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  • August 31, 1944: Jack Pearson is born to Stanley and Marilyn Pearson.
  • October 18, 1948: Jack’s brother Nicky is born just two minutes before midnight, with Stanley’s emotionally distant and alcoholic father arriving to witness it.

  • Stanley has slipped into alcoholism and grown increasingly abusive since becoming a father, and Marilyn asks Jack to never become like him. Jack is also discovered to have an irregular heartbeat.

  • 1969: Nicky is drafted for the Vietnam War, and despite Jack’s efforts to help him escape to Canada, he ends up deciding to go.

  • 1971: After the Pearsons get a letter from Nicky revealing how hard he’s taking things, Jack gets his doctor’s help to cover up his irregular heartbeat so he can volunteer for the war and help.
  • 1972: Jack’s squadmate Robinson shares a therapeutic technique where they both breathe together to help with overwhelming fear. Shortly afterward the group is attacked and Robinson loses a foot. The squad is reassigned to a village close to where the letter was mailed from, so he gets 24 hour leave to see Nicky.
  • Jack is dismayed to find Nicky is now a cynical drug addict, and doesn’t get far before he’s ordered back to his own platoon. But soon afterwards the CO agrees to give Nicky two weeks with Jack.
  • Jack helps the son of a local woman with his injured foot, and in exchange she gives him a necklace with the Vietnamese symbol for purpose. Nicky continues to be difficult, making openly racist comments about how he shouldn’t get so close with them. Shortly afterward he gets high and takes the boy fishing, and starts throwing grenades in the water. He drops one in the boat that kills the boy, and due to his earlier comments Jack assumes it was deliberate murder. As Nicky is medivaced out, Jack cuts off all contact, and tells his parents Nicky died upon getting back home, while he settles into a lonely life in Bradford.
  • After getting back home, Jack is desperate to get away from his father and wins big in a bar poker game. But the other players steal it back from him afterwards, and he is bitter enough to set up a plan to rob the place. However, when he goes back he sees Rebecca Malone performing at an open mic, and is immediately so captivated that he drops the whole thing.
  • Jack and Rebecca go on their first date, which ends up a disaster due to Jack’s money problems and his continued moroseness about Vietnam. But Rebecca is still charmed enough by him to arrange a second meeting. But another man is there when he arrives, Rebecca’s high school boyfriend Alan who has decided to make another try with her.
  • Rebecca and Alan hit it off well, and he offers to have her come to New York with him to pursue her singing career. But that same day, Jack finally orders his father out of the house for good, and he and his mother run into Rebecca at the grocery store, where his story about not wanting to be like his father moves her to choose him.
  • Just two weeks after their first meeting, Jack drives Rebecca to Los Angeles for a record company audition. Along the way, he visits the parents of one of his men in Vietnam who senselessly died after stepping on a mine while playing catch, who tell him it wasn’t his fault. Rebecca fails the audition, but plays the song for Jack who is soon weeping over its exploration of guilt.
  • Jack gets a fancy new jacket to meet Rebecca’s parents, and hits it off with fitter Miguel Rivas, becoming good friends. At the dinner, Rebecca’s father Dave puts on a good face for her, but in private tells Jack he disapproves and is going to do whatever he can to split them up.
  • Rebecca pressures Jack to go golfing with Dave, where his pride is rankled at the country club members' condescending attitudes until he turns down a good job offer from one, stunting his career prospects.
  • 1975: Jack and Rebecca are married.
  • Rebecca asks Jack to teach her to appreciate football, remembering how her father always froze out her mother when a game was on and not wanting that to happen to them. She ends up becoming just as big a fan of the Steelers.
  • William Hill and his cousin Ricky start a band that seems poised to make their big break. But when William’s mother gets cancer, he leaves the band and moves to Pittsburgh to see her through her final days and meets a woman named Laurel. After his mother’s death, Laurel gets him hooked on heroin as they start a romance, ultimately leading to Laurel becoming pregnant.

  • January 20, 1980: While watching Super Bowl XIV in a bar with Miguel and his wife, Rebecca discusses how she doesn’t want kids, and Jack agrees that if he has to make a choice, it’ll be her. However, when they celebrate the Steelers’ victory by having sex in the bar bathroom, Rebecca becomes pregnant with triplets.
  • Upon discovering the pregnancy, Jack and Rebecca realize they’re in no financial position to be raising three kids. Rebecca’s mother demands she move back home, but Jack makes the sacrifice of going back to his father and debasing himself by claiming to have a gambling problem, and gets a sizable check out of him. He also sells his car, making enough to buy them their own house.
