In Season 3 of NBC’s hit drama, This Is Us, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and their mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore) learn that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was not truthful about his dead brother Nicky (Griffin Dunne).
After finding out that Nicky is actually very much alive, the Big Three take a trip to visit their long-lost uncle in hopes of discovering the truth about why he and their father became estranged.
Fast forward to Season 5 of This is Us: In Episode 11, where viewers see flashbacks of Nicky’s life before and after the Vietnam War, many can’t help but wonder what his life would have been like if Nicky and Jack hadn't stopped talking to one another.
Keep reading to find out the reason why Jack and Nicky stopped talking, and what could have been of their relationship.
Why did Jack and Nicky stop talking on 'This Is Us'?
While the brothers are serving in the Vietnam War, Nicky accidentally kills a young boy named Lanh (Tan Ly). Before the horrific accident, Jack is seen talking to Nicky, who's been having a hard time in the war, and took to drinking and doing drugs to numb his pain. Jack tells his brother the last time he sees him that he will help him get clean again, but Nicky wants nothing to with Jack's plan and wanders off intoxicated and devastated.
Lanh comes across a sulking Nicky and the two ends up going fishing. The way Nicky fishes is by throwing hand grenades in the water, and when Nicky throws in the first one, Lanh is enamored with underwater explosions and tries to grab the second grenade from Nicky to throw it in the water. When the kid does this, the pin is accidentally pulled early, and the grenade falls inside the boat.
Nicky tries to tell the child to jump off the boat, but he can't get him off because of the language barrier. Instead, Nicky saves his own life, and Lanh dies in the explosion. It turns out that incident caused a giant rift between the Pearson brothers.
Jack angrily yelled at Nicky, saying, "He was just a kid. I'm done, I'm done!," then didn't speak to him again for quite some time. Years later, Nicky would mail Jack postcards but never told his brother what happened that day, and Jack ignored the postcards.
After receiving yet another postcard from Nicky, viewers see Jack visit his brother in Season 3 of This Is Us. They reminisce briefly, and Nicky tries to explain that the boat explosion was an accident, but Jack doesn't want to hear it.
That's when Nicky told Jack he would not contact him anymore, and Jack and Nicky stop talking for good.
What could have been if Nicky and Jack hadn't stopped talking?
If Jack had tried to get back on speaking terms with his brother once he was back from Vietnam, he might have forgiven Nicky for the dark accident. If he had just listened to Nicky's side of the story, they might have been able to help one another get through the rough times they had after the war, and Nicky might not have ended up spending most of his life drunk in a cruddy trailer.
Plus, if they'd never stopped talking, Nicky might have been there to celebrate his brother's wedding at the American Legion, and even bonded with the old war buddies that had gathered together. Nicky could have also been a part of the earlier years of his niece and nephews' lives.
Episode 11 of This Is Us, which aired on March 23, brings up a lot of what-ifs. There's a lot of mystery when it comes to Nicky's past and what he's gone through over the years.
It's heartwarming to know there's some light when it comes to Uncle Nicky's future, and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds!
Watch new episodes of This Is Us every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.