See Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia in This Is Us season 4 first look photos

The time-rearranging, tear-duct-straining This Is Us returns next month with a journey into the early ‘70s to learn more about a couple of Pearsons — specifically, the couple that started the Pearsons.

The season 4 premiere of NBC’s demonstrative family drama explores the early courtship between Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), the latter of whom recently returned from combat in Vietnam. As you see, Jack will need to suit up and meet the parents of his new girlfriend. “There are going to be some family dynamics that enter the equation from my side, having to contend with my parents and their thoughts on him,” Moore tells EW. Ventimiglia hints at a man in transition from the traumas of war. “I’m curious to see how Jack boxes it all up and stuffs it away,” he says, “and I think it’s going to be a process.”

Meanwhile, in the present day, the Big Three are unpacking boxes and adjusting to their new lives. “Restarts for everybody,” says creator Dan Fogelman, who recently told EW that season 4 will be “very ambitious and sprawling in terms of how it plays with time.” Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Kate (Chrissy Metz) build their new life in a new home with fresh-out-of-the-NICU baby Jack. Newly sober and relocated-to-L.A. Kevin (Justin Hartley) begins work on a new movie. (“It’s a huge opportunity,” hints Hartley, and viewers will get a glimpse of it in the second episode). Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) reconnect after relocating the family to Philadelphia, where you’ll see them celebrate Randall’s birthday. The Big Three Birthday may be a season premiere tradition, but this episode aims to surprise in other ways. “Subversive” is the word that Brown uses to describe the premiere. “It’s really cool,” he hints, “and it broadens our world in a way.” Sounds like TV’s biggest drama aims to get even bigger.

Check out the photos above and beneath this story to get your first official peek at season 4. This Is Us, which is nominated for nine Emmys, ends its six-month hiatus on Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. ET.

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