This Is Us posed some interesting questions in its Season 3 opener, and like many other fans, we're determined to figure out the answers behind them before they're officially revealed. Luckily, there's been some chatter from the cast, crew, and also some fans with pretty interesting theories that help clear up the confused state the drama's first episode left many in. With that said, here's what we know so far about This Is Us' big Season 3 mysteries:
Rebecca's Man Before Jack
Although Jack and Rebecca Pearson's first date was not a smooth moment for the future husband and wife, even a less than ideal night didn't stop the two from locking lips before Rebecca hustled out of the car without an item that Jack would need to return the next day. Rebecca answered the door thar following day seemingly expecting Jack but was instead met by a man we've never seen before. The young mystery man seemed to know Rebecca well enough to bring flowers and steal a kiss of his own, as Jack watched from the car rethinking his decision to go to her doorstep. Mandy Moore is already aware what This Is Us fans are thinking about this new development, and reminding them to chill out before jumping to conclusions:
You don't know who he is yet! I mean you can be dubious. You can be curious, but hate is such a strong word.
Mandy Moore is right! This Is Us fans shouldn't assume this new man is Rebecca's betrothed she was sneaking out on the night before. This could be an ex-boyfriend hoping to reconcile, or even an overly familiar cousin! That said, Milo Ventimiglia was a bit less cryptic in his statements following the episode, and indicated in a Q&A following the episode (via TVGuide) things might be exactly like viewers thought they were:
I love the fact that you know Jack and Rebecca, you're rooting for Jack and Rebecca, but Jack and Rebecca took a while to get there. They were very different people in their younger years than how we've known them as a unit... I think it's fun to see that it wasn't easy. It wasn't always sunshine and rainbows.
Milo Ventimiglia seemed to hint it's going to take a whlie before Jack and Rebecca's fated romance comes together, but that shouldn't be too big of a problem. After all, This Is Us fans already know they eventually get together right? If anything, this guy should be labeled a hero for attempting to save Jack from his completely preventable death! Taking that into consideration, he might not be that bad of a guy after all.
Future Storyline Brings In Old Man Toby
The plot thickened in This Is Us' future storyline when Randall rung up Toby to see if he was going to come down and see "her." Toby was seen alone in the room and without his wedding ring, calling into question the future state of his relationship with Kate. Executive producer Isaac Aptaker didn't reveal if "her" was going to be Kate or not, but did tell EW Toby's scene was specifically constructed so that viewers would ask certain questions:
We knew it was going to be Toby, but how much do we want to show about his life? And what's that right little moment to give people just enough of a window to be asking the right questions? And we just decided that him in a well-made bed without someone else there just feels so empty --- that was the right amount of a tease we wanted to give.
Aptaker's quote appears to mean that fans were supposed to question why Toby and Kate aren't together but didn't necessarily say if that plays into the "her" storyline. Some have speculated the two split and that Kate is who everyone is going to see, although with this seemingly being a Pearson family affair, it's just as likely Toby might not want to reunite with his ex-wife who could be there. There's also the grim reality that Kate may be dead, and Randall is the Pearson who thought to invite his widowed brother-in-law to this event. Coincidentally enough, Chris Sullivan mentioned to EW feeling relief his character hadn't died in the future, which could mean that's a definite possibility for Kate or others:
Thank god I survived to old age. He's an old Toby, so we now know he's in the future timeline. I was surprised.
Old Toby means an even older Rebecca, so perhaps the Pearsons are headed to pay final respects to her before she passes on? We almost certainly won't get that answer from the cast anytime soon, but creator Dan Fogelman has assured many answers will come before the season's end.
What Does NFL Legend Franco Harris Have To Do With Anything?
Franco Harris was the subject of one of This Is Us' most confusing stories to date, as the Season 3 premiere spent a good deal of time dramatizing the "immaculate reception" catch of former Steelers player. Not only that, the series played the actual footage of the NFL football game he made the play, which is typically pretty costly. It's almost certainly too costly for a one-off story that does little than warm the hearts of Steelers fans and Pittsburgh residents, so the internet is hard at work trying to find the Pearson connection to Harris and how he may be referenced later on. Right now the most popular speculation is that he's someone's relative:
Other fans are convinced the storyline was simply a metaphor for Jack's upcoming battle to win the heart of Rebecca over this assumed rival. This Is Us did have a sports commentator talking on the radio about improbable odds while Jack stared at the couple kissing, but as previously mentioned, why would the show potentially pay so much to air the actual play? It really makes one thing Harris has a bigger role in Season 3 of This Is Us than anyone is ready to talk about, which might be why the cast and crew aren't saying much about it.