WARNING: This article contains “This Is Us” Season 4 spoilers. Read at your own risk.
“This Is Us” Season 4 premiered on NBC on September 24, 2019. The first of the 18 episodes of the season is titled “Strangers,” which was written by Dan Fogelman, the creator of the comedy-drama series, and directed by Ken Olin.
“This Is Us” Season 4 was produced by Rhode Island Ave. Productions, Zaftig Films and 20th Century Fox Television. Fogelman’s fellow executive producers are Olin, Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, Charlie Gogolak and Jess Rosenthal.
Season 3 ended with the fateful road trip to California. Season 4 starts with Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore), who just arrived back in Pittsburgh, figuring out how they move forward with their relationship and meet each other’s respective families.
In “Strangers,” “This Is Us” fans will see more of the early days of Jack and Rebecca’s relationship. For the first time, he will meet her parents Dave Malone (Tim Matheson) and Janet Malone (Elizabeth Perkins), who is racist.
Viewers will meet new characters in the season. Among them are present-day war veteran Cassidy Sharp (Jennifer Morrison), present-day teenage father Malik (Asante Blackk) and adult Jack Damon (Blake Stadnik), the son of Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan).
“All of these new characters had relationships to the Big Three and less so Jack and Rebecca so it felt like a good thing to anchor the show with the parents,” Fogelman told Variety. “It felt like it would also be enough of a roadmap for the audience where just when you’re away from your characters too long, you get a lot of Milo and Mandy to keep us in our world while we’re also expanding it.”
Fans of the show will need a little more time to get to know the new characters. “Strangers” may not be enough to explain their impacts to the lives of the Pearson family members.
“This is a starting point,” Fogelman pointed out. “The next three, four, five episodes are just wildly traditional episodes of the show.”
Present-day Nicholas “Nick” Pearson (Griffin Dunne) is now a regular character in Season 4, Deadline reported. Dunne’s role was introduced as a recurring character in Season 3 as Jack’s younger brother, who was once presumed dead.
Marsha Stephanie Blake is also playing a new character in “This Is Us” Season 4. She will play the husband of Darnell (Omar Epps) and mother of Malik, who will have a budding flirtation with Deja (Lyric Ross) in “Strangers.”
Malik’s parents will interact with the family of Deja, the foster child of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth Pearson (Susan Kelechi Watson). With these characters, there is “some interesting socio-economic dynamics,” Fogelman said.
Fogelman described Blake and Epps as exceptional actors. According to the “This Is Us” creator, putting the two actors with Brown and Watson “is incredibly exciting.”
Here is a discussion about the first episode of “This Is Us” Season 4: