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It seems like we’ve been waiting forever for the return of our favourite family drama This Is Us. We love summer and all, but the Pearson clan has definitely been missed. Luckily the wait is almost over since the series is officially back for season three as of Tuesday, Sept. 24, when it returns to its 9 p.m. ET slot on CTV.

Ahead of the first episode back, “Ave Maria,” there has been plenty of speculation about what might happen to The Big Three, what kind of flashbacks (or flashforwards!) there could be this season, and what other tear-inducing storylines the writers might have in store for us. Sadly we don’t know much—this is one super tight-lipped cast—but we do know a few key nuggets:

Deja is a full-time player

If you were pumped about the return of Deja to Randall and Beth’s household last season then you’ll be extra pumped to know the actress who plays her, Lyric Ross, is on board in a full-time capacity this season. From the sounds of things she’s going to have quite the impact on the storyline: not only will we meet her father and learn about his backstory, but it seems like Deja’s reintroduction into Beth and Randall’s lives will cause some turmoil within our favourite couple’s marriage, too.

As if they didn’t go through enough already last season. Sigh.

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Beth’s cousin is back

Know who else is back in a full-time capacity? Melanie Liburd, the actress who played Beth’s cousin Zoe at the end of last season. If you’ll recall, we saw Zoe and Kevin in a flashforward as they were touching down in Vietnam, all snuggled together in those airplane seats. Obviously Beth is not going to take Kevin dating the person who was like a sister to her very well—we all know Beth and Kevin have had their things.

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We’ll learn more about Beth in general

Speaking of Beth, it seems like we’re about to dig a little deeper into her family history. The writers have promised that one of the earlier episodes will be devoted to exploring Beth’s backstory, something we’ve been wanting to see since season one.

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Toby’s backstory will come to the forefront

When we last saw Toby it was during a pretty sad flash-forward sequence, in which he was in bed, crippled with depression. While we’re not 100 per cent sure that we’ll be exploring the genesis of that moment this season, we do know the writers are finally dipping into the issue of Toby’s family and backstory. One has to do with the other, right?

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It’s Rebecca and Miguel’s time to shine

Poor Miguel seems to be the dude that everyone loves to hate on, and we get why. It’s hard to live under the shadow cast by Jack Pearson, after all. But hopefully the third season is the turning point in Miguel’s public image, especially now that we know some of the story will be dedicated to Rebecca and Miguel’s romance and what their life is like behind closed doors.

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We’re going to Vietnam

Of course we could never completely forget about Jack. The season promises to feature plenty of flashbacks to Papa Pearson’s life, and that includes his time on Earth before he met and married Rebecca. And we already know a large part of that life includes Vietnam and his brother Nicky, who will be played this season by Michael Angarano. Now let’s just all prepare ourselves for Nicky’s inevitable death episode, shall we? Double sigh.

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Jack’s death still factors into it all

Just because we know how Jack died doesn’t mean the writers are done twisting the knife in our hearts. This season they plan on jumping ahead a little bit to the year after Jack died, exploring how his passing affected each of The Big Three and the important life decisions they were forced to make following his devastating and unexpected death.

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Expect more flash-forwards and time play

Seeing an aged Randall speak to his adult daughter Tess in the finale was a ballbuster moment for the series to be sure. Not only did it break format from the show in general, but it set up what will be the third season’s big mystery: who the “her” is that Randall and Tess were talking about going to see. The good news is that we now know Beth doesn’t die (as per the fan theory that quickly surfaced following the episode), but the bad news is that with this show we should definitely prepare for the unexpected.

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Let’s be real though: those moments are exactly why we love the show so much in the first place.

 

This Is Us returns Tuesday, September 25 at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.