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This Is Our Timeline: The Chronology of This Is Us

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Unsure about when everything is happening? Have the timeline(s) all worked out? Here's a place for questions/comments about the chronology of this very nonlinear story. Please move/lock, mods, if there's already a topic like this in the forum.

 

Shoutout to @greekmom for the thread idea.

Edited by Dejana
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There have been several comments on the episode thread that the time when everyone congregates at Rebecca's bedside has to be more than 10-11 years in the future and that Kevin must have had a second set of children. From what I understand the timeline works though. The only other child we've seen in the flash-forward is Tess, and she seems to be in her mid- to late 20s. She's 14 in the present day so maybe 24-25 in the flash-forward? Old enough to have finished college (or even grad school) and be working full-time. Rebecca would be 80-81, and 10-11 years is more than enough time for her disease to progress to the point where she can't recognize anyone and maybe can no longer speak. It's also not unrealistic for Miguel to have died in the meantime; if he's Jack's age he's around 75-76 in the present-day timeline. I thought the aging of Kevin, Randall, Beth, and Toby is plausible for them being around 50.

I do hope that this is the correct timeline and Kevin's kids are the twins he has with Madison. There *is* such a thing as too many twists, IMO; it's easy to fall into gimmick territory, and I hope the show doesn't go there. I watch for the characters, not the twists.

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4 hours ago, chocolatine said:

There have been several comments on the episode thread that the time when everyone congregates at Rebecca's bedside has to be more than 10-11 years in the future and that Kevin must have had a second set of children. From what I understand the timeline works though. The only other child we've seen in the flash-forward is Tess, and she seems to be in her mid- to late 20s. She's 14 in the present day so maybe 24-25 in the flash-forward? Old enough to have finished college (or even grad school) and be working full-time. Rebecca would be 80-81, and 10-11 years is more than enough time for her disease to progress to the point where she can't recognize anyone and maybe can no longer speak. It's also not unrealistic for Miguel to have died in the meantime; if he's Jack's age he's around 75-76 in the present-day timeline. I thought the aging of Kevin, Randall, Beth, and Toby is plausible for them being around 50.

I feel that movie star "maintenance" would allow Kevin to look closer to how he does now, and that they've made Randall look closer to early 60s than 50, but the show needs to differentiate this timeline from the present day one in a pretty instant way.  I think the show could have avoided so many complaints about Rebecca not looking old enough, circa Jack's death, by introducing the glasses at that stage. I watched one of those episodes on a different device than normal and noticed some attempts at aging that went unnoticed on my normal TV.

I agree it's pretty likely that we saw Kevin and Madison's twins at Rebecca's bedside. 

When the flashforwards were introduced, I was really leery, because this isn't some alternate universe sci-fi show and there's no way to know the ways in which the real world will change. Baby Jack's future in 2049 or whenever looks an awful lot like the present day...

Edited by Dejana
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I'm moving my post over from the episode thread that fits here.

So as far as the "main" timeline goes, here is what we know about the Third Generation Pearsons.

  • Deja (fifteen? sixteen?) - Randall

  • Tess (thirteen or fourteen?) - Randall

  • Annie (nine or ten?) - Randall

  • Jack (one) - Kate

  • Haley (unknown age gap between her and Jack) - Kate

  • Baby Girl Twin (currently baking) - Kevin                                       

  • Baby Boy Twin (currently baking) - Kevin

Edited by LexieLily
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Tess is canonically born on Halloween 2008, so she's supposed to only be 11 at this point. So, if the flashforwards are 10-12 years in the future like they're implying that they are, Tess would only be 21-23...which, I dunno, feels too young for the version of Tess we saw in the future. Ignoring the fact that all of the actors looked at least 15 years older than their age in season 3, it's tough to believe that Tess would already be well into her career by the age of 22-23 (we know she was because she already had a few cases of her own and seemed to have enough experience, from what we saw). She should technically still be in school, I would think, or just freshly out of it. 

Plus, in season 3, Randall and Beth definitely looked like they were at least mid 50s, if not a bit older. 

Which is why my theory is that they originally had the flash forwards take place 15 years into the future back at the end of season 2/beginning of season 3. Casting a 27 year old actress to play Tess definitely leans toward my theory. But once they realized that they wanted to introduce Kevin's kid and cast a 10-12 year old, they seemed to want that timeline sped up a bit. So, instead of waiting until season six to have Kevin start a family, they chose this season to do so.

Plus, if they had the flash forwards 15 years in the future from when they introduced it (back in the season 2 finale/all of season 3), the Big Three could be around the age that Jack was when he died (54) instead of having them 50/51. And we all know that this show loves its parallels. 

