This Is Us season 3 almost felt like it was a soap opera, but that's okay because the show is still good. Debuting in 2016, the NBC family drama took the public by storm with its heartfelt narratives and unexpected reveals. Three seasons later, fans remain invested with the Pearsons as we watch them go through life decade by decade.
This Is Us centers on Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) family of five. With three kids - twins Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Metz) and adopted son Randall (Sterling K. Brown) - the couple have been the main force behind their children's lives even up until the present day. It resonated with a lot of people because of its unique ability to walk the thin line between fantasy and reality. The situations were grounded and the characters were relatable, and although it felt manipulative at times for evoking certain kinds of emotions for viewers, it worked because it was cathartic watching the Pearsons simply navigating through their separate and collective journeys.
While Rebecca is the backbone of the family, Jack is the heart. The Pearson patriarch has been so popular that it devastated fans when it was revealed that he's dead. For the most part of season 1 and season 2, This Is Us revolved around the mystery of Jack's death, with hints peppered throughout the show giving fans an idea when and how he passed away. By the time it was revealed at the back half of season 2, This Is Us had reached peaked popularity, posting its highest-rated episode ever with almost 27 million viewers tuning in to learn how the Pearson patriarch died. But now that the major catch of This Is Us is resolved, it seems like it's struggling to find another narrative point to fully hook its viewers.
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How This Is Us Transformed Into A Soap Opera
The first two seasons of This Is Us revolved around Jack and the mystery of his death. While we knew that he's no longer around all the way back from the show's second episode, the succeeding outing hyped up the mystery of how he died by peppering plot clues throughout the remainder of season 1. This kept fans involved, watching the show week-after-week, waiting for another hint at what may have happened to the Jack. The fact that Rebecca re-married her dead husband's best friend, Miguel, also added intrigue.
With this, the show had a specific story milestone to work towards to. Once that was resolved at the back half of season 2, it seems like This Is Us lost its narrative direction. The novelty of seeing Rebecca and the kids go through life without Jack slowly wore off. And now, it almost feels like they're trying to find another emotional crux in the story by introducing several supposedly huge storylines, only to be quickly resolved or have little significant follow through.
This Is Us Season 3 Chased Emotional Reveals - But Rarely Delivered
This Is Us season 3 began with Rebecca and Jack's early days of courtship which transitioned to the exploration of the Vietnam war - a part of the latter's life that he refused to discussed with anyone. The whole arc which was spread out in several weeks culminated with the reveal that his youngest brother is alive and that Jack knew about it but never mentioned it to his family. Apparently, Jack ruthlessly cut Nicky (Griffin Dune) out of his life after mistakenly judging him for killing an innocent boy in Vietnam when it reality everything was a terrible accident. However, Nicky isn't ready yet to mingle with his brother's family, leading to their eventual separation.
Another huge moment from This Is Us season 3 was Tess coming out and Eris Baker did a fantastic job at portraying a terrified kid who's getting overwhelmed by learning about her emerging sexuality. Many were convinced that this will be a central plot in the upcoming episodes, but it was barely acknowledged in thereafter. The focus was on Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall's struggle to find adapt to the many changes in their personal and professional lives. This Is Us danced around the subject matter for quite a while, but once they finally confronted each other with their grievances, things quickly did a 180 degree turn with a simple resolution in the next episode. Zoe's (Melanie Liburd) reveal of abusive childhood reveal went on a similar prolonged route but barely had any impact on her and Kevin's eventual break-up.