The This Is Us season 6 premiere begins with Jack and Rebecca — our favorite TV couple — sharing a sweet moment in the kitchen. Rebecca’s gotten the kids Tang in honor of this special day. Today’s the day of the Challenger launch — January 28, 1986. The day starts out hopeful, but we all know how this ends. Remember, Kevin says in the pilot that the Challenger explosion is where it “all went wrong.”
The Challenger space shuttle launches while the Big Three are in class. They watch the explosion happen before their eyes, and they quickly realize something went wrong. The shaken teacher turns the TV off instantly after the explosion.
The Big Three Turn 41
The very first episode of the show started with the Big Three turning 36. Now they’re turning 41. On his birthday, Randall learns that the police found the man who broke into his house. He had a wedding photo of Randall and Beth on him.
Randall goes downstairs and tells Beth that they found the man who robbed them. Randall wants to go to the man’s arraignment. Beth doesn’t think it’s the best idea, but she knows that Randall is going to do it anyway. She offers up a very sexy alternative, but he’s convinced himself he has to go to the arraignment. “I would have chosen Door No. Beth,” Beth says.
Toby calls Kate from San Francisco to wish her a happy birthday. Toby’s planned out the whole day for Kate in honor of her birthday. Despite the good intentions, it’s not exactly what Kate had in mind. Philip has a surprise for Kate at school in honor of her birthday. At first, Kate overhears Philip breaking up with his girlfriend. Philip has the kids sing Kate a cover of “Time After Time,” and it brings Kate to tears.
Rebecca’s Memory Fails Her
Miguel, Nicky, and Rebecca take Jack and Hailey to the park. Nicky wants to reach out to Sally, but he keeps losing his nerve. Rebecca recalls a memory about how her dad used to take her on a train, but she gets frustrated when she can’t remember what the last train car is called.
Kevin goes to see his former producer on the lot. The last time they saw each other was when Kevin had his meltdown on The Manny set. The Manny is being rebooted, and this time Kevin would play the dad to the twins. He’s too old to play the Manny now. “Over my dead body,” Kevin says to the offer.
Randall goes to the arraignment, and he just can’t resist going up to the guy. He asks for a moment to talk to the perp. “You’re the guy from my picture,” the man says. Randall talks to him. The guy doesn’t remember robbing him. He has “holes in his memory” and can’t remember where he got the photo. He keeps asking what happened to his dog.
Randall ends up bailing the man out and agrees to meet him at the shelter later. Randall looked at the man’s file and wanted to give him a second chance. This man — David — is an addict and needs help. “You are an incredibly decent man, Randall Pearson,” Beth tells her husband.
Rebecca Gives A Health Update
In 1986, Jack comes home after the Challenger explosion. He and Rebecca agree to talk to the kids together. The Big Three are quiet when Jack and Rebecca try to talk to them. Kate is the first to open up. The boys don’t want to talk about it. Kevin just wants more mac and cheese.
Later, Rebecca goes into Randall’s room. He’s putting away his shuttle. Randall mentions that the astronaut teacher has kids. “Do you think someone is making them dinner?” Randall asks Rebecca. Randall says maybe she can send the teacher’s family some mac and cheese just in case. When Jack talks to Kevin, Kevins says, “It was just a story on TV. It wasn’t real.” Rebecca is worried about Kevin, but Jack thinks Kevin’s reaction is just his brain protecting itself.
Kevin and Madison have found a way to co-parent well, and Kevin is currently living in Madison’s garage to be closer to the twins. When Kevin comes back to the house after his meeting, it’s just Madison and this guy named Eli. They’re very flirty in front of Kevin.
At the party for the Big Three, Rebecca is still trying to figure out the name of the end of the train. She’s preoccupied with it. She tells everyone the results of the latest PET scan. There are plaques building in her brain.
Kevin Moves In With Kate
When Kevin comes back from the party, Eli is still at Madison’s place. There’s an awkward silence. It’s very clear they were on a date. Kevin realizes that Madison is moving on and he can’t keep living in her garage. He shows up on Kate’s doorstep. Meanwhile, Randall heads to the shelter. David never shows up.
Kevin tells Kate that he’s going to take The Manny reboot. They talk about how Rebecca is really sick. Kevin thinks life is unfair. Heartbreak is on the horizon for them once again while the rest of the world continues on. “We have found the light before, big brother. And we’ll find it again,” Kate says to Kevin.
Rebecca, still angry with herself about her memory failing her, snaps at Nicky over Sally. She tells him to stop holding back and go see Sally. She even agrees to take a road trip with him.
A defeated Randall comes home and tells Beth that David didn’t show up. Beth comforts Randall on his birthday. Kate looks back at Philip’s special performance. She suddenly gets a text from Toby. He flew home on her birthday to surprise her. As the night ends, Rebecca finally remembers the name of the end of the train… caboose.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.