This Is Us is back after a lengthy holiday hiatus, and while we shouldn't count on the show jumping into serious revelations right away, the mystery about Jack's brother Nicky will soon receive airtime. The show's fall finale revealed that despite the assumption that he died during the Vietnam War, Nicky was alive and well in Pennsylvania, but the remaining Pearsons had no clue about this. Following Kevin's realization that his uncle survived the war, Justin Hartley revealed new This Is Us details about Nicky teasing that an interesting family reunion may be on the way.
In Nov. 27's "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning," Kevin and Zoe's Vietnamese tour guide revealed that Nicky Pearson's name was absent from a database of soldiers lost during the war. As he put it, Nicky (Michael Angarano) may have died in Vietnam, but his death definitely wasn't a result of war. The episode's '70s flashback also implied that Nicky was caught in a boat explosion, but it ultimately left his fate unclear. This prompted a present-day scene showing an older man in a shadowy home where mail addressed to a Nicholas Pearson in Bradford, Pennsylvania rested on a table. Whether or not Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) ever knew the truth, it was suddenly clear that Nicky survived his tumultuous experience in Vietnam. Surprise, kids, meet your new uncle!
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight recently, Justin Hartley revealed that his character Kevin will meet Nicky "really, really, really soon." Hartley remained quiet about how the life-changing meeting will happen, but he told ET:
It's probably not going to be all rainbows and butterflies. Here's a guy who's lived in solitude his whole life, who we thought was dead, because we were told by our father — who is dead — that he was dead. And now it's like, 'Wait, he's not dead?' So, should we be mad about that? Like, what's the deal? Like, why did you tell us he was deceased? There's a huge story behind all of that. [It's] a lot to process.
In November, Deadline reported that instead of Anagarano wearing old age makeup, Griffin Dunne will play elderly Nicky after appearing as him in the fall finale's reveal. Angarano also revealed that he knew Nicky was alive, telling Vulture, "While Jack is present and earnest and a little bit of the savior, Nicky is very much the observer and more of an overthinker."
The promo for This Is Us's Jan. 15 episode suggests that the show will stick to the 2019 timeline this week. While Kevin now knows that his uncle wasn't a casualty of war, maybe he hasn't yet pieced together that this means Nicky is alive and nearby. It looks like Randall's city council election will take priority in the episode, but perhaps Kevin's desire to learn more about Nicky is what forms the wedge between him and Zoe (Melanie Liburd).
We'll have to wait and see how soon Kevin solves this family history mystery. Season 3 of This Is Us continues on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.