As with Taylor Swift's discography, there are very few details in NBC's This Is Us don't have some kind of hidden meaning. In seasons one and two, most of the easter eggs caught by eagle-eyed fans were about what would cause Jack to die prematurely—remember the close-ups of the Crock Pot that would eventually start the fire, and the red towel that spread it?—but in seasons three and four, tiny details can be found about everything from This Is Us megafan Julia Roberts to how the Police Academy series connects the entire Pearson clan to the origin of Dr. K's name.
Truly, this is a show at its best when it comes to the tiny details you might have missed without the most eagle-eyed of fans pointing it out—so allow me to present the best easter eggs of season four so far. (This post will be updated.)
Malik's dad (Omar Epps) works at a car garage, and in episode one of season four, a customer's car is shown with a bumper sticker that says "Vote for Randall Person." (You can see a slightly blurry image of it here.) It's not clear exactly what this means—it may just be a way to make clear that Malik's storyline is a) set in Philadelphia and b) connects with Deja's present-day timeline—but it was hard to catch unless you were looking hard. Theorized one Reddit user: "It was evident that Malik was in the present (did you see the Vote for Pearson bumper sticker?)."
But someone else commented: "The sticker almost made me think maybe it was a few years into the future since the bumper sticker seemed a little beat up. Never know with this show." And another person chimed in: "I guess this sticker could be a re-election or from his original run?"
And here's another (quite jarring) theory: "So some of y’all are thinking Deja is the mom—that the first meeting we saw between Malik and her was actually a year in the past from that moment at the body shop with the sticker. Got it...The sticker was where the rear ending happened so... even though it looked beat up, that could have been either damage from the collision OR from the passage of time. Hm."
Jack only met Rebecca's parents in episode one of season four, an episode that until now was only interested in introducing new characters, which felt...odd. And by "odd," I mean "symbolic." Symbolic of what, you ask? Well, given that Rebecca's dad tells Jack in no uncertain terms that he will not approve of his dating her daughter, Reddit's best guess is that this forewarns how Randall will feel about Malik when Deja brings home her new boyfriend—a single dad.
"Rebecca’s dad’s callousness towards Jack was meant to parallel Randall’s impending reaction toward Malik, I think. Which feels wrong since we all already love this kid, but then the drug dealing potential is also in there, soooo... it’s gonna be a wild ride," wrote one user. The episode two bus scene with Malik and Deja may also be a hidden reference to Randall's birth father, William: "omg it reminds me of William falling in love on bus rides," one person noted.
Also, I love this potential theory about the fancy jacket Jack wears to meet Rebecca's parents: "Anyone think that Jack’s sport coat ends up being the one Randall wears on his first date with Beth?" (Unfortunately, logic prevails: "While that would be a total Pearson thing to do, I don't think Teen Randall and Milo V are the same size," someone pointed out.)
Lucy and Jack Jr.'s Discussion About a Kid
Interestingly, two generations on, it's Jack Jr. who offers to be a stay-at-home dad while Lucy opens her restaurant. Obviously, this is an indicator of how times have changed, but it's also a startling reverse of what happened with Jack Sr. and Rebecca.
Notes one user: "More interesting how he tells Lucy he would take a break and give it up to raise the kid so she can focus on the restaurant they/she is opening—so basically a reverse of Jack and Rebecca as Rebecca became a [stay at home mom] and essentially gave up her dream of singing for Jack."
Plus, it's clear that Jack Jr. is the living manifestation of the (squashed) singing dreams of both Rebecca and her daughter Kate, as one person mentions: "OK I love that Becca and Kate’s love for music finally flourishes through Jack." And a more academic take: "Baby Jack’s success will be the product of the clash and life lessons between Rebecca and Kate in the context of nourishing the creative mind."
Jack Jr.'s Personality
There are a couple of throwbacks to Jack Sr. and Toby in Jack Jr.'s storyline in episode one. First off, that dog proposal—could anything be more Jack Pearson? ("The dog proposal thing was cute and totally a Jack-mannerism," as one Reddit user said.)
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Also, when Jack Jr. pranks Lucy the first time he meets her by fake-freaking out when she touches him—as with Toby's humor, it's an over-the-top slapstick moment, and it's clear Jack inherited that one from Toby. As another user noted: "Don't think I didn't notice that Jack inherited Toby's sense of humor and way with the ladies."
And someone else jumped in to note: "Jack is all mom and grandma with his talent but you can hear Toby and see Toby and Kate parallels in he and Lucy."
Kevin's Relationship With Baby Jack
It's clear that Kevin is going to be close with Jack Jr.—and the episode two throwback of young Kevin and his friends being horribly cruel to Randall might explain why. "Is Kevin trying to right the wrongs he did Randall with Baby Jack?" one user guessed.
The same episode reminded us exactly why Kevin was always so nasty to Randall: "Kevin has always felt resentment toward Randall...I think that he also took perverse pleasure in flipping Randall's 'blackness' on his head. It's like: "Since you always had mom and dad, I'll take away your black card,'" a fan wrote.
And one particularly out-there theory: "I think Kevin is going to adopt little Jack."
The Lizzo Poster!
Perhaps the firmest sign that the present-day Pearsons are in 2019: The poster of Lizzo on Deja's wall. A couple of eagle-eyed fans noticed: "Hey, look at the Lizzo poster!" one wrote. It's a deliberately modern reference: Lizzo hit the big time with her 2019 album Cuz I Love You.
Stay tuned; this post will be updated.
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Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless.
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