03x11 - Songbird Road: Part 1

Previously on This Is Us...

NICKY: You can be nice to them all you want, Jack.

But they're not just women and children.

They're the enemy.

I had a brother... he died in the war.

I went to a database for the war memorial.

Nicholas Pearson, he might be dead, but he didn't die here in Vietnam.

"Jack, last one. C.K."

KEVIN: My dad knew he was alive.

Well, there's a return address.

Bradford, Pennsylvania. You think he's still there?

♪ ♪


Thanks, Ken.

♪ ♪


- I call the TV.
- No, no, no, no.

- JACK: Hey.

- What?
- Uh, no, no, no. Homework first.

- No TV.
- What about her?

- I finished.
- JACK: Hey, guys, come on.

Gear up in your rooms, and then do greater Pittsburgh

- a favor and shower, please.
- Hi.


Thank you for picking them up from practice.

Yeah. Yeah, I'm here to serve.



Hey, so I got to go out of town for work tomorrow.

- On a Saturday?
- Yeah.

We've got a... a lumberyard we're contracting up in Trenton.

It's kind of important that I'm there.

- Okay.
- Okay.

I'm gonna go upstairs and change.

I'll be right back down.

♪ ♪

KATE (ON COMPUTER): Wait. You're saying our uncle is still alive?

Okay, that can't be true.

Nicky died in Vietnam.

Randall, didn't you and Dad visit the memorial in high school?

Wasn't his brother's name on the wall?

He said it was too hard for him.

- KATE: Mom.
- I-I'm just hearing all this for the first time, too.

Well, maybe Dad, uh, maybe he didn't know.

- Maybe he just was...
- KEVIN: He knew.

He knew. I found a postcard that Nicky sent him.

It was dated .


Mind completely blown.

I know this is really hard for everyone to hear because it means...

- well, Dad wasn't telling us the...

Bradford is a six-hour drive from here.

I don't have a phone number, but I have an address.

And guess what. As of , there was a Nicholas Pearson living there.

- Randall.

Whoever wants to come on this trip with me,

- you're more than welcome.
- RANDALL: All right.

I'm not getting sworn in for another eight weeks.

Beth has a bunch of job interviews coming up.

As long as I can get somebody to watch the girls, I'm in.

(GRUNTS) Yes, he's in. Okay.

Mom? Kate?

You want to join our, uh, our little road movie?

It'll be fun. It'll be like Butch and Sundance and Thelma and Louise.

A-And you can pick whatever character you want; doesn't matter to me.

I'm not locked into one in particular.

I'm totally fluid on that.

- (QUIETLY): I'm Sundance. Yeah.
- I know you are. Yeah.

No. But I will,

I will watch the girls for you, okay?


You know what? I... I can't.

I'm , miles away and I'm pregnant.

Kate, Dad's brother may be alive.

Don't you want to know who he is?

Guys, I'm out. Gotta go.

- You know what that means.
- Hmm?

Butch and Sundan...

♪ ♪

Hey, baby, have you seen my cashmere heather V?

The one that goes perfectly with my uncle-hunter jeans?

What's wrong?

Uh, everything about that sentence, baby.

- Ah.
- But, um, also, feeling kind of nervous about these interviews tomorrow.

You're nervous? Child, please.

If anything, those companies should be nervous to meet you.

Because one of them is about to win the Beth Pearson lottery.

Why would they be nervous to win the Beth Pearson lottery?

I don't know.
It sounded cuter in my head.

Uh, job interview pep talk, take two.

Beth Pearson, you are the ultimate prize hire.

You're gonna walk into those firms tomorrow with your brilliant-ass mind and that impressive-ass ambition and those spiky-ass heels, and they gonna be like, "Beth Pearson, what we got
to do to get your actual ass in this building, Beth Pearson?"

And, yes, I emphasize the Beth Pearson, because it's more than just a name, it is an attitude.

An attitude that screams, "You know you want to hire me."

All right, I like take two better.

Thank you very much.

Your mom and Miguel are gonna stay over, right?

Because I am going to go to dinner with Zoe to blow off some post-interview steam.

And by dinner I mean Scotch.

Yeah, they're in.

What about you?

