this-is-us

The most emotional This is Us episodes, ranked

All the moments that had us reaching for the tissues

Eve Crosbie

This is Us has been a smash-hit with audiences since it first aired in 2016. The NBC show, which tells the story of the Pearson family over several generations, has had us reaching from the tissues from the very first episode. But which episodes are the real tearjerkers?

MORE: This is Us: see the cast and their real-life children here

Keep reading for our rundown of the top five most emotional episodes of the series so far...

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WATCH: This is Us season five continues on Tuesdays on NBC

5. Songbird Road: Part One

The mystery of what happened to Jack's young brother Nicky has hung over the series for more than a season and this episode finally delivered on answers. Only, it turns out the truth is far more heartbreaking than we could have ever have imagined. 

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Songbird Road: Part One, season three, episode 11

Between present-day scenes and flashbacks to the war, we learn that Nicky was responsible for the accidental death of a little Vietnamese boy while serving as a soldier alongside Jack. Because of Nick's anti-Vietnamese attitude established in past episodes, Jack thinks Nick purposefully killed the child and never speaks to him again, leading Nicky to have a psychotic break.

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It's truly crushing to watch, and the knife is twisted further when we learn that Nicky isn't aware that Jack passed years earlier, leaving Kevin, Randall and Kate to break the news to him.

4. Number One

Poor Kevin. Up until this episode, we didn't know just how much he was suffering. Through flashbacks, we learn of the life-changing fracture that meant he can never play football again.

Meanwhile, in the present day, his downward spiral of drinking and drugs, triggered by a new leg injury, reaches breaking point as he returns to Pittsburg for a school alumni event. Dishevelled and slurring his words, he's in no fit state to be there. The only thing is, no one seems to notice. 

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Number One, season two, episode eight

While his hallucination that it's his dad handing him the award had our eyes prickling, it was when he starts giving a play-by-play of his repeated failures out on his old football field to an empty crowd that really had us bawling. Oh, Kevin - we just want to hold him.

3. The Wedding

This episode requires a few extra tissues, as Kate can't stop thinking about her father on her special day. Not only do we get a dream sequence of an alternate reality where Jack lives to old age (complete with greying beard and glasses), but through flashbacks, we see one of the most tender moments between the two. 

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The Wedding, season two, episode 18

As a young Kate grapples with boy troubles, Jack reassures her she will one day find a perfect husband and he'll be there to walk her down the aisle when she does. It's truly devastating as it hits home all the major moments Jack has and will continue to miss out on in his children's lives.

2. Memphis

How could we forget William's bittersweet trip to Memphis back in season one? With his health rapidly deteriorating, Randall takes his biological father on a road trip to his birthplace of Memphis, Tennessee. While there, Randall - and us viewers - learn more about William's life before he became an addict, including his early success in a jazz band.

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Memphis, season one, episode 16

Sadly, things take a turn for the worse and William is rushed to hospital and passes away, but not before hearing Randall call him 'Dad' for the first and only time. Pass the tissues.

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1. Super Bowl Sunday

Of course, Super Bowl Sunday takes the number one spot. More than 26million viewers tuned in to finally find out exactly how and why Jack died after nearly two seasons of flashbacks, references and shots of the Pearson house burned down - and we think we speak for everyone when we say we ugly cried watching the tragic events play out. 

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Super Bowl Sunday, season two, episode 14

The most crushing part of the episode is learning that Jack did make it out of the house fire alive, even after going back for some of the families most beloved possessions, including Louie the dog. Just as things seem fine for the Pearson patriarch, he suffers a heart attack brought on by smoke inhalation. His death is quiet and off-screen but still manages to feel like a punch to the gut.

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