[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday's episode of This Is Us, "Brothers". Read at your own risk!]
It's Tuesday, so naturally This Is Us delivered another big twist at the end of this week's episode, "Brothers." The final moments revealed that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) has a brother, Nicky, that we've never met before. We know that the brothers served together in Vietnam, but other than that, we don't know where Nicky is now or if he managed to survive the war along with Jack.
The reveal came after Rebecca (Mandy Moore) was called to the nursing home to say goodbye to Jack's dying father as Jack took a young Randall and Kevin out camping. The loss of his father didn't make Jack feel that sentimental, but kept him up at night thinking about his brother, who we learned was taken on a similar camping trip with Jack by their father when they were kids.
The timing of Nicky's arrival is a little curious, and could potentially open up a lot of doors. This Is Us is using its sophomore season to explore Jack's demons on a deeper level than it did in Season 1. Finding out more about Jack's brother could shine a light on a specific time period in Jack's life — Vietnam.
The fact that Jack even served in the military is a relatively new development. That knowledge wasn't given to fans until the Season 1 finale when Jack mentioned it to his neighbor as he fixed her car. We've seen glimpses of him arriving in battle, but no scenes that actually depict the trauma that occurred while he was there.
Here is the thing though, Nicky's reveal is not the same thing as an exploration. It's another twist at a time when This Is Us should just continue diving into its characters. No one wants to wait weeks for bit by bit answers about who Nicky is, where he is now and the effect he's had on Jack. The audience doesn't need to be teased to be invested in a new person of relevance. If Nicky is important, we just want to know why and how.
Like with Jack's death, building a mystery around Nicky potentially distracts from his actual value to the show. He's now a bag of questions rather than a person we should believe is of significant importance, maybe not even to just Jack but the Pearson family as a whole. If This Is Us has a flaw, it's that it withholds too much important information about its characters for too long. The success of this show is built on an emotional connection to these characters, and the show should lean into that rather than building mysteries that never pay off, or its hard-earned emotional moments may lose some of their impact.
It's nice to meet you, Nicky. We'd really, really like to get to know you.
This Is Us continues Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.