You stressed about what could happen when you meet your long lost uncle?

Honestly, I'm more stressed about what's gonna happen if we don't meet him.

Babe, when I was looking for William, the only thing I could think about was what I was gonna find if I ever got to knock on his door.

Like, would he look like me?

Would he hug me?

Would he slam the door in my face?

But the worst version I could ever imagine is what would happen if no one ever answered the door.

And I think that's what's gonna happen to Kevin.

- So I got to be there for him.

Well, well.

- Look at that.
- What?

KEVIN: There she is.

Sibling road trip, here we go.

Thelma's in the house.

- Get my bag for me.
- For the road.

- Oh.
- Turkey and roast beef on pimento and an apple.

God, I love your lunches. Bye-bye.

♪ It ain't no use to sit and wonder why ♪

Regulators, let's ride.

- ♪ If you don't know by now ♪
- Thanks, Mom.

All right. I'll be back before you guys know it.

- Bye, Dad.
- You're gonna be in time

- for my game tomorrow, right?
- Yes, I will. I will be there.

REBECCA: He's only going to Trenton.

♪ It'll never do somehow ♪

- Where's your brother?
- In there.

JACK: Hey, Kev, you re not gonna say good-bye?


♪ Look out your window and I'll be gone ♪

♪ You're the reason I'm travelin' on ♪

♪ Well, don't think twice ♪

♪ It's all right ♪


♪ Ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe ♪

♪ The light I never knowed ♪

Love you.

♪ Ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe ♪

Dried apricots, as you like.

♪ I'm on the dark side of the road ♪

♪ But I wish there was something you would do or say ♪

♪ To try and make me change my mind and stay ♪

♪ We never did too much talkin', anyway ♪

♪ Don't think twice, it's all right. ♪

This is... crazy. Right?

I mean, months and months of searching, and here we are, huh?

Road trippin'! The Big Three, about ready to unlock the great mystery of our uncle.

I'm gonna need to pee soon.

Pee? We've been on...

It's like and a half minutes we've been driving.

Okay, well, I'm pregnant, and I pee a lot, so you just have to deal with it.

I've got road trip snacks available whenever anybody wants them.

Lots of nuts and seeds, many pitted fruits.

- I'm good.
- Randall?


You give away pennies on Halloween, don't you?

- Be honest with me.

- Full-size candy bars, for the record.
- Yeah?

- Yeah. Only house on the block.
- Tell the truth, it's raisins.

- It's healthy raisins.
- Handful of raisins.


You know, remember, I live in a house with four very willful and opinionated women, so I'm impervious to your mocking.

So, how old would Dad's brother be now?


I wonder why Dad told us his brother was dead.

- I don't know.
- Mm.

But we re about to embark on some Shakespearean-level tragedy, I'm afraid.

How are you so... cool about this?

Dad basically lied to us his entire life, a-and it doesn't freak you out?
- Not really.

When you find out your mom's been lying to you about your birth father for years, not much can rattle you after that.

I think this is really rocking Mom's world to hear all this stuff about Dad.

ANNIE: That smells so good.

Do you think Dad will bring Nicky home, like he brought home Grandpa William?


No, I don't think so, honey.

He sure likes bringing people home, though. Just sayin'.


Hey, Tess, hit me with some chocolate chips, would you?

Here you go. Excuse me.

Is Grandma okay?

Yeah, Grandma's just a little tired.

All right, let's get this dough going in the oven before I eat that raw. Teaspoon.

♪ ♪


I'm going to live in a big house on a lake someday.

It's gonna have a dock for my boat.

Oh, yeah?

I think you got to be rich to have a house and a boat on a lake.

I will be. I'm going to be a doctor.

Maybe a surgeon.

JACK: You're smart enough.

Floyd Morton's dad is a surgeon, and he's pretty rich.

I need to get really rich, though, not pretty rich.

Dang, Nicky.

How many boats do you need?

Just one.

Two houses, though.

Big ol' houses on a big ol' lake.

YOUNG NICKY: Big ol' houses on a big ol' lake.

♪ ♪

Well, we doing this or not?

How'd you get my home address?

Come on.

I don't think he's there, Sundance.

Yeah. Kev, hey, we tried.