  • Jack and Rebecca’s elderly neighbor George moves away, and gifts them his old crock pot, warning that the switch is tricky and can sometimes turn on by itself.
  • August 31, 1980: Laurel dies while giving birth, and William, knowing full well that as a penniless drug addict he’s in no condition to raise a baby, leaves his son outside a fire station hoping he’ll be delivered to a good family. One of the firefighters, Joe, has been having marriage problems and presents the baby as a possible solution to his wife, but she tells him it will take actual work and he should bring the baby to the hospital. At the same time, Rebecca goes into labor on Jack’s 36th birthday. Their usual doctor isn’t available, but they receive the care of Dr. Nathan Katowski, reputed as among the best in the field, and unknown to them considering suicide after his wife’s death before he got the call. Despite his help, the labor runs into extreme difficulties and one of the triplets doesn’t survive. As Jack looks over the two surviving children, Kevin and Kate, Joe informs him of the abandoned baby that was found outside. Believing it’s a sign that they were meant to have three children after all, Jack and Rebecca take him in, initially naming him Kyle. On their way home, Rebecca sees William watching them and realizes their connection. Dr. Katowski and Joe are also both driven by the events to make changes in their lives for the better.
  • Rebecca has difficulties bonding with baby Kyle, and tracks William down to hear his story and hopefully get some insight. After promising to stay out of their lives, William suggests they give the baby his own name rather than the one they planned for the baby they lost, and she decides on Randall after William’s favorite poet.
  • 1981: After a year of social worker visits, Jack and Rebecca are finally able to get their hearing to make Randall’s adoption legal. The judge is firmly against it due to his own experience growing up as a black man which he fears Randall will be left unprepared for, but after Rebecca writes a heartfelt letter about how they’ll never stop fighting for him, he recuses himself and another judge grants the adoption. Coincidentally, William is also a defendant on the same day for drug possession. The judge lets him go, giving advice that lets him stay sober.
  • William joins Narcotics Anonymous, where he falls in love with a fellow member, Jessie.
  • As a child, Beth Clark knows she wants to be a ballerina. The family is struggling financially, but her father Abe believes in her so much that he starts working overtime to raise the money for dance school.
  • 1988: The triplets are all dealing with their own social issues. Kate is starting to have serious weight problems which Rebecca struggles to help her with, and Randall is being bullied at school over living with a white family, with Kevin choosing to retain his own high popularity rather than help him. At her wits’ end, Rebecca finally confronts Jack about his drinking and he promises to stop.
  • Kevin starts to grow resentful of all the attention his siblings are getting due to their issues, which culminates in his nearly drowning at the pool while Jack and Rebecca are preoccupied with them, leading him to confront them about it and get a promise to include him more. On the same trip, Jack helps Kate through being bullied over her weight, and Rebecca meets a woman named Yvette and a group of other black mothers who get her to start taking their advice about raising Randall.
  • As Jack prepares to leave his hated desk job to start his own construction company, Randall is discovered to be a mathematical genius. After some misgivings about separating him from his siblings, Jack ultimately sees he would be holding Randall back, and gives up his company for now to pay for Randall to go to a private school for gifted students.
  • Jack impulsively buys an expensive Jeep Wagoneer when he sees the kids having so much fun in it, getting the salesman to let him have it cheap with a speech about how he needs a car that will tell the story of his family.
  • While heading to the traditional Thanksgiving with Rebecca’s parents, the car blows a tire and the family is forced to hike for miles to a gas station, where the only lodging is with a strange man who calls himself Pilgrim Rick. The only food available is cheese dogs and the only movie Police Academy 3, but they make the best of it and still have fun, enough that they go on to recreate the entire adventure every Thanksgiving.
  • 1989: Jack and Rebecca learn that Randall has been trying to find his birth father, and on the advice of Yvette Jack enrolls him in a black martial arts class, where he also shows his own devotion with a push-up ritual. At the same time, Rebecca goes back to William and discovers he’s been clean for years. Worried about his exercising possible legal rights to Randall, she writes him a letter urging him to stay away as Randall has a great father. William follows her back to the house, but upon seeing the life Randall has, he knows he can’t just insert himself into it.
