Image Source: NBC
Warning: spoilers for the Fall finale of This Is Us ahead.
Well, well, well, This Is Us fans, it looks like we finally are getting some answers. After theorizing what happened with Jack and Nicky in Vietnam and the possibility that papa Pearson's brother is actually alive, the Fall midseason finale delivered: Nicky is alive and living in Pennsylvania! Throughout the series, Jack has been adamant that his brother died in the war, but while travelling to Vietnam for answers, Kevin learns that his uncle actually didn't die while serving. When Jack says his brother "died," it's probable he means the person he knew as his little brother no longer existed, but it's strange to think Jack knew his brother was physically alive all this time and kept it a secret.
The last we see of Jack and Nicky in Asia, Nicky sets off an explosive on a boat and Jack is shocked, diving into the water to save him. Actor Michael Angarano (who portrays Nicky) explained what the saddest part of all of this is, and it could possibly change everything we thought about Jack Pearson. "What Jack does know is that he was too late," Angarano told Entertainment Weekly. "And that where Nicky was when Jack found him was in a really dismal state. I think the hopelessness Jack talks about is his own inability to help his younger brother. Jack is somebody who we know is able to help people. So that inability to save or help his brother is the tragedy of it all."
It's clear that both Pearson brothers carry so much guilt surrounding the war, but Angarano said we're "going to find an answer very soon" about why Nicky didn't have contact with his brother after all those years. The real question is: why didn't Jack acknowledge his brother was actually alive after the war? Did they have contact with each other? Series creator Dan Fogelman says "anything is possible."
"It's not quite mourning as much as: What happened and what has Jack been hiding, and why?" Fogelman told EW. "Psychologically it's a big part of what we get into in the back half of the season pretty quickly. Which is, not just what happened, not just where is and what happened to Nicky, but also, what was going on with Jack all of this time? What did Jack know — or not know? And then, the last component of it is: In the present day, as some stuff starts coming to light to their family, what is the reaction of family members who learn that something might have been kept from them for a very long time?"
While we'll have to wait until 2019 to find out how Nicky's present-day story unfolds, Fogelman nailed it when he said that a family reunion would be "intense."