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They like to age kids on TV sometimes and the actress who plays Tess is 14 or 15 now.  So she could very well have aged be the same as the actress.  But IMHO, it’s kind of pushing the whole “Tess Pearson, social worker for child services” a bit.  Especially given the kind of experience she appears to have (someone concurrently working on a masters degree probably won’t be handling the kind of case she appeared to be working on).  

Edited by PRgal
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29 minutes ago, PRgal said:

They like to age kids on TV sometimes and the actress who plays Tess is 14 Or 15 now.  So she could very well have aged be the same as the actress.  But IMHO, it’s kind of pushing the whole “Tess Pearson, social worker for child services” a bit.  Especially given the kind of experience she appears to have (someone concurrently working on a masters degree probably won’t be handling the kind of case she appeared to be working on).  

It seems like they gave her that job to fit in with the plot line of Deja's coming into the family, if I even remember that correctly.  I think she was working in New Jersey (could be wrong) so that fits where they lived at the time, before the whole Philadelphia story started.  Randall is driving with Tess to the deathbed gathering, Beth is coming separately and gets there first from her dance studio with the Pin the Tail on the Donkey, so I don't even know where they are all located in the future.

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44 minutes ago, ShadowFacts said:

It seems like they gave her that job to fit in with the plot line of Deja's coming into the family, if I even remember that correctly.  I think she was working in New Jersey (could be wrong) so that fits where they lived at the time, before the whole Philadelphia story started.  Randall is driving with Tess to the deathbed gathering, Beth is coming separately and gets there first from her dance studio with the Pin the Tail on the Donkey, so I don't even know where they are all located in the future.

And Rebecca is on her deathbed in Kevin's house beside the Pearson cabin right?  So that is in the woods somewhere in PA. So if they are all driving there separately do they all live in the tri state area? Driving in from the airport?

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17 minutes ago, blondiec0332 said:

And Rebecca is on her deathbed in Kevin's house beside the Pearson cabin right?  So that is in the woods somewhere in PA. So if they are all driving there separately do they all live in the tri state area? Driving in from the airport?

The size of Pennsylvania is fluid in the TIU universe.  Everyone living on the east coast can get to the cabin after work in no time.  The Pearson-Damons live in California so they would have flown in.

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4 hours ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

The size of Pennsylvania is fluid in the TIU universe.  Everyone living on the east coast can get to the cabin after work in no time.  The Pearson-Damons live in California so they would have flown in.

And even air travel is fluid.  Sometimes, it seems like a flight from PA or NJ to California is...1 hour.  And there’s no time difference in their works.  Or a proper northeast winter.  

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1 hour ago, PRgal said:

And even air travel is fluid.  Sometimes, it seems like a flight from PA or NJ to California is...1 hour.  And there’s no time difference in their works.  Or a proper northeast winter.  

Well, in fairness, for flights from PA or NJ to LA take about 6 hours, but you gain 3 hours during the flight. I find it more improbable that everyone seems to be able to hop on a plain to celebrate absolutely anything.  It's not just the expense (which is heavy even for people who are reasonably well off), but taking the time off.  Unless they are taking 6 hour flights to and from Friday to Sunday, how are they doing this, especially when they take the kids?

I don't remember the reference to 2008 for Tess, but that is bonkers.  She didn't seem to be 8 in the first season and she's definitely seemed 13-14 the last season. 

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I don't think they planned this out well. They were more concerned with the shock of twins than they were of lining up the dates. Rebecca looked closer to 90 than 80. Randall and Kevin look late 50's-early 60's, Tess late 20's and the twins 11-12 at most. 

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1 hour ago, RachelKM said:

Well, in fairness, for flights from PA or NJ to LA take about 6 hours, but you gain 3 hours during the flight. I find it more improbable that everyone seems to be able to hop on a plain to celebrate absolutely anything.  It's not just the expense (which is heavy even for people who are reasonably well off), but taking the time off.  Unless they are taking 6 hour flights to and from Friday to Sunday, how are they doing this, especially when they take the kids?

I don't remember the reference to 2008 for Tess, but that is bonkers.  She didn't seem to be 8 in the first season and she's definitely seemed 13-14 the last season. 

It was in the 20s episode.  It was very obviously 2008 with vote Obama stuff all over the house.  

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2 hours ago, PRgal said:

It was in the 20s episode.  It was very obviously 2008 with vote Obama stuff all over the house.  

Oh, I believe you (and didn't doubt it when stated). I just didn't remember it and think it was a stupid move.  The 20s episode was in season 2. The little girl who plays Tess was already 12 by then and claiming he was 9 was a poor choice. 

