**Warning: This post contains spoilers, so if you haven鈥檛 watched the latest episode of This Is Us, stop reading!**

Each week since the start of This Is Us, we鈥檝e been getting flashbacks to early moments in the lives of the Pearson family, from Jack and Rebecca鈥檚 first meeting to the years of squabbles between three kids. Even though we鈥檝e already had an episode about the birth of the 鈥淏ig Three,鈥 (see: the pilot), this episode takes us back even further, before the actual birth but after the Froggy鈥檚 bathroom sex and sonogram reveal. What鈥檚 more, it鈥檚 an episode that, for the first time, is a complete prequel/flashback. It doesn鈥檛 toggle between the past and the present. It stays solely in the 1980s, which is good, because not only is there a lot of story to take in but emotions are running high in this episode, folks. Grab your tissue box and read along accordingly.

This is Us

JACK AND REBECCA

The episode takes us back to August 31, 1980: a day that hasn鈥檛 been seen since the premiere. A pregnant Jack and Rebecca are picking names for their baby and listening to Stevie Wonder. 鈥淚 love being pregnant,鈥 Rebecca says when she notices how big her breasts have become. 鈥淚 hate being pregnant,鈥 she decides later when she can鈥檛 go to the bathroom or put on shoes by herself. (I guess if you were waiting for three kids to come down the 鈥渨ater slide鈥 you鈥檇 be cranky too.) Anyway, Miguel calls Jack to wish him a happy birthday, because best friends always remember even when your wife forgets because she鈥檚 鈥済one to the darkside.鈥

Rebecca and Jack end up arguing, enough so that she basically throws him out of the house. 鈥淭hanks again for the bathroom sex at Froggy鈥檚, Jack!鈥 Rebecca yells as he leaves. When she looks at the calendar, she realizes she鈥檚 forgotten Jack鈥檚 birthday. Needless to say, Rebecca feels like absolute crap. And, of course, by the time she tries to get him back, Jack鈥檚 already gone. So Rebecca takes matters into her own hands (and feet, thanks to duct-taped flip-flops) and decides to cook him a birthday cake. Only problem is, they鈥檙e seriously low on everything cooking related, so she walks to the store. Honestly, given that she鈥檚 pregnant with THREE KIDS, just leaving the house to make the trek would have probably been enough.

Rebecca finds a store promising 鈥渓iquor and more,鈥 except the 鈥渕ore鈥 part isn鈥檛 really anything other than the barest amount of convenience store items. After exchanging some heated and hormonal words with the cashier, Rebecca breaks down and buys a banana muffin and some Twinkies. She is MAKING Jack a birthday cake, dammit! Oh yeah, she also buys him a Terrible Towel. This is important.

Miguel takes Jack to golf, and he鈥檚鈥 less than impressed. Jack may be the model husband, but he鈥檚 just not interested in golf. Or being away from his wife. He says as much, especially when the guys at the golf shop start ragging on him about how much he鈥檚 going to hate being around his wife when the triplets arrive. Can we ALL have husbands like Jack Pearson, please? Please? By the time Jack comes home, Rebecca has been talking to the babies like the epitome of a perfect mother, and we鈥檙e all reaching for the tissues. 鈥淚 can鈥檛 wait to make Halloween costumes with you,鈥 she says and we cry. Or maybe it鈥檚 the line 鈥淚鈥檓 probably not going to be the perfect mom you鈥檙e dreaming about鈥 that does it. You鈥檙e going to be perfect, Rebecca. In your own way. Of course, Jack manages to get this all on video, because he is literally the perfect husband. Ever.

JOE, THE HERO WE ALL DESERVE

One of my favorite things about This Is Us is that it鈥檚 able to show smaller, personal character beats that exist within this world without compromising its original story. For example, we didn鈥檛 know anything about the nameless guy who worked at the fire station, the one who brought Randall to the hospital during the premiere. In this episode, we pulled back the curtain on his life to find out his name is Joe (Brian Oblak), and he鈥檚 having trouble with his marriage, and nothing he does seems to help. At his wits end, he decides to go to confession, and asks for a miracle. He gets his miracle: A baby is left at the fire station, and we see a brief shot of young William walking away.

Joe

Joe brings the baby back to his wife and explains this is the miracle he asked for. They grew apart because they couldn鈥檛 have kids, and now, look! A wild baby appears, as if it鈥檚 been dropped out of the sky! But his wife is upset and says they can鈥檛 take the baby, and so a disappointed Joe brings the baby to the hospital.

Dr. K Saves The Day

And finally, we have the story of Dr. K (Gerald McRaney). In the premiere, we learned about how he lost his wife, Caroline, but this episode dove into his life even further by showing us how he was coping (spoiler alert: badly). He鈥檚 holding onto the past (literally and figuratively) and he can鈥檛 seem to let go, which is hurting him in a lot of ways. He turns down company, his son is worried about him and he鈥檚 talking to his wife half the time as if she鈥檚 still there. On the day that Rebecca goes into labor, he鈥檚 visiting his wife鈥檚 grave. He admits he doesn鈥檛 know how to keep going, and doesn鈥檛 know if he even wants to. (Reach for the tissues again.)

BIG THREE!

All of this brings us to the moment we were first introduced to the Pearsons in the premiere: Jack wearing his 鈥渂irthday suit鈥 and the Terrible Towel, because 鈥渢radition is tradition.鈥 And then we get a montage of everything we saw in the premiere, from Rebecca鈥檚 delivery, to Jack meeting Joe right after he drops off Randall, to Dr. K鈥檚 confession about his wife and subtle urging to take the third child to replace the one Rebecca lost. We do see the aftermath of the convo where Jack tells Rebecca what happened, and damn. That hurts.

Dr K

The end of the episode allows everyone to start over. Joe talks to his wife about what happened and starts over 鈥 literally. Dr. K moves on and throws out all of his wife鈥檚 stuff, and has dinner with a friend after all and starts over, in his own way. And the Big Three? They鈥檙e enjoying being a family. (And watching that video from their dad鈥檚 birthday.)

Next week, it looks like we鈥檙e back to the present day, which is good because I鈥檝e been seriously missing some grown-up Pearson time.

BITS & PIECES

  • How classic was it for Rebecca, already pissed off and hormonal but in a decent enough mood, to see a woman with a screaming child that immediately harshes her calm? It鈥檚 like every mother鈥檚 nightmare.
  • Tissue worthy moment: seeing Jack with the 鈥淲orld鈥檚 Best Dad鈥 mug, after remembering that Rebecca promised she would buy him lots of cheesy mugs. (#RelationshipGoals)
  • The first shot we got of Joe in this episode was him fiddling with his pack of cigarettes 鈥 iconic and subtle, considering that鈥檚 the shot that clued us in to the fact This Is Us was premiering in another time period in the first place. Never let it be said the writers aren鈥檛 smart.

What did you think of the episode? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via NBC)