This Is Us fans adored the very first episode of the drama series due to its plot twist at the end, revealing that every character’s story was connected and that the show took place in multiple time periods. Over the course of the six seasons of the series, even more plot twists unfolded, keeping viewers on their toes when it came to what would happen next. From flashbacks to flash-forwards, This Is Us was never one for conventional storytelling. The show thrived on taking fans by surprise and making them search for clues while also being blindsided by new characters, family members, and the outcome of love stories. Plot twists were an integral part of the show and largely contributed to its success.
Kevin’s First Marriage
In season one, Kevin was in a love triangle with his co-star Olivia and playwright Sloane, only to choose neither of them at the end of the story arc. Instead, he took Toby’s advice to heart and sought out his first love, Sophie, who he had been divorced from for 12 years. The revelation of Kevin’s marriage was a shock to viewers who thought he had been nothing more than a playboy for his entire adult life. Flashbacks then revealed that Kevin had loved Sophie since they were kids, and the two of them were childhood sweethearts. It changed fans’ perceptions of him and gave his love story a greater meaning.
Kate’s Second Wedding
While fans may have found the news that Kevin and Madison called off their wedding pretty unsurprising, the season 5 finale still had some tricks up its sleeve. In the final moments of the season finale, viewers learned that Philip was about to become Kevin’s brother-in-law and that his bride-to-be was none other than Kate. It was a jaw-dropping twist, especially because Kate was still married to Toby as far as viewers were concerned. Over the course of the next season, the audience got to watch as KaToby’s divorce unfolded and Kate ended up wedding her former workplace rival.
Rebecca’s Connection To William
In the very first season of the show, Randall assumed that his parents had never had any contact with his birth parents. When he finally began a relationship with his biological father, William, he learned that his mom had met William when Randall was still just a baby. This twist shocked both viewers and Randall, as he became estranged from Rebecca for a short period of time because of the secret she kept from him. Though he couldn’t understand her motives at first, Randall eventually forgave his mother and reconciled with his biological father before William’s passing.
For the entire duration of her marriage to Jack, Rebecca had no idea that Jack’s brother was actually alive. Viewers didn’t even know Jack had a brother until well into the series, and believed Jack when he maintained that his brother died after serving in Vietnam. However, season 3 introduced the This Is Us fandom to Uncle Nicky, a man very much alive and living in a trailer in Pennsylvania. It turned out that Nicky didn’t die, he was just dead to Jack, and he became isolated from everyone for the majority of his adult life. With the help of Kevin, Nicky became a member of the family and a main character for the remainder of the series.
Fans learned (from another plot twist) in early season one that Jack had died sometime before 2016, but they had no idea what the cause was. Season 2 focused primarily on the events leading up to his death, and one of those was the house fire that caused his fatal heart attack. While viewers didn’t know just how impactful the crockpot in the Pearson house would be, or the batteries the family forgot to buy for the smoke detector, they quickly watched as the story unfolded and the family home came burning to the ground. The fire was a real plot twist that nobody saw coming from the first few episodes, and turned out to be the most devastating yet fitting way that Jack could go out — as a hero.
Laurel Being Alive
Thanks to flashbacks early on in the series, fans learned a lot about the day that the Big Three was born, including from Randall’s biological parents’ point of view. Viewers watched as Laurel, Randall’s mother, gave birth to him and then immediately die after childbirth, while William took baby Randall to the fire station just hours after he was born. Season 5 rewrote that story and instead insisted that Laurel was actually revived after William ran from the scene. Laurel went on to live the rest of her life in Louisiana, where she would pass away due to breast cancer in 2013. This plot twist was met with mixed reviews from fans and critics, with many thinking that the retcon of Laurel’s life was unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the story.
The First Flash-Forward
This Is Us was known for its flashbacks, but completely altered the timeline by implementing a flash-forward at the end of season 2. While fans suspected the little boy with the social worker to be the adopted son of Randall and Beth, it was actually revealed that the social worker was future Tess. With the addition of flash-forwards, viewers learned that they could be getting a lot more to the story of the Pearson family than they originally imagined. As more flash-forwards were sprinkled in throughout the series, the show built up the mystery of who “her” was that everyone was gearing up to see, though it was quickly revealed to be Rebecca on her deathbed.
Jack’s Future Whereabouts
Hearts broke when viewers learned that Rebecca was no longer married to Jack in the present day, and they wondered where he could possibly be if he wasn’t spending time with his beloved family. After a few episodes of pure mystery, This Is Us finally revealed Jack Pearson’s future whereabouts. The fifth episode of the series, “The Game Plan” revealed what fans suspected to be true; Jack was dead. As Kate struggled to allow Toby to watch the football with her, she eventually told him that she watched the game every day with her dad. When Toby asked to meet him, Kate brought out her father’s ashes. It was a plot twist that some saw coming, but hurt because nobody wanted it to be true.
Rebecca & Miguel’s Marriage
Rebecca and Jack were a believable, adorable couple in the first two episodes of This Is Us, and that’s why it was such a gut-punch to learn that in the present day, Rebecca was married to Jack’s best friend, Miguel. Viewers didn’t understand what happened to the perfect love story they had already gotten attached to. Did Jack and Rebecca divorce? Where was Jack? How could Miguel do that to his friend? All of these questions took seasons to answer, but the initial plot twist was one of the most impactful of the series as it got people talking about the show.
The First Episode’s Ending
The pilot episode of This Is Us was near television perfection, in large part due to the plot twist of the ending. Viewers didn’t know at first how all of these stories connected, but after Kate and Kevin began reciting the same words that Doctor K said to Jack in the hospital room, it was incredibly clear that Jack and Rebecca’s story wasn’t taking place in 2016.
The twist that Randall, Kate, and Kevin were all siblings and that Jack and Rebecca were their parents was crazy and unpredictable. Sure, they all had the same birthday, but there was no evidence to suggest that they were related. The reveal made the show that much more special, and made the pilot infinitely rewatchable.