The wait is over, and you’re so ready for the return of This Is Us season 1.
Let’s see: You’ve got your tissues for when the NBC drama makes you weep and bowls of crunchy snacks to ease the tension between emotional plot twists. And then it hits you — what happened on This Is Us before the show went on hiatus? It’s been a little over a month since the show last aired and the second half is roaring back Tuesday night.
But fear not. We’re here to help jog your memory with this friendly character refresher. Enjoy.
The last time we saw Randall he’d agreed to buy a boat from a coworker. Turns out, the coworker (played by guest star Jimmi Simpson, Westworld and House of Cards) sold him the boat because his marriage and career are over — he cheated on his wife and made some very costly mistakes at work. When Randall tried to renege on the boat purchase, he found his coworker just in time, while the coworker was contemplating suicide by jumping off a ledge of the building. Randall, being the all-around good guy that we know and love, agrees to buy the boat and talks the guy down. Back at home, Randall finds out his biological dad William (Ron Cephas Jones) is bisexual at the family’s Christmas Eve get together ― more on that later.
Just before Thanksgiving, Kate flew to the East Coast from Los Angeles to be with her family and left Toby (Chris Sullivan, The Knick) behind. She has decided to have LAP-BAND surgery and takes her mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) with her to the doctor’s office. This is when Rebecca learns that Kate struggled with depression and used to take Prozac. Kate also confesses to binge eating recently. Rebecca is stunned and later in the car, apologizes for any role she played in Kate’s battles with food and weight. Having made peace with her mom, Kate is rewarded with a surprise visit from Toby, who flies all the way to New Jersey to tell her he’s going to keep losing weight. But this time, he’s shedding pounds for himself and not Kate. Toby also meets the Pearson family and plays with Randall’s awesome daughters. Kate is so happy to see Toby and hear the news, she kisses him under the mistletoe and hooks up with him upstairs. But this is This Is Us after all, and in one final act of heartbreak, Toby has a heart attack and collapses. Will he live? We’ll have to wait and see.
Love is a crazy thing especially when Kevin is involved. After arguing and breaking up with Olivia (Janet Montgomery, Salem) and hooking up with Sloane (Milana Vayntrub) the playwright, Kevin and Sloane return to New York and find out their stage play is dead. Olivia is MIA and the producers refuse to do the play without her. Mad at Kevin for the role he played in Olivia’s disappearance, Sloane tells Kevin he’s indebted to her and can only clear his debt by going to her family’s Hanukkah dinner as her plus one. At first, Kevin tags along to be nice but during dinner, he gets to know Sloane and truly starts to like her. Inspired by her family’s Hanukkah story, Kevin tells Sloane he will fund the play and that she can play Olivia’s part. Feeling all warm and tingly, Kevin brings Sloane to the Pearson family Christmas Eve gathering.
This matriarch has her hands and arms full. Although the Christmas Eve family fete is at Randall’s house, things are still a little tense between them now that Randall knows Rebecca kept his biological father from him for 36 years. Making matters more complicated, Rebecca and Kate had a spat but made up after chatting and later chuckling over Miguel’s (Jon Huertas) over-the-top Christmas decorations. But Rebecca is still beloved and beams with joy as she proudly watches her children’s insane but love-filled lives. Through flashbacks, we also learn that Kate’s appendix burst one Christmas when the Pearson kids were little, but that Rebecca assured her that nothing bad can happen on Christmas. Here’s hoping Rebecca is right.
In an attempt to keep his private life private, William goes back to the city to attend a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. While there, he tells the story of how love has redeemed him. Even though he’s dying of cancer, William says, he has a life worth living now that he’s clean and sober and has connected with his son and his son’s wife and kids. But William isn’t the only one with anecdotes to share. Another recovering addict named Jessie (Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story) tells the story of how he’d found love only to lose it. Jessie says he’s trying not to be a bitter man, but he wishes he had answers about why his lover didn’t say goodbye. As it turns out, William is that lover and when he tells Jessie about Randall and his cancer, Jessie forgives him and the two promise to spend as much time together as William has left. As a show of faith and commitment, William brings Jessie to his son Randall’s house for Christmas and that’s when Tess (Eris Baker) explains to her dad that grandpa is “gay or at least bisexual.”