This is Us season 3, episode 11 recap: Songbird Road: Part One


This is Us gives audiences a big reveal – what causes the rift between Jack and his brother Nicky, who is still alive.

It’s almost 11 p.m., a good 45 minutes after this week’s episode of This is Us, and I’m still struggling how to set up this recap.

It wasn’t your typical episode flow. It was a flashback sequence and the present-day sequence running parallel, quite beautifully, if you ask me.

The only difference being the major reveal somewhere in the middle.

Read. This is Us season 3, episode 10 recap: The Last Seven Weeks. light

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While I wish I could write just as eloquently and seamlessly how the time weaved in and out of each other, it’s better that I divide this recap into two parts: the past and the present.

The Past

It’s 1992, and Jack has been receiving postcards at work from his brother, Nicky (Michael Angarano), for some time. Jack ignores every single one. But when Nicky sends one home, and it adorns the words, “Last one” on it, Jack can no longer ignore it.

So, Jack tells Rebecca he’s got to go away for work, but instead, travels 168 miles to Bradford, PA to see Nicky.

Jack approaches a tiny metal trailer in the middle of the woods. Nicky comes to the door. He looks a bit older, with scruff on his face and long stringy hair.

Jack asks, “How did you get my home address? You can’t write me at home.”
Nicky retorts, “ You drove all the way from Pittsburgh to tell me that?”
To which Jack replies, “That’s how much I mean it. Take care.”

This is where I think, please tell me that’s not it. But Nicky invites Jack in for a beer at first, but because Jack doesn’t drink, he offers Nesquik.

Their conversation starts out slow. Nicky told him how he had a house at first but gave it up for a smaller space. Nicky gives him pictures, the same pictures Kevin finds, from their time in Vietnam.

The brothers reminisce a bit, which breaks the tension and lightens the mood.

Nicky then tries to tell Jack the truth of what happened in Vietnam, but Jack cuts him off. He doesn’t want to hear it. He never gets to tell him the truth.

Right before Jack leaves, he shows Nicky a picture of his family and explains that he has a good life. Nicky seems happy about it until he snaps into something different and begins to get disoriented.

On his way home, Jack stops at a convenience store called “Bill’s Place.” As he leaves the parking lot, he’s faced with a sign that says Bradford 2 miles (left), Pittsburg 166 miles (right).

Jack turns right and never sees his brother again.

When he returns home, he comes clean to Rebecca, sort of. He tells her he lied and that he went to see someone he knew from Vietnam, someone he was close to. It’s the first time he talks about Vietnam since their first date.

When she offers support and suggests he see someone to talk about it, he cuts her off.

THIS IS US — “Songbird Road: Part One” Episode 311 — Pictured: Chrissy Metz as Kate — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The Present

Kevin tells Randall, Rebecca, and Kate (through video chat) that Nicky is alive. Kevin and Randall decide to take a road trip to see him. They want Rebecca and Kate to come with them so that they can be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Thelma and Louise. But Rebecca will stay behind to babysit Randall’s girls (since Beth has interviews to prepare for) and Kate is pregnant and doesn’t want to travel.

Luckily, Kate changes her mind and shows up right before they leave.

They arrive in Bradford and Nicky’s trailer. He will now be 70 if he’s even still alive.

They knock on his door. No answer.

When they turn around, Nicky (Griffin Dunne) is standing there. He’s noticeably older but seems to be in the same clothes as he was during his and Jack’s meeting.

They introduce themselves as Jack’s kids. They tell him he died in 1998.

No reaction.

He opens the door to his trailer and goes in. “Are you coming in or not?”

Obviously, they go in.

At first, their encounter is awkward.

He asks how Jack died, and their answer seems to upset them, and he asks them to leave. But Kate, speaking for the Big 3, refuses to go, saying Kevin traveled across the world looking for answers and it led them to him.
“Yup, you’re his kids, alright.”

He begins to recount the story that we already knew, so I won’t repeat any of that.

But we finally find out what caused the schism between the two.

Nicky wakes up to find a little Vietnamese boy standing over him. It’s the same boy Jack helps in Episode 9.

Nicky and the boy have a cute exchange, which leads him to invite him out on a boat to go fishing. But Nicky’s version of fishing involves grenades.

He takes a grenade, pulls the pin and throws it into the water. After it goes off, a bunch of fish float to the top of the water. Nicky and the boy gather the fish and put them in a basket.

It’s a bit messed up because it’s grenades! Hello? But I think Nicky was actually trying to be a normal person here. I don’t think he was on drugs in the scene, but his judgment was definitely off.

They move to another spot in the water. Nicky again takes another grenade and pulls out the pin, only this time it won’t come out. The little boy tries to grab it to do it himself, and Nicky yells at him to stop. The pin drops out, but he also drops the grenade into the puddle at the bottom of the boat.

Nicky can’t find it. He panics and jumps out of the boat, leaving the little boy in it.

Jack hears the explosion and runs toward the water, realizing Nicky was in the boat. When he reaches Nicky and realizing the boy was dead, Jack is horrified at his brother. He thinks Nicky did it on purpose.

“I’m done,” Jack says.

Nicky is haunted every day by what happened in Vietnam. What’s more, he never got to tell Jack the truth, which he has been thinking about for over 40 years.

He tells the Big 3 that their father only saw things in black and white and that once he decided he was done with Nicky, he was done. He moved on.

What Nicky didn’t know is that Jack almost went back to his brother’s trailer when he stopped at that convenience store. We saw Jack’s struggle as he once again gave up on his brother.

But when the Big 3 stopped at that same convenience store, Kevin decides that they can’t leave Nicky there and go back for him.

When they arrive, I honestly thought they were going to find him dead. But they saw him sitting at his kitchen table, with a gun on the table, repeating, “I didn’t tell him.”

Next. Inside the This is Us fall finale shocker. dark

It was a great episode of This Is Us, one of the best. I know some people like to read recaps first, but I urge you to watch this one. It flowed in such a poetic way; I’m not sure this recap can even do it justice.

Since this was a part 1, I can’t wait to see how part 2 plays out with Nicky meeting Rebecca.

Read last week’s recap.

Watch This is Us anytime.