This Is Us: Prep for season 2 premiere with this quick recap of the endearing Pearson family

Timeline jumps are one of the signature marks of the show starring Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Sterling K Brown. Let's do a quick primer of the story created by Dan Fogelman so far.

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This Is Us: Prep for season 2 premiere with this quick recap of the endearing Pearson family


This Is Us is one of the best series that came out last year. The sweet family drama quickly became a hit because of the stories and characters written and created by Dan Fogelman. The Pearson family felt real and it was like looking in the mirror for many of us sitting on this side of the screen. 

Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) and Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) with their kids — their grown-up versions at least — Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz), Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) and Randall Pearson (Sterling K Brown) slowly crept into the hearts of viewers.

The tear-jerking stories of their childhood struggles, real-life trials and relationships jump the timeline hoops several times, slowly unspooling the reasons behind the nature of the characters in their present timelines.

The music by Siddhartha Khosla only adds to the sweet pain.

Sometimes, it's difficult to keep track of the zillion story arcs when you are also frantically looking for tissues to wipe your tears when Randall takes his biological father (Ron Cephas Jones) for one last road trip or clutching your heart because Kate's pain of missing her father is too much.

So here’s a quick timeline of This Is Us, so audiences can prep for the eagerly awaited premiere of Season 2.


Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore)
Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia)
Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz)
Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley)
Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown)
William (Ron Cephas Jones)
Toby (Chris Sullivan)
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson)

The Timeline

First: Jack Pearson’s grandfather arrives in New York City

As Kevin is once seen telling his nieces, Randall’s daughters, about the man who has a son, who also has a son, who has the Big Three. This is where the series actually begins!

The early 1940s – William is born

William’s father dies overseas in the early 1940s war when he leaves behind his pregnant war widow. But this is not before he sings possibly the sweetest version of ‘You Are My Sunshine’. However, William’s life begins as tragically as it ends. Neither did he ever get to be a father, nor did he have a father growing up.

Later: Jack’s abusive dad leaves

Jack’s father is possibly the worst father one can ever have. If it wasn’t for him leaving, we would have never have found a near perfect man in Jack Pearson – the perfect father, husband and human being we have known him to be over the season.

Short while later: William moves to Pittsburgh

William Hill, born with a gift of poetry, joins a cover band with his cousin Ricky. But he soon leaves for Pittsburgh to tend to his ailing mother promising he’ll be back – which he doesn’t get to. This is what sets the series into motion. 

Maybe in parallel: Jack returns from the Vietnam war

After working as a mechanic during the war, Jack has to move back in with his parents. He’s forced to take a series of odd jobs which are at times deflating but it also leads to the big moment that follows.

The mid-1970s: Jack and Rebecca meet

The couple that audiences love so much, meet at a dive bar when Jack is looking to get even with some gangster-type fellows and Rebecca is singing the song ‘Moonshadow’ on the stage. The meeting was completely coincidental and both characters were supposed to have other blind dates that evening. Fate intervenes leading to Rebecca saving Jack from a life of crime, and Jack saving Rebecca from a life learning about stock options from a frail, boring finance guy.

1975 – 1980: Jack and Rebecca marry

While the date hasn’t been clearly mentioned, it is around this time that Jack and Rebecca marry in a small ceremony at City Hall in front of family and friends. Miguel, Jack’s best friend who Rebecca would later go on to marry, is the best man at their wedding. 

Around the same time: William turns to drugs

When his mother passes away, William falls hard for Randall’s mother while also going down for some pain-numbing drugs.

January 1980: The triplets are conceived

At a bar bathroom, at the Super Bowl, which will obviously never be the same for Rebecca and Jack as also the entire Pearson family, the triplets were conceived after the Steelers’ big win that night.

August 31, 1980: The Big Three are born

As seen in the pilot episode of Season One, it is on this day that birthday boy Jack not only receives a gross muffin for a cake, a make-believe lap dance by his very pregnant wife but also a roller-coaster of emotions as he prepares to welcome his triplets, deals with the devastating loss of one of the triplets and the healing he brings to his family by adopting an abandoned baby Randall who was born on the same day. This was clearly a big day for the family and showcases the birth of all three kids – Kate, Kevin and Randall on the same day as their father, Jack!

Early 1981: Rebecca meets William

After glimpsing him outside the hospital, a few months later, Rebecca finally manages to find Randall’s birth father, William. At the time she is stressing out about not only not being able to handle the triplets but also disturbed with the thought that the adopted child, Randall, was not adjusting well with her.

Spring 1989: Jack stops drinking

As perfect as Jack appeared to be, he was quite an alcoholic as discovered later on in the series. Eight years after the triplets are born, Jack gives into some of his demons from the past. His drinking drives a wedge in his relationship with Rebecca and Jack is forced to reconsider, not his relationship but his drinking, soon sobering up to save his relationship, marriage and family.

