This Is Us season 6 episode 3 recap: Four Fathers

THIS IS US -- "Four Fathers" Episode 603 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Sullivan as Toby, Chrissy Metz as Kate -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- "Four Fathers" Episode 603 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Sullivan as Toby, Chrissy Metz as Kate -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

This article contains SPOILERS for This Is Us season 6 episode 3

Jack, Randall, Toby, and Kevin are all faced with their respective versions of paternal adversity in this week’s episode of This is Us season 6.

Catch up on everything from last week’s episode here!

This week’s episode of This Is Us season 6 starts off with a flash-forward to music star Jack Damon (Blake Stadnik) smoking some meat for his lovely wife Lucy (Auden Thornton) outside at his beautiful home. He puts a slab of beef on the hot iron, and smoke encompasses his face when Jack is reminded of his very first memory. We overhear some audio with Toby and Kate exclaiming caution to a young Jack, but the actual memory is not shown.

This Is Us season 6
THIS IS US — “Four Fathers” Episode 603 — Pictured: (l-r) Auden Thornton as Lucy, Blake Stadnik as Jack Damon — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

This Is Us season 6 episode 3: Challenges for all the dads

In the 1980s, Jack and Rebecca are doing their best with their triplet newborns, with Jack working a lot. She tries to ease his pain by saying her dad worked a lot, but Jack is offended and asks what if he compared Becca to his mom, and she gets his point real quick. To mend his lack of accessibility to his children, Jack makes plans to take his kiddos to their first movie. In 2022, audiences see the sick cycle that Toby and Kate are going through as parents where one is away from home for three days out of the week for their job. Diminishing returns is the best way to describe Kevin and Madison managing their dynamic since it is losing its novelty as the days and weeks go on.

We then see Kevin home for the return of dad when Toby arrives and notices how his niece and nephew have two parents who care and love for one another. Kevin heads off to rehearsal, where he gets distracted looking at the twin dolls on set, as they remind him of the kids he was unable to spend time with earlier today. Now alone, Toby presents his children and wife with gifts. Kate’s is the afternoon off so Toby can spend some quality time with his kids. Before she goes, Kate reminds him twice about Jack’s designated nap, and Toby confidently assures her he won’t forget.

We then see Randall has a big and anxious day ahead of him as he begins to teach Deja how to drive. The lesson starts off being very on-brand for these two personalities until Deja has to merge. During this relatively easy maneuver, her phone and the car begins reading texts from Malik, revealing to her parents that she was actually in Boston with him. Back at their home, Randall and Beth decide how they want to go about dealing with this, and because they are both too wound up, Randall goes for a run.

This Is Us season 6
THIS IS US — “Four Fathers” Episode 603 — Pictured: (l-r) Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Lyric Ross as Deja — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

This Is Us season 6 episode 3: Jack sleeps on the job

At the 1980s movie theater, the Big Three and Jack are watching a movie when Jack ends up falling asleep after working long hours during the week. Little Kevin ends up walking away because he thinks the movie is boring, and his dad isn’t awake to stop him. After being awoken mid-movie, Jack discovers Kevin is gone and rushes out of the theater looking for him. It turns out that security has found him and called Rebecca since she writes the home phone number on the tongues of her kids’ shoes.

Due to Baby Jack not getting a nap because of his dad’s gift, Toby and Kate are unable to leave their babysitter alone with a restless and grumpy toddler. Because the event they were going to was Kate’s old students’ music recital, Toby decides to stay home and begrudgingly lets Kate go alone. After the recital, Kate sparks up a conversation with Phillip, where he tries to reassure her that her marriage with Toby has nothing significantly wrong with it.

Once they return from their eventful day, Rebecca and Jack discuss their plans on how to deal with the Big Three, where Jack is working a lot but still being a good father that doesn’t traumatize his kids. However, Rebecca is there to tell him that kids will often remember the good things more than the little bad things when they rest their heads down at night. With Rebecca’s words ringing in his head, Jack puts together a fun night filled with an ice cream sundae bar and home movie night.

This Is Us season 6 episode 3 recap: Toby with some words of advice

After seeing a video of his daughter’s first steps, Kevin rushes home but is too late to see his kids awake. This leads to both Kevin and Madison releasing some of the struggles they are having as co-parents, and even though it is aggressive, the actual content is understood by the other partner. Kevin returns back to his home for the time being, where he is greeted by Toby, who just now is able to put his two kids to bed. They both share war stories about feeling like they don’t get to see their kids as much as they want to. Toby explains that his brother-in-law should focus on himself and the two kids and forget the rectangle.

This Is Us season 6
THIS IS US — “Four Fathers” Episode 603 — Pictured: (l-r) Caitlin Thompson as Madison, Justin Hartley as Kevin — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

When Randall gets back from his run, Beth is waiting for him to say that they can’t go full guns blazing with Deja in this situation. She says they both underestimated how mature Deja is while not neglecting the consequences of her betraying their trust. Beth finally reveals to her husband that she will be taking their oldest daughter to go get birth control. Following this, Randall confronts Deja about her actions and explains that he now sees she is not the same little girl she was when they first met. It is a very sweet father-daughter moment that Randall ends by saying she will not see Malik in Boston for a very long time to which Deja responds, “Well, that’s going to be a problem.” Randall says nothing.

This Is Us season 6 episode 3: Clues about Baby Jack’s first memory

Kevin contemplates calling his 25-year-old co-star for a booty call but instead calls Cassidy (Jennifer Morrison) since she is across the country and is more age-appropriate. In the main house, Toby admits he was wrong for not following Kate’s lead and for being a selfish father and husband. He says he has a plan to help his kids form memories of the two of them together, and it starts with a durable smoker so they can have regular cookouts.

In the final flash-forward, we see adult Baby Jack using the same smoker from when he was a toddler. Lucy asks why he still uses it even though it left a scar on his forehead, and it also sparks his first memory — something that is described as the day his parent’s relationship started to crumble. Jack says he keeps it because of how delicious the meat is, but it would not be surprising if there were more layers to the smoker.

The episode ends with a triumphant 1980s Jack Pearson putting his kids to bed after making up for his sleep-related mistake. As he is about to lay down himself, Jack receives a phone call that tells him the unfortunate news that his mom has passed away.

Do you think there is more to the smoker than just Jack’s first memory? Are you prepared to watch Milo Ventimiglia act his heart out next week? Let us know in the comments below!

Next. The 10 worst dads on television. dark

Watch This Is Us season 6, with the next episode airing Tuesday night, January 25th, only on NBC and streaming the next day on Peacock and Hulu!