  • December 24, 1989: Kate suffers appendicitis, and at the hospital Jack and Rebecca run into Dr. Katowski, who is undergoing his own surgery after a car accident. He’s happy to see how well the family is doing, and both surgeries come through fine. Upon learning Dr. Katowski has no one to spend Christmas with after his wife’s death, the whole family stays in the hospital room with him.

  • August 31, 1990: For the first time, the triplets all have their own request for their birthday party. The resulting parties reveal that Randall has few friends but is happy with the ones he has, Kate is completely alone and even Jack’s pep talks have stopped cheering her up, and Kevin has a crush on Kate’s friend Sophie.
  • October 31, 1990: While trick-or-treating, a neighbor accidentally lets slip to Randall the full truth about how he came to be raised by Jack and Rebecca, launching him into a new level of interest about his biological parents.
  • When all three kids come down with chicken pox, Janet arrives and insists on helping. But getting so much of her implicit racism toward Randall at once causes Rebecca to finally confront her over it, which Randall overhears. As she leaves, she bonds a bit more genuinely with Randall over his science project.
  • Jack takes Kevin and Randall on a camping trip to try to help form a bond between them that he lost with his own brother. While he’s away, Rebecca gets the call that Stanley is dying, and while she’s able to get through to Jack, he elects to stay on the trip as his father has been dead to him for years.
  • 1992: Jack finally loses patience with the postcards Nicky has been sending trying to get back in touch, and travels to Bradford to tell him to stop. Nicky tries to explain once more but Jack still refuses to let him talk, but at least shows a picture of his family as proof that Nicky didn’t ruin his life. This is enough for Nicky to agree to stop contact.
  • Kevin and Sophie go to their first school dance together, with Jack getting a chance to attend his first ever school dance as a chaperone.
  • Randall is cited at school for being out of dress code and starts having a panic attack. He calls Kevin, who forges Rebecca's signature on his discipline slip and keeps the whole thing secret from their parents.
  • Jack starts to teach Randall golf to prepare him for the business meetings he'll likely have, causing Randall to call him out for his privileged viewpoint trying to compare being working class to being black. They start to gain a better understanding of each other once the issue is out in the open.
  • Jack invites Randall's favorite teacher and black role model Mr. Lawrence to dinner, and they end up feuding over who will have more impact on Randall but ultimately come to a better understanding of the situation.
  • Tensions increase between Kevin and Randall as in their shared bedroom Randall needs to stay up late studying while Kevin needs to be rested for football. Kevin angrily moves into the basement, and they even start fighting during a football game and have to be pulled off each other.
  • Rebecca has a cancer scare, and Jack takes her to what he calls his favorite tree to cheer her up. They get a call that she’s fine, and Jack reveals he made the whole thing up to be near a pay phone.
  • Miguel and Shelley reveal that they’re getting divorced, simply because they’ve drifted apart and realized they didn’t even care that they’d stopped noticing each other. Jack takes steps to make sure it doesn’t happen to him, taking Rebecca back to their first apartment for the night where they repeat their wedding vows. However, Rebecca then reveals her band is going on a long tour.
  • Rebecca overhears that Kevin is having sex with Sophie shortly before leaving for her tour, leading her and Jack to sit down with him to talk about it. In the middle of it, Randall starts having a panic attack over a school paper, to which Jack leaves to help him through it with the breathing technique. Kevin sees this as yet another case of Randall stealing all the attention. Jack also discovers that Rebecca briefly dated her bandmate Ben in the past, leading him to start drinking again.
  • Upon seeing Jack and Rebecca arguing just before she starts the tour, Kate encourages Jack to make things right with her before she leaves. Unfortunately, this results in him driving off to catch up with her in Cleveland while drunk. He makes it there, but when Ben talks about “crossing the line” by kissing Rebecca he beats him up, causing Rebecca to leave the band and drive back home with Jack. Back at home they both furiously unload all their long-repressed resentments, unknowingly witnessed by Randall, and the next day Jack moves out to stay with Miguel, though he still says he’s sure their story isn’t over and they’ve done right by their kids.
  • After only a day apart, Rebecca comes to Jack saying they shouldn’t ever give up on each other. Jack agrees, but also admits that he’s fallen hard off the wagon and is even drunk right now. He tries to send her away until he can trust himself around her, but Rebecca still insists on helping him at home. Once he gets back, Jack immediately lays out the problem to the kids, wanting to be completely open about it this time.
  • Kate tries to start singing, but Rebecca’s own frustrated dreams lead her to over-involve herself in it until Kate starts seriously resenting her.
