'This is Us' Recap: Season 3, Episode 11 Tells Nicky Pearson's Story

In This is Us Season 3, Episode 11, the Big Three get some answers about the troubled relationship between Jack and his brother Nicky Catch up on everything that happened in Episode 11 - Songbird Road in our complete recap, here.

This is Us Season 3 has been all about delving into Jack's past, discovering the origins of Jack and Rebecca's relationship and revealing secrets both of them held from their children. In Episode 11 - Songbird Road Part 1, viewers are finally given answers about the tumultuous relationship between Jack and his kid brother Nicky, and what lead to Jack telling his family that Nicky had died in Vietnam.

As the episode unfolds, two parallel road trips to Bradford, PA are taking place — one in the past when Jack makes a visit to Nicky after Vietnam, and the other in the present as the Pearson siblings go in search of their long lost uncle.

The episode begins by showing a series of postcards Jack receives at his office from his brother Nicky over the years. Each time a new one arrives, Jack reads it quickly and then stows it away in a drawer. It isn't until one of Nicky's postcards makes its way to Jack's home address that he decides to pay his brother a visit.

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Kevin and Zoe find a postcard for Nicky to Jack, proving Jack's brother didn't die in Vietnam NBC

Back in the present, Kevin shows his mother and siblings the postcard he and Zoe found dated 1992 — the same postcard that drove Jack to visit Nicky. The postcard provides the final piece of proof Kevin needs that Nicky is still alive. Kevin proposes the Big Three take a road trip to see if their uncle still lives at the address and the three set off on their journey.

Jack makes a trip to Bradford, PA

The scene flashes back to 1992 as Jack prepares for his own road trip after receiving Nicky's final postcard. He doesn't let Rebecca in on where he's headed. Instead, he tells her it's a work-related trip.

When Jack arrives at the address on the postcard, he discovers his brother is living in a rundown RV camper and it sparks a memory of the two as boys. In the memory, Nicky shares his dream of owning a pair of houses and a boat by a lake. When Jack tells him he'll have to be rich to have all that, Nicky responds that he will be. Nicky says he wants to be a doctor or surgeon when he grows up. Jack tells him he's smart enough. The memory fades into the present as Jack looks at his brother's rundown accommodations. You can hear the voices of the boys saying, "big old houses on a big old lake," as Jack knocks on his brother's door.

When Nicky answers, Jack asks how he got Jack's home address and not to send him mail there anymore. Jack prepares to leave but Nicky asks if he wants to come in for a beer. Jack says he doesn't drink anymore. Nicky offers him Nesquik instead and Jack steps inside.

As Nicky makes the Nesquik, Jack assesses his brother living accommodations. Nicky notices and tells him he had a real house once but that this was easier to manage. Nicky pulls out an old box of photos from Vietnam that he had been saving for Jack. The two begin reminiscing about their days as boys together. The brothers' bond seems to be rekindled and Nicky attempts to talk to Jack about the day he left Vietnam, but Jack refuses to listen saying he wants to leave it in the past. At that moment the bond between them seems to fray and Jack asks Nicky not to contact him anymore. As Jack prepares to leave, Nicky asks if he ruined Jack's life. Jack says no, he's got a great life and shows Nicky a picture of his family in their home. Nicky seems to fall into despair as he says, "You have a nice house," and promises not to write anymore.

The Big Three seek answers

In the present, Randall, Kevin and Kate's begin their own road trip with some light-hearted sibling banter. Things soon grow somber, however, as Kate and Kevin reveal how shaken they are by their father's deception and wonder why he kept Nicky's whereabouts a secret. Randall says he believes they are about to embark upon some "Shakespearean level tragedy."

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The Big Three take a road trip to Bradford PA to find their long lost uncle in "This is Us" season 3, episode 11. NBC

The Big Three arrive at Nicky's address and Kevin moves to knock on the door. When no one answers, he begins peering through windows — much to Kate's chagrin. Moments later Nicky appears behind the trio carrying a brown bag. The three introduce themselves as Jack's kids.

When Nicky asks if Jack knows they are there, Kate tells him Jack is dead. Nicky is visibly shaken and begins walking to the door of his camper. He goes inside but leaves the door open and Kate, Kevin and Randall follow him in.

While Nicky shuffles around trying to clean up his cluttered space, the three try to make small talk. Kevin eventually tells Nicky that Jack said he died in Vietnam. When Nicky fails to respond, Kevin asks why Jack would say that. Nicky tells them they've wasted their time and asks them to leave, but Kate refuses. Sighing, Nicky says he can tell they are Jack's kids and invites them to sit down. He proceeds to tell them his story.

Nicky's story unfolds

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What happened to Nicky in Vietnam? NBC

Nicky explains how he was drafted into the army and Jack later enlisted to try to find him. Nicky shares that he was a medic in Vietnam, and "sampled his own inventory," getting high on anything he could get his hands on. Nicky said Jack came to try to clean him up but that it didn't work. Eventually, he was pulled out for psychiatric reasons. When Kevin again questions why their father lied to them, Nicky is visibly shaken. "He should have never come for me," Nicky says.

The scene flashes back to Nicky in Vietnam taking a variety of pills and smoking. He appears to be in poor mental health. One day a small Vietnamese boy finds Nicky passed out on the ground and the two become friendly. Nicky ends up taking the boy out on a boat to fish. On the boat, Nicky tosses a grenade into the lake so they can gather a lot of fish at once. The two are having a grand time together, but when Nicky moves to a new spot to drop his grenade, the boy wants to try it himself and grabs the grenade from him. Nicky tries to take the grenade back, but it slips out of his hands and lands under the boy's seat. Nicky tries to warn the boy to get off the boat but the language barrier causes him to act too late. Nicky survives the explosion but the boy does not. When Jack finds out about the boy's death he screams at Nicky saying "What did you do?!?" Nicky is too stunned to respond. Jack yells that he's finished with Nicky making it clear he thinks his brother killed the boy on purpose. It is at this point that Nicky is pulled out of Vietnam and Jack resolves to forget about his brother.

"I never got to tell him," Nicky says to Kevin as he finishes his tale.

Nicky then explains how his brother always saw things in black and white and that is why he had two lives — the one before the Vietnam incident and the one after. Nicky said Jack walked away from his old life because "once Jack picked a direction he never changed course." It was this way of thinking that allowed Jack to put the war behind and never look back. "I wasn't so lucky," said Nicky.

Kevin corrects the past

When Nicky asks how Jack died, Randall relays the story of the house fire and how Jack courageously rescued his family. Nicky looks broken by sadness and asks the trio to leave. The siblings reluctantly agree, but it's clear Kevin is tormented by this as he hesitates to leave his uncle behind.

On the way back home Kate and Randall have Kevin stop at a gas station for snacks and the restroom. In the car, Kevin sits pensively as he recalls a memory of his father telling him that "a kid can either repeat the mistakes of his old man or correct them." When Kate and Randall get back in the car, Kevin tells them he's going back for Nicky, saying he can't leave him alone the way their father did.

When Kate, Kevin and Randall arrive at Nicky's trailer they find him sitting despondently in his living room with a gun on the table. When they ask if he's ok he repeats, "I never got to tell him, it was an accident." Kevin lays a hand on Nicky's back and it's clear the Pearson family is about to grow again.

What do you think of Nicky's story? How will Rebecca respond when the Big Three bring him home? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

'This is Us' Recap: Season 3, Episode 11 Tells Nicky Pearson's Story | Culture