‘This Is Us’ recap: Baby steps toward personal growth for the Big Three

Spoiler alert! This story contains details from “This Is Us” Season 3, Episode 6, “Kamsahamnida,” which aired Oct. 30, 2018.

Are the Pearsons – dare I say it – making progress?

Tuesday’s episode of NBC’s “This Is Us” was a banner outing for the present-day Big Three siblings, all of whom showed remarkable personal growth at a time when it was sorely needed. Kate (Chrissy Metz), now pregnant and learning to help Toby (Chris Sullivan) as he struggles with depression, becomes more confident in her own decisions. Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) run for city council in Philadelphia stops being a vanity exercise and starts being a source for good. And Kevin (Justin Hartley) realizes why he’s so obsessed with his father’s past. 

Overall “Kamsahamnida” (which means “thank you” in Korean) was a stronger than usual episode of “Us,” but it illuminates a new problem with the series that promises to get worse going forward. 

Like “Lost” and other flashback-heavy shows before it, “Us” is starting to enter the phase where the present is far more illuminating than the past. Although the scenes from this week’s early-’90s flashback show sweet moments between Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Jack and young Randall (Lonnie Chavis), we’ve already seen plenty, including in this timeline. 

As annoying as the big “Jack’s death” mystery was, there was something to be said for creating bigger stakes in flashbacks and avenues for learning more about the characters we already know so well. From here on out, I don’t think the flashbacks will be as dull and misguided as, say, that episode of “Lost” about Jack’s tattoos, but it will become more challenging for the writers to keep them relevant and vital. 

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