  • Jack and Rebecca invite Miguel to spend his first Thanksgiving after his divorce with them, where Jack gives him a pep talk that it’s not too late for him, and he should try his hardest to keep a relationship with his children.
  • Rebecca sets up a full date night with Jack to rekindle their passion, and they end up having sex in the car. Heading back in, Jack picks up a stray dog outside.
  • Jack takes Randall on a college tour, where Randall’s preferred place is the historically black Howard University, where Yvette’s son Keith goes. Jack notices Randall was reluctant to introduce him as his father, and takes him to the Vietnam Memorial where he shares his own feelings of isolation after the war and promises Randall won’t always feel like that.
  • Kevin grows increasingly embarrassed by his father now that he knows about the alcoholism, leading him to blow an interview about a football scholarship. Soon afterward, he breaks his knee in a game, ending his football dreams permanently. In the hospital, Jack gives Kevin the necklace he got in Vietnam, which shows the symbol for purpose, encouraging him that he’ll find something else to give purpose to his life. In the waiting room, Kate considers ending her plan to apply to music school, greatly hurting Rebecca by saying it’s because of the risk of her reaction if Kate doesn’t get in. She’s ultimately talked back into it.
  • A trip to the mall turns sour when the Pearsons run into Miguel, who’s wallowing over his ex-wife getting engaged again with all their kids present. Rebecca and Kate have their own troubles as Kate has succeeded in reaching her goal weight, but it doesn’t actually make her feel any better. Everyone gets so distracted that they forget to buy new batteries for the kitchen smoke detector.
  • January 26, 1997: To Jack and Rebecca’s disappointment, all three kids make plans outside watching Super Bowl XXXI with them. Kevin is still hurting with the loss of football, and yells that he’s going to be ordinary like them, before running out for a date with Sophie and planning to apologize the next day. Jack plans to try to get Big Three Homes going again with Rebecca as his partner. But in the middle of the night, George’s crock pot turns back on and ends up setting the house on fire. Jack is able to get everyone out, and even saves the dog and several family mementoes, including Kate’s audition tape, but staying inside so long causes him to inhale a fatal amount of smoke and he dies a few hours later.
  • At Jack’s funeral Kevin and Randall get into a nasty fight while Kate blames herself for getting Jack to stay and save the dog. Dr. Katowski also attends and tells Rebecca she can be strong enough to get through this, and she takes them to Jack’s supposed favorite tree where they scatter some of his ashes, with Kate holding on to the rest. They spend the night at a Bruce Springsteen concert Jack was going to surprise them with.
  • In a rage over his father’s death, Kevin throws out all the model airplanes they made together, leaving him with the necklace as the only memento of their time together, which he refuses to take off ever afterward. The rest of the family has their own struggles, with Kate gaining more weight than ever and never applying to the music school, and Rebecca unable to overcome her grief to properly raise the family on her own. Randall ends up retracting his acceptance to Howard to stay and help.
  • After years of dance school, Beth is disappointed in her lack of progress, and when Abe dies of cancer her mother Carol pushes her to go to college for a more promising career path. She meets Randall at a college mixer, and while Randall is immediately smitten she pays him no mind.
  • 1998: Kevin moves to New York with Sophie to pursue an acting career, briefly causing a rift with Kate until she sees an old video of how he was watching out for her even as a toddler.
  • Randall calls Kevin for help asking Beth out, and the date is a disaster as he desperately tries to impress her with a fancy restaurant where they face implicit racism from the staff. Beth asks him to not try again.
  • On parents' weekend, Rebecca spots Beth and drags Randall to talk to her and Carol. Randall casually and wordlessly passes her a lemon for her Coke after seeing she likes it on their date, which impresses her enough to give him another chance, despite Carol's disapproval. On the same weekend, Kate gets a job at a record store and Kevin calls with the bombshell that he's married Sophie.
  • Kevin and Sophie return for dinner, at which Kate’s boss Mark arrives and reveals they’re dating, much to Kevin and Randall’s disapproval.
  • With the insurance from the house running out, Rebecca is forced to take an entry level job, with Randall stepping up to teach her the computer programs she needs.

  • 2005: Kevin and Sophie divorce.
  • 2005: 16 year old Shauna Andrews gives birth to a girl, Deja, with her grandmother their main caretaker.
  • Randall has been repeatedly proposing to Beth, until she finally admits to Rebecca that she worries about being consumed by his life. Rebecca assures her she’s the thing he cares most about, and they get married.
