Justin Hartley chatted with Entertainment Weekly’s Quick Binge and shared the top 4 episodes of This Is Us he thinks you should watch.
You might have a bit more time on your hands to finally start watching the shows you never got around to watching. Once you’ve finished binge-watching Tiger King, it may seem like there’s nothing else you could watch; however, if you’re new to This Is Us, you’ve got plenty of episodes to binge!
If you’re hesitant to get invested though This Is Us star Justin Hartley shared with Entertainment Weekly four episodes that he believes will get viewers hooked.
Spoiler: This post contains details from This Is Us seasons 1-4.
“Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1): According to Hartley, the best place to start is at the beginning because:
“[…] If you don’t watch the pilot, you’re not going to know what the hell you’re watching.”
I agree, and the pilot is phenomenal. It juggles four main storylines with five main characters and engages the audience the entire way.
- Jack and Rebecca Pearson are expecting triplets but lose one of the babies during birth.
- Kate Pearson, an overweight personal assistant, and Kevin Pearson, an unfulfilled sitcom actor, are a brother and sister living in Los Angeles. When Kevin leaves his successful sitcom, he must decide his next career move. Meanwhile, Kate begins her weight-loss journey.
- Randall Pearson, a successful weather salesman, locates his biological father, William. When he finds out that William is dying, Randall invites him to move in with him and his family.
It’s a must-watch episode because it allows you to fully understand where these characters are in their lives and how they’re connected when the series begins. Without that understanding, I don’t believe watching their journey is as rewarding.
Next, Hartley suggested that new viewers watch the This Is Us Season 4 trilogy “A Hell of a Week.”
“A Hell of a Week: Part 1” (Season 4, Episode 11): The first episode in the trilogy follows Randall. As a toddler, Jack tells him that he needs to learn how to resolve issues on his own. From there, we watch Randall struggle in college with stress-induced nightmares, and in the present, as he tries to keep it together amid mounting professional and personal life pressure.
“A Hell of a Week: Part 2” (Season 4, Episode 12): The second episode in the trilogy follows Kevin. As a toddler, he has trouble sleeping without a mobile that Rebecca has donated to Goodwill. Jack tells him that he’ll soon find something he loves just as much, a sentiment which rings true as we see Kevin marry and, in the present, reunite with his high school sweetheart.
“A Hell of a Week: Part 3” (Season 4, Episode 13): The final episode in the trilogy follows Kate. As a toddler, Jack helps her tell a story to help her fall asleep. As a teenager, Kate finds herself in an abusive relationship and, as an adult, finds her marriage on the rocks.
Hartley recommends the trilogy because he says that:
“That’s the three kids and you kind of get their story and their life going forward.”
While the trilogy examines facets of The Big Three’s personalities, that must be acknowledged to understand their Season 4 story arcs; I do not believe that the trilogy provides a satisfactory examination of The Big Three in general.
I watch This Is Us to see what drives the characters. I want to see how they’re influenced by others and the things that happen to them. As a result, I think there are episodes that explore the characters’ motivations and relations better.
So, here are three of my favorite episodes:
“The Best Washing Machine in the World” (Season 1, Episode 7): This Season 1 episode examines the relationship between Randall and Kevin. When the series starts, the brothers are nowhere near as close as they are in Season 4. There’s a palpable tension between them born out of childhood jealousy that comes to a head on the streets of New York City.
If the plot of this episode sounds familiar, it’s because it’s much like its Season 4, Episode 16 spiritual successor, although the stakes in “The Best Washing Machine in the World” are much lower.
“Three Sentences” (Season 1, Episode 13): In this episode, we learn a little more about each of The Big Three. At “fat camp,” Kate lets out long-held anger regarding Jack’s death. After a lecture from Toby, Kevin professes his love for his high school sweetheart and ex-wife Sophie, and Randall runs himself ragged going to get great lengths to satisfy work and home life responsibilities.
“Super Bowl Sunday” (Season 2, Episode 14): A This Is Us binge-watch isn’t complete without watching arguably the most important episode in the show’s history. Once Jack is gone, The Big Three are living in a post-Jack world, and the effects of grief from then on are evident.
If you get through these seven episodes and are itching for more, you can catch up on the show via Hulu or the NBC app.
This Is Us is tentatively set to return for Season 5 this fall on NBC.