Okay? It wasn't meant to be.

And we should go, cause I have to pee.

JACK: You can't write me at home.

Got it?


You drove all the way from Pittsburgh to tell me that?

That's how much I mean it.


Take care.

Oh, really? Wonderful.
You're breaking in?

I'm not breaking in. I'm trying to see if anyone lives here.

NICKY: Somebody does.

Nicholas Pearson?


I'm Kevin Pearson.

I'm, uh...

I'm Jack Pearson's son.

You want a beer?

I don't drink anymore.

I got Nesquik.

Jack know you're here?

He's dead.


When did he pass?




You coming in or not?


I got some Fritos, also, if you re hungry.

No, I'm...

That ll be fine.


You know,

I had a house once.

But this is better.

It's much more manageable.


I, uh, have something for you.



I thought maybe you'd want them.

Good men.


It's a bad habit.

One of many.

Mm. Jesus.

Nicky, how do you screw up chocolate milk?


Well, it can't be as bad as Mom's chili lasagna.



Remember when we tried feeding it to Mrs. Atkins' collie?

Oh, yeah. Even Ms. Atkins' collie didn't want to eat that crap.

No. (LAUGHS): Yeah.





You diabetic?

My brother's adopted.

It's true.

Explains why he's black.

That's also true.

Our dad told us you died in Vietnam.


Seems you didn't.


Oh, come on.


Sir, I know this may be hard to talk about, but do you have any idea why he might have told us that?



You wasted your time coming here.

Just... please, leave.


Sir, I didn't want to come here.

And I didn't want to... find out these answers, but...

my brother literally traveled around the world and back to learn about our dad, and it's led him here.

So we re not going anywhere.



You're Jack's kids, all right.

(SIGHS) I got drafted.

Your father enlisted to look for me.

I was a medic who sampled his own inventory.

I mean, I sampled a lot of stuff.

I mean, whatever junk came my way.

I, um...

I hated the war.


I hated myself.

And your father tried to clean me up. (SCOFFS)

It didn't work.

Finally, they, um, pulled me out of there for, uh, psychiatric reasons.

You know, some get homesick.

I got war-sick.


Then why did Dad tell us you died there?

He should never have come for me.

He should never have come for me.

♪ ♪













Hey. No.





Cam on, chú.

Không có chi.

Let's go fishing.


I think we found our spot.
What do you think?

Let's go fishing, huh?

All right, now, see this?

Secret weapon.

Uh-huh. See?




Watch this.

Watch out.


Holy mackerel.


All right!

- Come to Papa, baby.

Oh, yeah, we did good.



It's bigger than you.



What do you think?

Pretty good, right?
Go ahead. Toss him in.

Oh, yeah.

Dinner. Beautiful.

Toss him in. Oh!

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Oh! Oh, oh, oh! There you go.

There he is. Toss him in.

I think we re good.

What do you think, should we go find another spot?

All right, Captain. Whatever you say.

(SIGHS) Plenty more where that came from, huh?

Okay. I like this spot, too.

What do you think?

I think so. I feel it here.



Oh, come on.

No, no, no, no, no. No, no.

No, no, no, no, no, no.
No, no, no, no, no.

No, no, no!

Watch out.

Watch out! Get-get off the boat!

Get off the boat! Get off the boat!

Off the boat! Off the boat!



- Murillo, what happened?
- A boat exploded.

I think one of our guys was on it.




Lanh. Lanh?

Lanh? Lanh?!


Let's go. Go!




What did you do, huh?! What did you do?!

What did you do, Nicky?

He was just a kid.

He was just a kid.

I'm done! I'm done!

Lanh! Lanh!

(SOBBING): Lanh!


I'm sorry.


Shrinks will get his head on straight, Sarge.

Murillo, Boone, you guys are on the wire.

Murphy, Townie, the rest of you gear up.

We're out at .

I never got to, um...


I never got to tell him.

I never got to tell him.

Then we built the curved snowbank so we'd have a bobsled turn.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, except the sled went straight through the snowbank and almost onto the Bellarmine Parkway.

So much for the Squaw Valley Olympics.

- Yeah.

- Jack...
- No. Nicky, no.

