This is Us season 3, episode 12 recap: Songbird Road: Part Two


After a two-week hiatus, our beloved This is Us returned for the second half of our introduction to Uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne).

This is Us returned this week! To refresh your noggin, Kevin, Kate, and Randall find their long-lost uncle, after thinking he died in Vietnam, living in a dilapidated trailer somewhere in the woods outside of Pittsburgh. They ultimately save him from a possible suicide, bring him to their hotel to stay.

“Songbird Road: Part Two” picks up where Part One left off.

The entire episode was a delicate dance between the Pearson kids and their estranged uncle. They have tons of questions, none he is willing to answer. Nicky is uncomfortable being out of his trailer and in the real world. And the kids are clearly uncomfortable, not knowing how to handle it.

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At the crux of it all is Kevin, who has invested the most time in this adventure, and probably claims the most responsibility for his uncle. When Randall and Kate break the news that they have to go home, Kevin takes on the task of getting him to go to a Veterans’ hospital.

Luckily, he won’t have to do it alone, because Rebecca shows up.

The show’s flashback correlates an experience a day in 1992, the day after jack visits his brother, and Kevin and Rebecca’s experience now.

Young Kevin wants to get his John Smiley rookie card signed by him at a sports collectibles store before Smiley is traded. They stand in line for hours, and Rebecca gets hungry and tries to make Kevin leave to get lunch. He refuses, so she lets him stay on the condition he doesn’t leave.

When she returns, Kevin is talking with Smiley for a while. Kevin won’t tell her what the conversation was about, but she waits until he runs to the bathroom so that she can ask Smiley herself.

It turns out, Kevin took out a travel book on Minnesota from the library and learned about the best places to fish and play pool. On Smiley’s rookie card, those are the hobbies listed. Kevin told Smiley that he just wanted him to be happy if he was traded to the Twins.

By the way, if you were wondering, Smiley gets traded to the Twins. And the guy that plays him on the show (Troy Doherty) looks identical to the real guy!

Rebecca’s explains this personality aspect to Nicky after he all but refuses Kevin’s help. Kevin appears to be a tough guy, but inside he’s just a sensitive little boy.

In the end, Nicky tells Kevin he will visit the VA hospital and go to a meeting or two. And Nicky also tells Rebecca a story from when he and Jack were little.

Unfortunately, Kevin made an error in judgement through his frustrations. As Rebecca tells him how proud of she is of him, we see that while Kevin was back in Nicky’s trailer alone to try and clean things up, he finished off a bottle of whiskey. This relapse will play out in the future episodes, I’m sure.

After Randall and Kate leave, they decide to stop by their childhood street. Of course, their house no longer stands (destroyed by a fire), but they decide to knock on the door anyway.

The house drudges up memories of the same day in 1992 when Jack stayed home with Randall and Kate.

Kate remembers it as the greatest day, they had a sequins fight and invented the greatest pizza ever. But Randall remembers Jack being somber and aloof that day. He remembers Jack getting mad about the mess and threw a plate and the pizza against the wall.

But Kate remembers the “after” of the plate incident when Rebecca and Kevin come home, and they all have a sequins fight and eat the best pizza ever.

It’s all about perspective. It makes me wonder if what we’re seeing is reality or if we are seeing one person’s perspective. I wonder if this show will every play with perspectives, sort of like what they do on The Affair, where we see the same scenes as the way different characters are experiencing it.

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Anyway, I hope we see Uncle Nicky again. I want the Pearsons to learn more about young Jack! They deserve it!

Next week we get Beth’s backstory, so I’m stoked for that!

Read the recap from “Songbird Road: Part One

Watch This is Us anytime.