  • October 31, 2008: Randall’s daughter Tess is born, just two months after a serious panic attack over his impending fatherhood. Kate and Kevin have a discussion about how they’re both stuck in a rut, so Kate decides to move to Los Angeles with Kevin, and he joins an improv group where he’s discovered by an agent who gets his acting career off the ground. And Rebecca posts photos of her first grandchild on Facebook, leading to her getting back in touch with Miguel, who she hasn’t seen in eight years.
  • Shauna’s grandmother suddenly dies, leaving her to run her own life as well as Deja’s, which she is in no way prepared for.

    2011- 2015 
  • Randall and Beth have another daughter, Annie.
  • 2013: Kevin gets the lead role on the sitcom "The Man-ny," in which he salvages the pilot by being able to calm down the extremely upset baby he's working with.
  • Deja cuts her hand while home alone, and has to go to the hospital by herself when she can’t get hold of Shauna. The suspicious circumstances cause her to be put into the foster system, and losing Deja causes Shauna to sink into drug addiction, leaving her there indefinitely bouncing between various homes.

  • William learns he has cancer, which is about to cause him to finally fall off the wagon again. However, Randall has finally tracked him down with a private investigator and knocks on the door just in time. After angrily confronting him about the great life he’s had without his help, Randall succumbs to their connection and invites William home to meet his family.
  • Kevin finally has a public breakdown during filming on The Man-ny. As he’s still under contract for the show, he goes to a party to make his case to the head of the network, who refuses to let him go and threatens to destroy his career if he breaks it. After a talk with Randall where they share their father’s breathing exercise and Big Three chant, Kevin decides to leave the show and try to start a career in New York theater.
  • Kate meets Toby Damon at her weight loss support group, and agrees to go on a date with him. Toby suggests it should be a night where they don’t worry about their weight at all, so they go to Randall’s party, where Kate ends up getting drunk and confessing that everything is always going to be about weight with her.
  • Rebecca and Miguel arrive at Randall’s and are surprised to find William. In private, Rebecca reconfirms their deal and tries to get him out of the house quietly, but Randall catches him and gets him to a doctor who confirms his low life expectancy. Back at home, Randall begins to spend the time getting to know his father that he still has.
  • Kevin offends everyone at his first theater audition by condescendingly talking about how he’s doing it for “the right reasons,” but still gets cast just due to his name recognition. He decides he needs to humble himself and leaves his fancy hotel room to bun with Randall, much to the excitement of Man-ny fan William. He also begins a romance with his co-star Olivia Maine.
  • During a dinner out, Kevin realizes Randall never actually watched his show, leading to all their lifelong resentments boiling over in a public fight. Kevin tells the onlookers that it’s okay because Randall’s his brother, with Randall noting it’s the first time he’s ever said that. At home, he invites Randall to stay in the basement with him.
  • Beth makes pot brownies for herself and William, resulting in William revealing Rebecca knew about him the whole time. Beth agrees that telling Randall would crush him, so she instead calls Rebecca to confront her.
  • Kate breaks up with Toby upon his deciding to stop his diet, and looks into getting gastric bypass surgery.
  • On Thanksgiving, Miguel asks if he can be part of the family tradition this year by playing Pilgrim Rick. Kevin at first refuses, but allows it shortly into the show. Unfortunately, Randall also travels to Philadelphia to search for a recording of William’s old jam sessions, but next to them finds the letter Rebecca wrote in 1989. He furiously tears into her about it at dinner and storms out refusing to hear a word from her.
  • Rebecca decides to sell the family cabin, so Kevin and Randall head out to fix it up for buyers. Olivia also comes along with her ex-boyfriend Ash, and Randall accidentally drinks their hallucinogenic shake, causing him to see a vision of Jack with whom he talks out his anger at Rebecca lying to him all his life about William, leading him to start reconciling with her. Kevin also breaks up with Olivia over her continuing to flirt with Ash.
  • Olivia leaves the play after her breakup, causing its producers to pull their funding. The writer Sloane tells Kevin to pay her back by posing as her date at her family’s Hannukah party, where Kevin gets the idea to put up the money himself, with Sloane also starring in Olivia’s role.
  • Jessie meets up with William at an NA meeting, and reveals he fell off the wagon after William disappeared with his son. He responds by bringing Jessie home to the family Christmas party, openly revealing their relationship. Toby also arrives, announcing that he values Kate too much to let food stand in the way. They get back together, but later at the party Toby suffers a heart attack.

