If you needed a reminder that season 3 of This Is Us will be as heartbreaking as ever, this newly released teaser should do the trick. Creator Dan Fogelman shared a clip from the upcoming season on Twitter Thursday. And even though it's just five seconds long, the This Is Us video of Jack in Vietnam will definitely tug at your heartstrings.
In the clip Fogelman shared, a young Jack, clad in a military uniform, points a rifle out of a moving chopper. There's no dialogue in the clip. But just seeing Jack in Vietnam was enough for the many fans who responded to Fogelman's tweet.
Fans of This Is Us know that Jack survived the Vietnam War, then died from smoke inhalation caused by a fire years later. But it's been heavily implied that Jack's younger brother, Nicky, who served alongside him in Vietnam, didn't make it out alive. Season 3 marks the first time This Is Us has shown Vietnam flashbacks for Jack, but there was a poignant scene in season 2 where Jack looks at a photo of himself and Nicky in their military uniforms. It's safe to guess that Nicky is dead, even if the show hasn't confirmed exactly how he died yet.
How Nicky died isn't a This Is Us mystery in the same way that fans eagerly awaited the news about Jack's cause of death. Since he's not a current member of the show's central Pearson family — Jack, Rebecca, and their children — fans haven't developed the same affinity for him as they have for Jack. Instead, Nicky's military service, and his eventual death, are important to the show because of how it impacted Jack and, in turn, Jack's sons. (Still, Nicky will be included in the Vietnam flashbacks, with Michael Angarano set to play Jack's brother. So fans will likely grow to love the other Pearson brother before the season's end.)
In the Season 2 episode "Brothers," Jack takes Kevin and Randall camping in a desperate attempt to make his two sons get along. It's implied that their fighting frustrates him because he misses his own brother — and that he wishes his sons would have the close bond he and his own sibling did.
Based on that episode, it wasn't clear if Kevin and Randall even knew about Nicky. But the Season 2 finale proved that they do, at least as adults. The episode ended with Kevin — along with Beth's cousin, Zoe, who's apparently dating him — flying to Vietnam. It's safe to guess the pair are headed there to learn more about Jack, and probably about Nicky, too.
And from what This Is Us co-showrunner Elizabeth Berger said at the Television Critics Association press tour, it sounds like the tone of This Is Us' third season will be pretty different from the first two seasons. According to The Wrap, Berger said at the press tour,
"There is something very freeing about getting past Jack's death and getting to tell just a whole completely different kind of story. It's sort of different than anything our writers have done in the first two years, so to be all of a sudden be immersed in the Vietnam War, we think it's going to be really special and really different."
At first, This Is Us was heavy with surprises and twists, like the cause of Jack's death or the pilot's reveal of how all the Pearsons were related. But as the show's gone on, it's less about those suspense-driven plot twists, and more about the relatable emotions of a family. Still, even with the changes, it looks like This Is Us will still do what it does best: force viewers to sob while watching it each week. It definitely doesn't look like Jack's time in the chopper was a happy memory.