Fall 1989: Randall goes to an advanced school

As Randall struggles to fit in with his family, he hides his genius calibre from his parents at the risk of being called out to be different from his siblings. He soon realises his parents will always love him just as much as they do them, no matter what, and Randall reveals his gifts to them. Rebecca and Jack then admit him into an advanced school.

November 1989: The Pearson Thanksgiving tradition commences

Nine years after Dr. K’s advice to Jack on making something resembling lemonade from even the most sour lemons, it still sticks on. This is proof when Jack succeeds in turning the most horrible Thanksgiving experience into one of the best when he makes the best out of being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere – eating hot dogs, many cheese slices, watching some really bad movies and making up the story of Pilgrim Rick!

December 1989: "Nothing bad happens on Christmas Eve"

Christmas eve of 1989 could have easily fallen apart for the siblings when Kate has to be rushed to the hospital for appendicitis. But the visit not only spawned magic mistletoe and the forever-remembered phrase ‘Nothing Bad Happens on Christmas Eve’ but also the Pearson family-Dr. K reunion!

Summer 1990: The Big Three turn 10

All three siblings want different parties and themes for their birthdays after nine years of celebrating their birthdays together. Kate – a Madonna-themed birthday, Kevin – a Princess Bride-themed birthday and Randall – a magician-themed birthday. The Princess Bride themed birthday is what attracts Kate’s best friend Sophie to Kevin who organises the party according to the theme of the movie he hates so much, only to impress her. Kevin and Sophie go on to get married when they’re older. Jack learns how to ‘Vogue’ by his daughter Kate!

1996: Kevin and Sophie hook up

At the age of only fifteen, Sophie and Kevin get intimate. Thanks to a jibe by Kate that Rebecca happens to overhear, both Rebecca and Jack learn of this too.

February 14th , 1996: Jack breaks his sobriety vow

After giving up drinking to become a better father, husband and family man, Jack finally gives into a Maker’s Mark after a big fight with Rebecca when he learns that Rebecca and Ben used to date.

Late February/Early March 1996: Jack and Rebecca split

In the closing moments of one of the most overwhelming episodes, Jack leaves the house to go and stay with his best friend, Miguel.

1996-1999: Jack dies

All thanks to an episode when Kate finally makes her break-through in fat camp, Jack’s death is finally revealed through a flashback in Kate’s memory. Although the timeline is a little hazy on this one, it was evident that Jack dies at a point when the triplets are teenagers. This is also one of the prominent storylines that will be explored in the second season.

2006-2007 – Kevin and Sophie separate

The timeline is a little blurred yet again, but it is revealed when Kevin is introduced in 2016 at age 36, that almost a decade ago, childhood sweethearts Kevin and Sophie had separated. That had to make him around 26 years old at the time which places him directly between this period.

August 2016 – The Big Three turn 36

This is a very important moment in the series as the show starts with the scene where they all have their 36th birthday. Also, 36 years ago on this day, they were born to their late father Jack Pearson when he was 36 years old.

September 2016: Kevin quits The Manny, moves to New York

Having had enough of the creators of The Manny not taking him seriously as an actor, Kevin leaves his famous show in the middle of a meltdown. Determined to find some serious acting work, Kevin bids farewell to LA and moves to New York to be part of the theater.

November 2016: Kate dumps Toby

Nothing was going to distract Kate from her goal of weight-loss, definitely not this amazing, funny and charming guy she meets. When Toby decides and declares that weight loss isn’t for him, their relationship takes a negative turn, ultimately getting Kate to take a step.

November 2016: Randall learns his mother’s secret 

When Randall finds his biological father, he soon also stumbles upon a very important detail Rebecca hid from him all this while: she always knew who his biological father was and had even met the man years ago.

November 2016: One last trip to the cabin

While it’s still unknown how this family cabin came to be, triplets – Kate, Kevin and Randall, after a showdown with their mother about hiding details about Randall’s biological father, visit the cabin one last time. In the present, it is shown that Rebecca is about to sell the property that is a very important part of the triplets’ lives.

December 2016: Toby has an attack

Yes, nothing bad ever happens on Christmas Eve apart from Kate’s appendicitis years ago and now, Toby’s heart attack just at the time when Kate and Toby were about to get back and Toby makes a vow to get back to dieting when he confesses he could leave all that junk food but he couldn’t live without Kate. 

February 2017: William dies

After visiting all the fancy doctors, waiting for all the experimental procedures to work, William finally runs out of time, but not before visiting all the significant places in Randall’s life – the place he grew up in and even his adoptive father’s resting place. Soon, he breathes his last, leaving Randall with memories of not one but two dead fathers this time around. 

March 2017: Kevin's play opens / Kevin and Sophie get back together

On the second premiere night of his play, Kevin not only receives an offer from Ron Howard for his next big film, but Kevin and Sophie also get back together as the episode showcases that Kevin would be staying back in the Big Apple for a while.

'This Is Us' Season 2 will premiere in India on Star World and Star World HD, this Saturday, September 30, at 9 PM. You can also catch it on Hotstar’s premium membership.

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