No, I... I don't want to go back there.

I want to leave that right where it is.

You don't have to talk. Just... listen.

I've relived that day so many times in my head.

I-I-I didn't mean for that boy...

- Nicky...
- Just let me say...

Just stop, stop. I'm begging you, stop.

Okay? No more.

And-and stop... stop sending letters to my house.

I've got a wife and a family.
I moved on.

I wish I was wired differently, but I'm not. Okay?

I-I can't just turn back.

It's good to see you, Nick.

Did I ruin your life?

No, Nicky, I...

I have a good life.



Your wife is beautiful.

Yes, she is.

Her name is Rebecca.

And that's Kate, Kevin and Randall.

- Randall is a different color.
- Yes, he is.

He found me.


You have a nice house.

So... yeah.

I won't... I won't write you anymore.

You can go.

- Nicky, I...
- Just go.


You know, and the women... the Vietnamese women...

um... when they, uh... lost someone during that war, they'd collapse.

It's like their-their bones were being pulled from their body.

And, like... they'd fold into...

someplace in themselves, and, um, squat down and just wail.

You'd just hear it, you know, over and over and over.

Pure grief.

Yeah. My, uh... my memory of the war...

it fades a little bit every day.

Except for that mother's face.

She's with me, wailing.


I worry that that's gonna be the last damn thing I remember when my time comes.

You know, your old man... he saw everything in black and white, no gray.

It's... it's why he had two lives.

Uh, the one before I ruined everything.

The one after.

And he... he walked away from the first life.


And once Jack picked a direction, he never changed course.


You know, he put the war behind him, and he never looked back.

I wasn't so lucky.


How did he die?



There was a fire.

He got us out, but he had a heart attack from smoke inhalation.

(QUIETLY): Oh, damn.


You know, I'm feeling a little worn down from all this reliving of these happy memories, so, um... I think I'm just gonna call it a day.

- Sir...
- I'm going to call it a day, son.



How was it?

Bec, I didn't tell you the truth about where I went today.


I went to go see someone, um, someone that I'd known from the war.

He'd been having a rough go of things lately, and... m-mostly because of something bad that happened there.

Something he did.

Um... and,

well, we used to be close.

And then we had a falling out because of that.

And he reached out, and I decided to go see him.

Well, did it help?

Yeah. A little.

Maybe? I don't know.

You know, there are people that you can talk to...

I'm gonna go clean up.

Can't tell you how good it is to be home.



Kids are getting ready for bed, but I think after consuming chocolate chip cookies, they're not gonna sleep for a week.

They found him.

Jack's brother.


I never thought Th... Well, tell me.

I-I, I don't know, they just texted that they found him.

Details to follow.

You okay?

Could I have done more?

You tried, Rebecca.

No... (SIGHS)

When Jack first got back from Vietnam, I understand why I respected his privacy.

The wounds were fresh.

But all those years later, why?

Why didn't I ask him more?

You know, Jack was my closest friend, for over years, but I didn't know him completely.

Not the stuff from before.

I think that there was a darkness inside of him.

I think that he was afraid.

You know, if that darkness got out, then, it might swallow up the light that he got from you.

From the kids.

And make no mistake: you and the kids were everything.

I used to love that answer.

'Cause I wanted to believe it.

But now?

I want the truth.

(SIGHS) Okay.

I got real road snacks.

I got SweeTarts, protein bars, jerky, smoked almonds, sodas and Ding effing Dongs.

Now, leave me be. Kate, did you urinate?

- Yes.
- Kevin, you break it, you bought it.

- What's wrong?
- I want to go with you.

I like you better than all of them.

Well, you shouldn't, because they're pretty great.

And trust me, there's plenty your old man gets wrong.

- Yeah, right.
- No, I do.

Hey, look, y-you got to watch out for that, bud, because a-a kid can either repeat the mistakes of his old man, or he corrects them.

It's hard to explain, but, uh...

Hey, chip in. Help your mom.

That's no way to live, huh?

All messed up, living alone for -some-odd years in a leaky sardine can?

I can't leave him like Dad did.

♪ ♪

KEVIN: Nicky?


Everything okay in here? You all right?

I never got to tell him...

...it was an accident.