I don't recall whether she looked young for her age then, but 12/13 is when girls change a lot physically.  Banking on her staying looking prepubescent for another 3-4 years was unreasonable.  The actress is now 14 and looks waaaay too old to pass for 11. 

Also, recent exchanges between Tess and Deja made it seem like she and Deja, who is apparently a freshman in HS, were closer in age and grade. 

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18 hours ago, RachelKM said:

I don't remember the reference to 2008 for Tess, but that is bonkers.  She didn't seem to be 8 in the first season and she's definitely seemed 13-14 the last season. 

In season 2 it was confirmed Tess was born Halloween 2008, we had a flash back episode, and Rebecca joined facebook and reconnected with Miguel during that time. 

That’s the thing with casting child actors. Often they cast older children who look younger (smaller and shorter) so that they have the language skills and emotional maturity required for the part, but with a TV series (compared to a movie) kids grow at way different rates. Especially between 10-14yrs old for girls. 
 

I was someone who always looked way older than my years pre-puberty because I was so tall and fat with a large vocabulary. But after puberty no one ever got my age right because I had a baby face and high voice. 
 

Im just going with what the show runners are telling me with regard to the age of the kids. 

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5 hours ago, Scarlett45 said:

Im just going with what the show runners are telling me with regard to the age of the kids. 

I generally do this too.  What surprised me more was the exchanges between Deja and Tess which seemed to indicate they were closer in age and grade.  Deja appears to be a freshman in HS (in light of being in school with a 15/16  year old boy).  Deja and Tess's interactions and conversations would make sense with Tess 12-13 7th/8th grader, but not as much as an 11 year old who, even if she was allowed to start kindergarten at 4, would only be in 6th grade.

So, the writing is working against accepting Tess as an 11 year old too.

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Unless there is a time jump, there actresses that play Tess and Deja are maturity as puberty hits and they show their real ages rather than the younger ages of the characters. Even Kevin's twins if they keep the same children actors, they are going to appear older when the show finally gets back to filming. The ages of the children is going to fluid enough so it sort of makes sense. The issue for me is future Randall (and to lesser extent movie star Kevin) look much older than 10-12 years into the future.

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I can't find the article now and because I read it on my phone I didn't link it but Dan Fogelman said the flash forward of Rebecca's deathbed was 2034.

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3 hours ago, blondiec0332 said:

I can't find the article now and because I read it on my phone I didn't link it but Dan Fogelman said the flash forward of Rebecca's deathbed was 2034.

In this article, Fogelman says:

Quote


While This Is Us has already fast-forwarded to the future with a salt-and-peppered Randall and a bed-ridden Rebecca, the introduction of an adult Jack in season four moves the timeline several years after that moment. Fogelman confirmed that Kate and Toby's son would be about 12 years old, or "in his teens or pre-teens," in that period with Rebecca and the "her" mystery. "What you're seeing is about 10 years-plus after that," he revealed.

 

 

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Just now, txhorns79 said:

In this article, Fogelman says:

 

The article I read he specifically said 2034. 

OK so we have the  Rebecca deathbed flash forward which is when we see Kevin's twins.  But now we are being told the gray haired Kevin and Randall are in the flash forward where Baby Jack just had a baby?

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4 minutes ago, blondiec0332 said:

But now we are being told the gray haired Kevin and Randall are in the flash forward where Baby Jack just had a baby?

I might be wrong, but my assumption was not that they were all happening at the same time.  I guess the show could be trying to trick us, but in the death bed flash forward, they showed Kevin with a boy and a girl while Madison said she was having twins.  

Also, it would seem a little strange that the rest of the family had gathered for what appears to be Rebecca's death (including Toby), while both of Toby and Kate's kids are off living their normal life.  Even if you presume that Jack and his girlfriend had to stay where they were because of the pregnancy, it seems unlikely the daughter would not have gone to see Rebecca.     

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2 minutes ago, txhorns79 said:

I might be wrong, but my assumption was not that they were all happening at the same time.  I guess the show could be trying to trick us, but in the death bed flash forward, they showed Kevin with a boy and a girl while Madison said she was having twins.  

Also, it would seem a little strange that the rest of the family had gathered for what appears to be Rebecca's death (including Toby), while both of Toby and Kate's kids are off living their normal life.  Even if you presume that Jack and his girlfriend had to stay where they were because of the pregnancy, it seems unlikely the daughter would not have gone to see Rebecca.     

What has me confused (and many others as well) is why Kevin and Randall look so much older if Kevin/Madison's twins are just tweens?

 

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39 minutes ago, blondiec0332 said:

The article I read he specifically said 2034. 

