This Is Us Season 3 Episode 4 recap
In the previous episode of NBC’s This Is Us, Kevin and Zoe reached out to the men that Jack served with in Vietnam, and one of their emails made it to someone. This episode focused on Jack’s time in Vietnam, and his relationships with his brother Nick and their father.
We see the day Nick was born. Their father didn’t drink and was a different man than we’d seen him. Jack’s grandfather showed up briefly at the hospital and drank from a flask before abruptly leaving . The next day would be the grandfather’s birthday. The nurse told Mrs. Pearson that 18 was her lucky number and how she had hoped Nick would be born before midnight. After Nick was born, their father told Jack that his job was to look after his younger brother. Finally, his father pointed out all the other babies born that day.
The two brothers went to a bar to watch the draft. October 18, Nick’s birthday, was called. Jack promised to help him escape to Canada. Under the guise of a hunting trip, the two guys drove north. Nick hoped he would be made a medic since he always wanted to be a doctor. He left Jack in the motel room in the middle of the night.
Jack saw his doctor. He was exempt from the draft because he had an irregular heartbeat. He wanted to be near Nick, even if they couldn’t be in the same place. After pleading his case to the doctor, he gave Jack the advice to do push-ups before his examination to disguise the irregularity.
Jack was promoted to Staff Sergeant quickly and led a platoon through the jungle. After finding and blowing a mine, his platoon was ambushed in the night. His friend Robinson, who was ninety days from going home and had dreams of playing professional baseball, lost his foot, and another one of Jack’s men died. It’s possible the old man that we saw receiving Kevin’s email in the previous episode was Robinson. He was also the origin of Jack’s “breathe” gesture to Randall for his anxiety.
Afterwards, Jack’s commanding officer assigned the platoon a “cushy” job looking after a village. Jack’s men were getting sloppy, so he got his platoon a cache of beer and cigarettes. They could only indulge once they cleaned up and got to work. The CO arrived to check on them, and Jack asked if he could see his brother who was nearby. The CO was ready to say no, but saw Jack’s men working hard, so he was on his way. Nick was being punished on Article 15, and Jack wanted to check on him.
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