As the present-day Pearson clan celebrated Kevin's (Justin Hartley) movie premiere — and Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) having an argument over biological children and adoption — post-war Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) fought for his mother to escape her abusive relationship with his father.
After leaving Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) driveway when he saw her kiss another man after their first date, Jack returns home to find his mother and father arguing. He tries to step up to her but his father lashes out at him — bringing up the war and how he wasn't there to save his brother.
Jack then forces his mother to leave the house and stay at a friends', as Rebecca and her ex-boyfriend discuss the possibility of getting back together and moving to New York.
In the present, Kevin is interviewed by special guest and NPR personality Terry Gross, who begins to spark his interest on his father's time in the war.
"Your father is a veteran. He served in Vietnam right?" Gross asked. "Were you able to draw on his experiences?"
"Not really. My father died when we were 17... so, no I really don't know much about what he did over there. I have a few photos, I have some letters, but I don't have much else," Kevin said.
"Did he see combat," she asked.
"No, he... well he could've actually. I don't know," Kevin said, as he remembered a moment in his childhood when his father was not pleased with him playing with toy guns and grenades.
"A lot of men of his generation found war too painful to talk about, except maybe with other vets," Gross said, as Kevin drifted off into thoughts of his father.
After the interview, Kevin tells Zoe he wonders how he could know so little about his father's time in Vietnam. He feels weird about not asking him questions about it.
Later, Kevin puts old photos and information on Vietnam. Zoe suggests that the two of them dig deeper and see if they can find what happened in those days, as the root is planted for the couple's upcoming trip to Vietnam.
As the episode draws to a close, Kevin email an army veteran to reach out about his dad. In the past, Rebecca finds Jack after she decides to leave behind her ex, and the couple bond as they clean dishes together as they wait for his mom to come back from a walk. Rebecca then invites Jack to go with her to Los Angeles and he says yes.
This Is Us' big Vietnam episode airs Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC