‘This Is Us’ Season 4 Premiere Recap: Stranger Danger

We’ve waited and waited and now the season four premiere of This Is Us is finally here. If you wondered who those ten new characters were in the recently released trailer, now’s the moment you finally find out. Without further ado, enjoy this recap of the This Is Us season four premiere.

We open on Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) at the beginning of their relationship. Jack drops her off at home and she jokes that she has a lot on her plate at the moment and probably won’t see him for a while. Their chemistry is palpable, and they kiss. As they break away, she says, “I’m not calling you first.” He replies, “I’m not calling you first.” But Jack does call and ask her out the following day. She says yes, but then remembers she’s supposed to have dinner with her parents and decides to invite him to come along. The catch? It’s at their country club and he’ll need a sport coat.

So, he goes to a store where he meets a very young Miguel (Jon Huertas), who offers to help him pick out a jacket. When Jack looks at the price tag, he realizes he can’t afford it and tells Miguel that he just got back from Vietnam. In a gesture of kindness, Miguel tells him to take it, tuck the price tag up into his sleeve and bring it back next week.

Jack arrives at the country club and Rebecca briefs him: Her mom, Elizabeth (Janet Malone), is tough, but her dad, Dave (Tim Matheson), is great. They’ve both been warned not to talk about Vietnam. When they get to the table, Rebecca’s mom immediately chastises him for whisking their daughter to the other side of the country for two weeks and her father asks about Vietnam. Yikes.

Jack remains calm while Rebecca’s parents grill him on the war and on what his parents do for a living. He spills cocktail sauce on his sport coat, then, overwhelmed, goes to the bathroom to collect himself. When he comes back, he opens up about his family, his parents’ fights, his late brother and his experience in the war. He apologizes that their first impression of him wasn’t so great, but he says they’ll get to know him better because he’s not going anywhere.

After dinner, Rebecca’s father congratulates Jack on winning them all over. “You’re a good man, Jack. I can see that. I can also see a man who’s carrying stuff with him and is far more haunted than he’s letting on. I want more for her, Jack,” he says, point-blank telling Jack he’s not good enough for Rebecca.

Then, Jack takes Rebecca out for a burger at a bar she used to sing at. When the owner comes to greet her and tells her she’s welcome to sing a couple of songs, she says no thank you but Jack tells her he’s having a rough day and could really use a song from his favorite singer.

Across the world and in the future, a female Marine named Cassidy Sharpe (Jennifer Morrison) Skypes her family while away at war. She tells her husband (Nick Wechsler) how much she misses them and muses that the first thing they’ll do when she gets home is make breakfast for dinner together. Their conversation is cut short as another officer calls for her offscreen. She puts on her gear, walks out into the desert heat and heads out on patrol. Cassidy comes upon a young female doctor (Bahara Golestani) in the street and greets her. They head inside and Cassidy says that she’s been waiting for a picture of a bomb maker from the woman for weeks. If the woman gives it to her, she’ll give her a visa and water for the village. The woman is reluctant, but ultimately gives her the photo. The intel Cassidy gathers is used to capture the bomb maker, but eight civilian lives are lost in the process.

Later, Cassidy arrives home a much-decorated veteran. Her family welcomes her warmly, but judging from the way she uneasily watches her son squeeze ketchup onto his plate, she may be suffering from some post-traumatic stress.

Time passes and she tries to get a job, but she’s not getting any bites. So she goes out to have a few drinks and comes home drunk. Her husband calls her out and says they’re behind on their bills and their hot water heater just broke. She’s overwhelmed and when her young son begins pulling on her arm, she snaps and hits him in the face. The family is shocked and Cassidy’s husband tells her to get out.

Sometime in the future, she attends what appears to be an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the VA. She opens up, saying she and her husband are separated now and she’s driving an Uber. Cassidy knows she’s showing signs of PTSD but she says when it boils down to it, she snapped because of the cost of the water heater. Back in the Middle East, they gave civilians $1,200 (the cost of the water heater) for each of their dead family members. It’s more than she can take. Just as she finishes, someone familiar throws a chair through the window of the room.

In the next scene, we meet another new face—a visually impaired man. He and his dog Sadie are enjoying breakfast when she jumps onto his plate and breaks it. Off to a diner he goes, where he pretends to be startled and offended when a waitress named Lucy (Auden Thornton) greets him. (He has quite the sense of humor.) After her shift is over, he invites Lucy to sit with him and tells her that he’s hungover because he was writing a song last night and realized that he’s forever doomed to play country club bars. He asks Lucy to describe the diner to him and she does, adding that she’s an aspiring chef. He reaches out for her hand and clearly feels a connection because he gasps, “Damn,” and asks for another cup of coffee.

We flash forward as they fall in love and he eventually asks her to marry him. The plate that led him to walk into the diner that fateful day hangs on the wall. Later, in a car, they talk about the restaurant Lucy just opened and she tells him she’s pregnant. She’s scared of how she’ll balance her career and family but he assures her everything will be OK. They arrive at their destination (a massive concert he’s performing in) and the crowd goes wild. Just as he’s about to go on stage, we hear his name…but more on that later.

In another part of town, a young man named Malik (Asante Blackk) catches up with his friends after school but can’t put his phone down because it seems that he’s distracted by a girl. His buddy invites him to a kick back (a small party), but he says he’s a maybe. Later, he brings home a burger for his mother (Marsha Stephanie Blake) and checks on the girl he referenced earlier to his friends—it’s his baby. He picks her up and tells her he watched her on the baby camera all day.

The next morning, his mom tells him he has to watch the baby that night instead of attending the party. He’s bummed and she tells him, “Welcome to responsibility.” He goes to work at a body shop and receives some words of encouragement from his boss. Malik sees an opening and asks his boss to let him in on his, from the sound of it illegal, side hustle. The boss is reluctant, but Malik tells him about his daughter and how he needs to earn money to send her to the best schools. He pities him and says he’ll call.

Later, he and his father (Omar Epps), who also works at the shop, head home together. His dad launches into a monologue about how he knows Malik rolls his eyes every time his mom lectures him about responsibility. Malik’s father says he was going down the wrong path in his 20s but he straightened out because he became a father. It seems he knows his son asked about getting into their boss’s side hustle and he desperately wants him to not get involved. Instead, he offers to babysit and tells Malik to go to the BBQ.

As the episode closes, we flash forward and see that Rebecca and Miguel have gathered with Kevin (Justin Hartley) to celebrate the Big Three’s birthday.

Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) aren’t there yet because they’re at the doctor with baby Jack, who is having health problems. The doctor tells them that Jack is not responding to procedures and that he’s going to be mostly blind for the rest of his life. He’ll still be able to see some light and shapes, but that’s the most they can hope for. It becomes clear that the unnamed visually impaired man is adult Jack…and now we’re sobbing.

While Kate and Toby receive their life-changing news, Kevin gets a call from Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne), who’s just been arrested for throwing a chair through the window of the Alcoholic Anonymous meeting Cassidy just attended. Things really have a way of coming full circle.

Later, Malik enjoys himself at the BBQ and tends to the grill. A girl comes up and introduces him to her friend Deja (Lyric Ross). (So that’s how this all comes together!)

He’s immediately smitten and so is Deja, so much so that when she comes home, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) asks what’s wrong with her face.

The teaser for season four episode two shows some hardships up ahead, but for now, we’re going to celebrate the little victories of this episode. This Is Us returns next Tuesday, October 1, at 9 p.m. PT/ET.

We missed you, Pearson fam.

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