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The third season of “This Is Us” kicked off on Tuesday night on a relatively light note — by “This Is Us” standards, anyway. While the season premiere featured plenty of fun moments (The Big Three’s 38th birthday! Jack and Rebecca’s awkward first date at a carnival!), the show’s cast warned that fans will definitely need a box of tissues to get through season three — but maybe not as big of a box as they needed during previous seasons.
“I’m going to say this season will bring less tears than the first two seasons,” Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, told TODAY on the red carpet of the season premiere on Tuesday. “I’m going to say there will be less — but not by much!“
"Season one, you saw the death of Randall’s biological father (William), and season two you witnessed the death of his adoptive father (Jack),” Brown continued. “I can tell you that at least there are no more dads that are going to die!”
“I don’t think people will cry the same amount they did last season, but people will definitely cry!” Chris Sullivan, who plays Toby, told TODAY. “There will be tears!”
While the end of season two finally revealed to viewers how Jack Pearson met his demise, it also left fans with a whole new set of questions. (What is happening to Toby? Why is Kevin going to Vietnam with Beth’s cousin? Who is the "her" Randall refers to?)
According to Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate, the new season can be broken down into two words.
“You can expect it to be unpredictable and revealing,” she told TODAY.
The season three premiere did little to answer any of the questions posed by the season two finale, but show creator Dan Fogelman promised that the best is yet to come.
“I feel very strongly that this season is as strong as we’ve ever been,” Fogelman said during a panel discussion held at the season premiere event. “I feel really confident about what we have.”
During the panel discussion, Fogelman and the cast opened up about some of the obstacles the Pearsons will face during season three.
“Randall’s plotline this season will go in a surprising direction,” Fogelman said, hinting that Randall’s “solid” marriage to Beth may hit some speed bumps.
“I feel like I’m really putting (Randall and Beth) through their paces as a married couple,” Fogelman said, adding that the potential adoption of the couple’s foster daughter, Deja, may put a strain on the marriage.
Newlyweds Kate and Toby will also see their share of hard times. In the premiere episode, viewers watched as the couple considers in vitro fertilization in order to conceive the baby that Kate so desperately wants. Believing that his use of anti-depressants may be hurting his fertility, Toby flushes his medication down the toilet, an act that the cast hints will spell trouble for the normally jovial character.
“There’s reason to be concerned about a few (characters this season), but Toby goes through some stuff,” Brown told panel attendees.
One episode this season will focus primarily on Toby. (The other Pearson family spouses, Beth and Miguel, will also get an episode centered around them.) Fogelman warned viewers that the Toby episode may be the most heart-wrenching episode of the season.
“I’ve not seen our writers' room completely implode emotionally like they did (while watching) one scene of that episode,” Fogelman said.
Sullivan said his character’s struggles with depression this season will be something a lot of viewers can identify with.
“These things literally plague all of us at one time or another,” Sullivan told TODAY. “I think people cry during this show because there’s something in it specifically that they relate to, something that connects to their life.”
Metz agreed, adding that, while viewers will get more of the twists and turns they have come to expect from “This Is Us,” they will also get most of the answers they want.
“While it will all be very heartbreaking, (this season) will give us some resolution and I think it will heal some wounds.”
“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays on NBC.