing, that thing being a pair of new Nikes for Randall as a gift. And then she gives Randall the biggest gift of all- she says she’s ready to be adopted.

 We also learn  that the remarkable Steeler’s game everyone was buzzing about was a Christmas miracle, as Deja’s dad caught an interception to win them the game. What became of him and how he ended up in that garage is just one of many questions that are sure to be answered, but not yet. 

As the show ends though we are left with an even bigger question as  we see a rare flash-forward of an older Randall and his daughter going to see “her.” Then, we see Randall call an older Toby, who says he’s not sure he is ready to see “her.” Who is this woman? Is it Kate? Time will tell and as anxious as I am to find out, I also am okay with waiting because I know the journey will be as much fun as the reveal. 

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Who do you think the mystery woman is? Share your thoughts below and be sure to share this post with your family and friends,.