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This Is Us spends some more time on “Songbird Road”

Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz
Photo: Ron Batzdorff (NBC)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, February 12. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.): Since the resolution of the weirdly morbid “How did Jack Pearson die?” mystery—it was a combination of slow-cooker, family dog, smoke inhalation, and both real and fictional Super Bowls—This Is Us has turned to two more apparent mysteries. The big one got an answer not that long ago: Jack Pearson’s brother, Nicky, is alive, and he’s not doing great.

In the first part of “Songbird Road,” the Big Three headed out to see their long-lost uncle, and something that was honest-to-god unexpected happened: This Is Us began to interrogate the legacy of Jack Pearson. Here’s our own Caroline Siede on the first half of this two-parter:

This Is Us has been dancing around the idea of repression as Jack’s biggest flaw for some time now, but it’s really brought front and center here. And “Songbird Road: Part One” (named after the street on which Nicky lives) is at its most nuanced in the way it observes how Jack’s bullish commitment to repression creates a situation wherein everyone around him is forced to follow suit. Nicky and Rebecca both have moments where they briefly try to start a difficult conversation with Jack before he shuts them down with a forcefulness they find impossible to refute. It’s a reality present day Rebecca is just starting to fully grapple with as she comes to realize just how much her husband kept from her. For as warm and caring as Jack could be, his emotional suppression had wide-reaching consequences on those around him. A big part of the way Rebecca parented after his death (and a big part of the way the Big Three act as adults) seems to have been shaped by the legacy of emotional repression Jack left behind.

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So sure, some of This Is Us’ melodrama is pretty wacky, but it can also be pretty smart about the messiness of people. We’re looking forward to this one, and to Caroline Siede’s recap.

Regular coverage

The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.)

Wild card

Miracle Workers (TBS, 10:30 p.m.): We’re also looking forward to Miracle Workers, “a Heaven-set workplace comedy” from Simon Rich (Man Seeking Woman) in which Steve Buscemi, naturally, plays God. The series centers on a low-level angel named Craig, who is tasked with managing the prayers of humanity; Craig is played by Daniel Radcliffe, who continues his post-Potter streak of doing stuff that’s either kind of weird, a musical, or both. This falls in the “weird” category, but we’re crossing our fingers for some tap-dancing, too.

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About the author

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.