Some TV series take the holidays very seriously. The tradition of doing a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a New Years-themed episode becomes a tradition, one the show can't break. Even if it's not technically airing a season right then (like with Doctor Who's Christmas specials) or won't have an episode on the exact holiday date (like with Friends), doing an appropriately themed installment is part of the brand. This Is Us also seems to have taken up this mantle. But is there a 2019 This Is Us Thanksgiving episode for Season 4? Fans are in luck. Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us Season 4 follow.
This Is Us has done Thanksgiving-centric, or at least Thanksgiving set episodes since it premiered. Season 1's "Pilgrim Rick" and Season 3's "Six Thanksgivings" both were timed to air on the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, 48 hours ahead of the holiday.
Season 2 didn't have technically have a Thanksgiving-themed episode, it had three of them, with the trio of them: "Number One, " "Number Two," and "Number Three." But as each followed a different Pearson family member and their issues, it didn't feel much like they were holiday episodes. Even so, "Number Two" aired the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, and the holiday was going on in the background.
But this year will be different. Thanksgiving falls late for 2019, on Thursday, Nov. 28, instead of on the 22nd or 23rd like it has the past three seasons. Also, This is Us had historically aired 10 episodes in the fall and eight in the spring. That guaranteed the show would make it to Thanksgiving, and maybe even to the week after.
But this season the show is splitting Season 4 slightly differently, going with an even nine in the fall and nine in the spring. That means the mid-season finale will air on Tuesday, Nov. 19, a full week and change before the holiday.
But never fear, Thanksgiving will come early. Here's the synopsis for Season 4, Episode 9, the This Is Us fall finale.
The Pearson family gathers for their first Thanksgiving at Randall's Philadelphia townhouse.
Thanksgiving is saved! But maybe it was better if it wasn't.
Thanksgiving at Randall's has all the makings of a catastrophe. Kate and Toby are bringing Jack Jr., their blind newborn who will be in a strange space surrounded by a dozen people, most of whom aren't used to his needs. Add to that Kevin and Nicky, two recovering alcoholics trying to figure out how they fit into this family. There's Deja's mom, Shauna, another recovering addict, who will be joining the already super crowded table. And most worryingly, there's Rebecca. Her denial of her growing dementia looks like it might just ruin the holiday if no one else gets there first.
But when a show like This Is Us commits to doing certain holiday episodes, they do them come hell or high water, even if the schedule isn't as cooperative as one would like. In this case, perhaps it's a good thing Thanksgiving is going to come a week early because fans are going to need at least a week to recover.