For a show that's only been around one season, it's kind of crazy just how many different ways This Is Us has ripped fans' hearts to pieces. Now that Season 2 is right around the corner, a This Is Us Season 1 recap is absolutely necessary, because so much happened to the Pearson family in the show's earliest episodes that it's nearly impossible to remember it all. Between Jack and Rebecca's flashbacks and what Kevin, Kate, and Randall are doing in the present day, there are so many story lines to keep straight, and somehow they're all fascinating but very complicated.
Before This Is Us premiered last fall, all anyone knew was that the show was about people who shared a birthday. By the end of the pilot, their connection was revealed: Jack and Rebecca are actually parents whose story is told in the past while their adult children (who just so happened to be born on Jack's birthday) face their own problems in the present.
It didn't take long to fall in love with the Pearsons, and it's exciting to think of everything the next season could hold... including the answer to the burning questions surrounding Jack's death.
Here's everything you need to know before Tuesday night's Season 2 premiere.
Jack & Rebecca's Beautiful Love Story
Season 1 gave us a ton of background information about Jack and Rebecca — how they met after a blind date gone wrong, how Rebecca initially didn't want kids, but changed her mind after the Steelers won the Superbowl, and everything Jack sacrificed to buy their first home. But their relationship wasn't perfect; they fought, especially when Jack drank too much and Rebecca had to carry most of the parenting duties herself. In the present, we learn that Jack has been dead for awhile, and now, Rebecca's married to his best friend Miguel... although the circumstances surrounding that situation are still a mystery.
When we first meet Kate in the pilot, she's in a difficult place. She's working as an assistant to her brother, Kevin, and has been stuck in a cycle of wanting to lose weight but never making the change. So she joins a weight loss group and meets Toby, whom she falls in love with, and gets serious about her goals, trying to gain her independence from being attached to Kevin's hip. Eventually, she decides to go to weight loss camp, although that doesn't quite work out. And when Toby comes to Randall's for New Year's Eve, he collapses from a cardiac arrhythmia.
Randall's story mainly revolves around him meeting his birth father, William, for the first time — and coping with William's cancer diagnosis and, later, his death. At first, things are rocky when Randall first takes him in, but it's not long before William is a full fledged part of the family. There are some tough moments along the way, like when Randall and his wife, Beth, have a pregnancy scare and when he finds out that William is bisexual and was in a relationship with a man, Jesse, for a long time. (Randall eventually comes around on that though.) We also learn that Randall is prone to nervous breakdowns, but his dad (Jack) was the one who best knew how to calm him down.
After William decides to stop his chemo treatment, he and Randall drive to Memphis so he can see his hometown one last time. That's where William dies, which sparks Randall to quit his job and pursue something he's more passionate about.
Kevin's at a crossroads when he decides to quit the sitcom, The Manny, he's been famous for starring in so he can move to New York and pursue theater seriously. His dating life is a mess, and he gets involved with two women working on his play... only to realize that he's still in love with his ex-wife, Sophie. So far, everything is going well on that front — after a lot of convincing to get her to give him a second chance.
How The Season Ended
Jack and Rebecca are in a terrible place when Season 1 ends. After Jack showed up drunk to Rebecca's show in Cleveland, they have a massive fight, and he ends up deciding to stay with Miguel for awhile. And as for the kids? Kate is engaged to Toby and also wants to pursue her dreams of singing, while Kevin is on his way to LA to potentially work on a film... and Randall has realized he wants to adopt a baby, just like his parents adopted him.
So what happens next? Fortunately, we only have to wait until Tuesday night to find out.