'This Is Us' Season 4 Premiere Introduces Many New Characters, and Fans Were Confused

This Is Us returned for Season 4 with Jack and Rebecca Pearson, as well as a lot of new characters. The stories introduced in the premiere all eventually intertwined and connected to the Pearson clan but left fans confused as they attempted to figure out how all the new characters were connected to one another. Staying true to the NBC drama's twisty storytelling, the final moments of the episode dropped an emotional bomb of answers that left fans in tears once again.

Spoilers ahead for This Is Us Season 4 Premiere: "Strangers"

The season premiere introduced a mix of new characters, as it also focused on Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) having dinner with her parents for the first time since their trip to Los Angeles together when they first started seeing each other.

As Rebecca marveled how strangers can become so important, the show gave glimpses at the new characters at different points in time and space. Rebecca and Jack then say goodbye with a tender kiss. Despite saying he would not be the one to call first, Jack calls asks Rebecca out again, but she is supposed to have dinner with the parents. He agrees to be there, despite not knowing what he is in for with her difficult family.

The show then introduces Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison), an army soldier, as she Skypes with her husband (Nick Weschler). She apologizes for not calling and says she misses them and can't wait to return to him for breakfast for dinner. A commanding officer calls for her, and she has to hang up. Cassidy's storyline in the premiere involves her dealing with getting intel for a mission in the Middle East.

Viewers then meet another new character who is blind and trying to get breakfast at a diner. We also meet a new character Malik (Asante Blackk) who is hanging with friends and obsessing over girls before delivering a burger to his mom at their house. He then says hello to a baby in its crib, who is revealed to be his.

The blind man later has a conversation with one of the waitresses and he decides to stay for another cup of coffee after touching her hand. Malik wakes up the next morning to news he is not allowed to go to a friend's event because he has to stay home to take care of the baby.

When he gets home, the blind man starts to play a song. A montage then starts of Cassidy returning home to a party welcoming her back from duty to her husband and son. She is then seen struggling with day-to-day life. The man's life also moves forward as his relationship with the waitress grows until they move in together. It then shows him proposing to her at their apartment.

Malik, who is revealed to work in a car shop wit his dad, is then seen talking to another man and saying he wants to get in a better business to support his daughter. The man says he'll call him when he's older.

Later, Cassidy is revealed to be struggling with drinking after coming back home. The distance creates tension between the married couple. An argument leads to a PTSD moment where she accidentally hits her son in the face. She is then seen filling out a form while in an office asking for help

The blind man and the waitress (Lucy) are then seen in a car, in the moment where she tells him she's pregnant. They worry about how they will handle the future, but seal the happy moment with a kiss.

Cassidy opens up about her trauma in a support group and admits she was triggered when she heard that the cost of a water heater equals the cost of a person in the Middle East. The meeting is interrupted when Nicky (Jack's brother) throws a brick on them but doesn't hurt anyone. The show then shifts to the Pearsons preparing for the Big 3's birthday celebration. Kevin has to go pick up Nicky after what he did, leaving room for Cassidy and Kevin to meet.

Malik goes to the barbecue and meets Randall and Beth's daughter Deja, who just moved there for Randall's new job, and they start flirting almost immediately. The show finally reveals the blind man is Jack — Kate and Toby's son — when he and his wife arrive at an event where he is performing for a sold out stadium tour.

The show did revisit the main characters when it showed Jack meeting Miguel (Jon Huertas) for the first time when he helped him pick a jacket before the big dinner.

Viewers also got to see the dinner, which did not go well as Rebecca's parents seemed to only want to talk about Vietnam or Jack's financial situation. After the dinner, Rebecca's dad proves to be the worst when he says he will do anything he can to stop their relationship.

Ahead of the game-changing episode, series creator Dan Fogelman described the season opener as "ambitious and unusual" and unlike anything fans were expecting.


"I'm quite proud of our team for what they’ve pulled off, but also curious to see the response and reaction from our audience," he told TVLine earlier this month. "I trust our fans to trust us, and to enjoy the challenge of a very ambitious and unusual first episode back."

What did you think of the beloved series' return? This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.