  • As Toby is taken to surgery for his heart condition, he tells Kate he loves her for the first time. Afterwards, Kate similarly pours her heart out thinking he’s asleep, but he reveals he heard it all and eagerly agrees to marry her.
  • William decides to stop his cancer treatments as they clearly aren’t buying him much time and only making him feel worse. After some time of trying to distance himself from Randall to spare him having to watch, Randall tells him they’ll face it together.
  • Kate decides not to have the surgery now that she’ll be getting married, and instead heads to a weight loss immersion program where she quickly runs afoul of stable master Duke who starts aggressively propositioning her. When Kate pushes back, he reveals his parents actually run the camp, and has her kicked out.
  • On Toby’s advice, Kevin imagines the words he most wants to say to the love of his life to figure out who it is. He ends up deciding on neither Olivia or Sloane, but going back to Sophie after not seeing her for twelve years. After some natural difficulties, they tentatively start dating again.
  • Kevin gets serious cold feet as the play’s opening night approaches, and with no one else in a position to help him, it falls to Miguel to tell him to just do what his father would. He ends up following the advice in a quite different way when Randall calls him just before curtain, having another panic attack over his problems at work, causing Kevin to abandon the play and take care of him.
  • Beth admits to William that she doesn’t think she can go through another of Randall’s breakdowns, to which William advises her that she’s like a bass player, quietly holding everything together while also bound to have her own time to shine that she’ll need to be ready for.
  • A week after his breakdown, Randall gets the approval of his therapist to take William on a trip back to Memphis. William shows all the places from his old life and patches things up with Ricky, but the next day is clearly his last. In his final moments, Randall does the breathing exercise with him, and he gives Randall the poems he wrote for him.
  • William leaves his will for Tess and Annie to plan his funeral, and they organize a day dedicated to all the things he loved. Kate breaks down over going through another father’s funeral, and admits to Toby she feels responsible for Jack’s death. The experience also drives Randall to quit his job so he can live a life more like William’s.
  • After Kevin returns for the play’s second night, he catches the eye of Ron Howard who invites him for a role in his next film. Despite this meaning a separation from Sophie just after they started patching things up, she tells him to do it.
  • Kate moves back to Los Angeles with Toby as they start to plan their wedding, and finds an old set of her mother’s songs that inspires her to try a singing career herself.
  • Randall decides to honor both his fathers by adopting a child himself. Beth isn’t on board, and remembering Jack and Rebecca’s big fight, he refuses to push her into it. But she comes back with her own offer that they adopt an older child.
  • While working on the film, Kevin’s knee injury starts acting up again, ultimately causing him to start taking pills to get through the shoot.
  • Shauna finally gets clean and Deja is allowed to return home to her. However, Shauna’s new boyfriend turns out to be an alcoholic layabout, and eventually the police find his gun in Shauna’s car, causing her to get arrested and Deja sent back into the system.
  • Deja is assigned to Randall and Beth, and they have a hard time making her feel at ease until Tess and Annie have a late night discussion about the family and let her sleep in the same room. Unfortunately, the next day Randall has to deliver the news that her mother will likely be in jail a long time, causing her to storm out.
  • After two weeks of Deja refusing to wash her hair, Beth gets her to accept her help, and discovers she has stress-induced alopecia. This gets Deja to open up a bit more to the family, but the trust is quickly destroyed when Beth shares the secret with Randall, to which Deja cuts off all her hair in rebellion.
  • Kate discovers she’s pregnant.
  • Deja develops a crush on Kevin, and Randall jumps at the chance to bond with her when she asks to attend a charity gala he’s going to for Sophie. While there, Randall grabs her hand to stop her from eating a shrimp tail, leading Deja to open up about the abuse she suffered in the foster system. For his part, Kevin continues spiraling in his pill addiction, leading him to vanish when Sophie needs him, causing them to break up.
  • Shauna declines to visit with Deja in prison, and when Randall arrives to confront her about it, she reveals she didn’t want Deja to see her injured face after being attacked. Randall gives her their phone number so she and Deja can talk.
  • Kevin attends a high school homecoming where he’s put in the spotlight, just as he’s run out of drugs. He has a one night stand with former classmate Charlotte, now a doctor, so he can steal her prescription pad to get more, but finds he left Jack’s necklace behind, which Charlotte naturally won’t let him in to look for.