OK so we have the  Rebecca deathbed flash forward which is when we see Kevin's twins.  But now we are being told the gray haired Kevin and Randall are in the flash forward where Baby Jack just had a baby?

I don't think so. It's not worded very well but I think he's saying two separate things. The FF at Rebecca's death bed is when Jack is teen/pre-teen, and the scenes of him as an adult are ten years after that.

 

ETA: So we know Kevin and Randall are silver-haired/graying. Tess is old enough to be a social worker. Kevin's kids are pre-teen. Jack is 'on the way' with someone, possibly Kate. Or since we now know that they also have another child, 'they' could be Jack and his sister (whose name escapes me). If they do adopt an older child, it's possible that she's old enough to be driving Jack to the house on her own.  Beth is there, as well as Nicky and Toby. Still unaccounted for, Miguel, Annie, Deja, Kate, Kevin's baby mama(s).

Edited by gonzosgirrl
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13 minutes ago, gonzosgirrl said:

Still unaccounted for, Miguel, Annie, Deja, Kate, Kevin's baby mama(s).

The way the show is and how little input Randall, Kevin or Kate seem to give Miguel, I presume that once Rebecca was no longer able to care for herself, the Big Three divorced him on her behalf.   

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19 minutes ago, txhorns79 said:

The way the show is and how little input Randall, Kevin or Kate seem to give him, I presume that once Rebecca was no longer able to care for herself, the Big Three divorced him on her behalf.   

Or, he has slowly become the manifestation of the manner in which he's been ignored for 25+ years and has literally faded into the drapes.  In which case, he's there, but we (like the Big Three) just can't see him. 

Edited by RachelKM
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This Is Us regularly depicts different decades of the past, but the idea that it could also be presenting multiple eras of "the future" seems to be tripping viewers up. Maybe because it's fairly easy to recognize 1970s/1980s/1990s/etc. on sight (unless the show is deliberately trying to hide it, i.e., the pilot), while decades that haven't happened yet don't have obvious signifiers?

I think Randall and Kevin look a bit old for their early 50s, but not everyone ages at the same rate and the quality of the show's aging makeup has always been uneven. The only stock I can really put into how Kevin and Randall look, as Rebecca is dying, is that the show wants us to know right away that they're somewhat older than they are in the present. More importantly, we've been shown Jack v2.0 as a married adult/new father and Tess as a social worker, played by actors who appear to be twentysomethings. Given the age difference between Tess and Jack v2.0, they can't both be in their 20s at the same time.

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On 3/31/2020 at 4:53 PM, Dejana said:

This Is Us regularly depicts different decades of the past, but the idea that it could also be presenting multiple eras of "the future" seems to be tripping viewers up. Maybe because it's fairly easy to recognize 1970s/1980s/1990s/etc. on sight (unless the show is deliberately trying to hide it, i.e., the pilot), while decades that haven't happened yet don't have obvious signifiers?

I think Randall and Kevin look a bit old for their early 50s, but not everyone ages at the same rate and the quality of the show's aging makeup has always been uneven. The only stock I can really put into how Kevin and Randall look, as Rebecca is dying, is that the show wants us to know right away that they're somewhat older than they are in the present. More importantly, we've been shown Jack v2.0 as a married adult/new father and Tess as a social worker, played by actors who appear to be twentysomethings. Given the age difference between Tess and Jack v2.0, they can't both be in their 20s at the same time.

For Randall, politics can age you fairly quickly.  For Kevin, maybe looking "older" (because of his facial hair) could be for a movie he's in?  We don't know if he's still acting at 50-something.  

Edited by PRgal

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1 hour ago, PRgal said:

For Randall, politics can age you fairly quickly.  For Kevin, maybe looking "older" (because of his facial hair) could be for a movie he's in?  We don't know if he's still acting at 50-something.  

maybe kevin is aged because he has randall as a brother, i imagine having someone like that as a family member would age anyone , maybe that explains rebecca too

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On 3/26/2020 at 9:54 AM, ShadowFacts said:

It seems like they gave her that job to fit in with the plot line of Deja's coming into the family, if I even remember that correctly.  I think she was working in New Jersey (could be wrong) so that fits where they lived at the time, before the whole Philadelphia story started.  Randall is driving with Tess to the deathbed gathering, Beth is coming separately and gets there first from her dance studio with the Pin the Tail on the Donkey, so I don't even know where they are all located in the future.

99% sure Tess was working in the Essex County Department of Social Services - aka the county Newark, NJ is in (Where Deja and her mom were living)

Philly-Newark (They have a few offices for CPS in Newark) is a 90 minute drive.

Edited by bros402

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