This Is Us pulled a fast one on fans in the Thanksgiving-themed fall finale. When viewers assumed Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was lost in present day, it turned out the scenes of her memory loss-related big adventure was actually from nine months in the future on the Big Three's 40th birthday. Twist!
And because This Is Us always picks up a new season on the Big Three's birthdays, viewers won't get some answers they're craving until season five.
"Again, just keeping in mind that is their 40th birthday at the cabin that we flash-forward to, we have a history of every season starting with their next birthday. So that is all stuff we will be addressing in early season five," executive producer Isaac Aptaker told TVLine.
However, that doesn't viewers won't learn what caused the rift between Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) that was touched upon at the end of the episode. "It's definitely something that by the end of our season, we'll understand what the rift is between those brothers," Aptaker said.
When the show returns after the holidays, it will be in relative real-time, creator Dan Fogelman told THR. So, Kate (Chrissy Metz) will have been dealing with seeing those texts from Toby's (Chris Sullivan) CrossFit crew about his marriage.
"We tend to have a long break over the holidays every year just by the nature of the way we air, so we typically pick up in roughly, in the present day storylines at least, relatively where we would be in the calendar year — meaning a month or two have passed and the holidays have passed," Fogelman said. "We typically try to do a good job of catching the audience up on what's happened in the time they've missed. Kevin's been on his hypothetical search for true love and partnership for a month and a half, and we'll see how that's been going. Toby and Kate, what's happened since she's seen that text message? What's been the status for their last month and a half? We'll catch up on all of that stuff."
And viewers should note Toby and baby Jack did not seem to be at the cabin for the birthday celebrations with Kevin, Kate, Rebecca, Kevin's mystery fiancé and Miguel (Jon Huertas). The plot thickens…
Fogelman also noted the scenes of Rebecca in bed, those "her" flash-forward scenes, are roughly 12 or 13 years into the future from the present on This Is Us.
"There's a lot of chapters ahead. I mean our show has tried always to explore the stuff that people go through and people relate to, but hopefully counter-balance that with love and joy and family and hope, and playing in time and the progression of things will allow us to do that so it's not a dirge. We're 12 or 13 years in the future. We've established a very old Rebecca lying in a bed," Fogelman teased about Rebecca's battle ahead. "So there's a long journey ahead of us and we only have a couple of the TV seasons left to go. So, it tells you that we're going to mainly live in a place where ‚ I don't want to get too far into it because everything's a spoiler these days, but you know what I'm saying."
This Is Us returns in early 2020 on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)