Jack's early years have been a mystery to his kids their whole lives. They know their father went to Vietnam. They know he had a brother, Nicky, who died there. But that's about it. There's nothing about Nicky's life or the time he spent overseas at war. Did Nicky have a wife? Did Nicky have kids on This Is Us? According to next week's trailer, something big is about to come to light that will shake up the family forever. Could it be an overseas cousin?
This Is Us brought in a massive twist at the end of this week's episode, when Kevin discovered a picture of Jack with a woman in Vietnam. Not an image of them as a couple, but of him smiling at her. She, as Kevin noticed, was wearing a necklace. It appears to be very same necklace Jack gave to Kevin just before he died.
Fans immediately jumped to conclusions, looking at Jack smiling fondly at this lady. Theories range from Jack being in love with a woman in Vietnam to him having a whole secret family, or maybe even having a kid.
But if Jack had a kid, does anyone really think he would leave the woman or the child behind? This is not Miss Saigon. Jack would have moved a few mountains and a moon to get back there and rescue them.
There's a far simpler explanation, one that would upend the Pearsons' lives, but it's not Jack having a wife and a kid. Look again at the picture at the beginning of the trailer. Jack isn't embracing this woman. He's smiling at her like one does a sister... or a sister-in-law.
Jack went to Vietnam with one goal in mind. The find Nicky, keep him safe, and bring him home. Nicky, on the other hand, went to 'Nam, was Article 15'd, and bummed around aimlessly. One of these two men would be looking for a purpose in life, and reason to live, a reason to feel joy, and it's not Jack. It's Nicky.
If this is Nicky's wife, though, why would she give Jack the necklace? Maybe she didn't. Maybe she gave it to Nicky, and when Nicky died, Jack took it. Perhaps Jack didn't give it back, because he needed a way to remember his brother. But more likely, he did offer it to her and she told Jack to keep it — an item which would remind her of a short and tragic marriage she didn't want to remember.
Or perhaps she told Jack to keep it because she had a much better item to remember Nicky by. She had his child.
The theory the Pearsons' world will be rocked by a new member this season makes sense. Some think it will be Nicky, alive and well and hiding from the US government all these years. But I'm banking on a reveal on a much smaller, yet more human scale: Nicky's son, another Pearson, one the family never knew existed until Kevin dug him up.