  • Kate suffers a miscarriage of her high-risk pregnancy, and after a day of denial over it, she finally tells Rebecca, who flies right over for a discussion about her own lost baby that gives Kate the hope to try again.
  • Shauna’s charges are dropped, and after getting out of jail she tells Randall and Beth she wants to take Deja back. They try to fight it for a while, until Randall remembers how William knew when to back away from his life and does the same thing. Kevin shows up, and between the emotions of Deja leaving and Kate’s miscarriage, he’s soon out driving drunk, with Tess stuck in the back seat where she was hiding from the drama. He ends up getting pulled over and arrested.

  • Kevin goes through a month of rehab, after which he moves in with Rebecca and Miguel. Being pushed into close quarters forces the long-simmering feelings he has toward Miguel replacing his father into the open, and they reach a new understanding with Kevin being more accepting of his mother moving on.
  • Randall looks through William’s apartment, and upon seeing the badly dilapidated state of the building decides to buy it and fix it up. His first attempt goes terribly, uncovering a roach infestation that pushes all the tenants into a hotel.
  • Kevin starts making amends to all the people his addiction hurt, making things right with Sophie and also getting his necklace back from Charlotte. He ends the list by the tree with Jack’s ashes, lamenting how disappointed Jack would be in him but determined to make it right.
  • Deja shows up at Randall’s to beg for gas money, causing him and Beth to get very concerned about her living situation. But they soon have to head to Las Vegas for Toby and Kate’s bachelor and bachelorette parties, where they end up getting into a huge argument over the situation. Beth ends up feeling a new bond with Kate as she shares just how much she’s come to care for Deja.
  • Upon getting back home, Randall and Beth discover Shauna living in her car with Deja, and invite them into the house. After seeing a kind of happiness in Deja she’s never seen before, Shauna accepts that she isn’t fit to be her mother and leaves them to adopt her permanently.
  • Kate and Toby are married at the family cabin, with Kate finally scattering the rest of Jack’s ashes as she prepares to move on to the next phase of her life for good. Deja has been furious since her mother left, but Beth’s cousin Zoe calms her down by sharing her own story of being abandoned by her mother and how she learned to not hate Beth’s parents for taking her in. However, upon Toby’s parents mistaking her for a biological family member, she gets angry again and smashes their car windshield.
  • Kevin and Zoe meet at the wedding and start dating, much to Beth’s displeasure given Zoe’s history of leaving men badly.
  • Randall and Beth lay out the situation for Deja, and make clear they’ll only move forward with the adoption if she wants it. She’s moved by the speech to allow it, and also tracks down her father and tells him off, saying she’ll have a great life without him.
  • Kate and Toby try for another baby using IVF, with Toby secretly going off his anti-depression medication to increase his sperm count.
  • Kevin’s movie is released to great success, but at the premiere Randall hears that Kate was talking about how she’s the only one who can pass down a piece of Jack. They have a nasty fight in the lobby, and to make up for it Randall travels across the country to be there for Kate’s surgery. While there, he also gets word about just how bad things are in William’s old neighborhood, and decides to run for city council.
  • Beth is fired, and joins Randall’s campaign.
  • Kate successfully becomes pregnant from the single viable embryo, and tells Toby it’s time to get back on his meds.
  • After Kevin discusses how little he knows about his father's time in the war on a radio interview, he gets a call from Robinson, and he and Zoe travel to him and hear some stories about Jack in the war. Kevin also finds a picture of him with the village woman, and recognizes the necklace.
  • Randall wins the district Korean neighborhood with the help of how popular Kevin is in the country, also gaining savvy assistant Jae-won.
  • Kevin and Zoe go to Vietnam to investigate the necklace, only to discover it’s a mass-produced souvenir. During the trip Kevin also becomes curious about Zoe’s past, and she ends up confiding that her father sexually abused her.
  • Rebecca spends Thanksgiving with Miguel’s family, where she endures snide remarks about their marriage until Miguel puts his foot down and says he won’t apologize for it, and they need to respect her. They head back to Randall’s after dinner, where Tess has had her first period, and also confides to Kate that she’s realized she’s gay.
  • Randall has a very successful debate with incumbent Councilman Brown, but afterwards Jae-won shows them data that it’s impossible for him to win at this rate. While he’s still reeling from this, Tess comes out to him and Beth, causing Beth to say he needs to drop out like he promised if she asked him, to take care of their children. Randall refuses, starting a serious rift between them.
  • Kevin and Zoe get nowhere in Vietnam, but on their way home the hotel manager tells them when he looked up Nicky’s name in the war memorial database, there was nothing there.

  • Kevin and Zoe visit a Congressman to help them track down more about Nicky, who turns out to be Zoe’s ex. Combined with how she’s moved into his apartment but hasn’t unpacked anything, Kevin confronts her about how serious she is about them, leading to a big fight. But the Congressman comes through with a postcard to Jack, and Nicky’s return address.
  • Randall turns down playing dirty to win the election, getting Beth back on his side, and he ends up winning the election. Zoe takes inspiration from them and gets back together with Kevin.
  • The siblings all track down Nicky, who reveals the whole story about what happened in Vietnam. After leaving to discuss things, they decide to invite him back, and on returning to his trailer find him seemingly about to kill himself. After putting him in a hotel Kate and Randall need to leave, but Rebecca comes to help Kevin. They ultimately get Nicky to agree to go to an AA meeting at the vet center, but the process is so painful for Kevin that he starts drinking again.
  • Beth and Zoe visit Carol when she injures her hip, leading to Beth finally confronting her about killing her dream of dancing. They come to terms with it, and Beth is inspired to tell Randall she wants to teach dancing.
  • Randall finds out that Deja is showing signs of being intellectually gifted, which she’d been keeping secret due to finally having a stable routine to her life. Between this and having to hire someone to look after the kids with both parents working, he shocks Beth by saying she’s the one who’ll have to sacrifice her dream.
  • Kate graduates from community college, and when Kevin doesn’t show up she discovers him drunk in his hotel room. She insists on taking him to an AA meeting, but her water breaks on the way, two months premature. Ultimately her son Jack survives, but is left legally blind.
  • After Kevin’s drinking is revealed, he and Zoe go to therapy where Zoe tells him she doesn’t want kids. After talking things over with Sophie, now happily remarried, Kevin decides to choose Zoe.
  • Randall leaves Beth an angry, insulting voicemail when she appears to have blown off an important dinner for his job, only for her to show up after all, leading them to finally hash out all the problems that have come up between them. Randall ends up choosing to spend the night in his office.
  • After talking with Deja about his family responsibilities, Randall offers to resign, but Beth counters that they should move to Philadelphia, where she plans to open her own dance studio.
  • Kevin can’t help talking to Zoe some more about how she might change her mind about having kids, but she stays firm in her choice and breaks up with him as he needs to find someone who does want them too.
  • Middle East veteran Cassidy Sharp suffers from PTSD upon returning home, putting a serious strain on her marriage. After hitting her son in the middle of a flashback, she starts attending meetings at the vet center, but is interrupted when a drunk Nicky throws a chair through the window after his therapist is moved to another center. Nicky gives the police Kevin’s number to call to bail him out.
  • Deja attends a back to school barbecue to get to know her new classmates in Philadelphia, and quickly gets a crush on teenage father Malik.
  • Kevin gets concerned at Nicky refusing to contact him after wiring the bail money, and eventually decides to go in person. He soon meets Cassidy while accompanying Nicky to the vet center, and again when he's driven to go to another AA meeting.
  • Beth opens her studio with Carol in attendance, and when the space is afflicted with the stench of a dying possum she moves the class outside rather than reschedule. The incident causes Randall to confront Carol about her disapproval of him, and she admits she realized she was wrong about that a long time ago.
  • Kevin buys a trailer which he parks next to Nicky's, putting his acting career on hold while he continues to help his uncle as well as try to help fix Cassidy's marriage.
  • Kevin and Cassidy end up sleeping together in the emotional upheaval of her husband's continued distance. But an impassioned speech from Nicky at his hearing for the chair incident about how he's finally realized how much his family connections can improve his life convinces her to try again, and she finally gets to join them for dinner.
  • Randall notices Rebecca taking an unusual amount of pictures with her phone, and then forgetting where it is, and becomes concerned about her mental state, though Rebecca harshly denies anything is wrong.

  • Tess, now a social worker helping kids find foster homes after her experience with Deja, meets Randall for their weekly dinner. The whole family assembles to visit the now bedridden Rebecca, including Beth at her dance studio, Kevin’s son, and Nicky. However, Kate doesn’t appear and Toby isn’t wearing his wedding ring.

  • Jack Damon is a struggling musician, until an encounter with waitress Lucy inspires him to write a song that becomes a big hit. He and Lucy get married, and she also achieves her own dream of getting her own restaurant, just in time for their first child.

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