All of this is to say that watching the Pearsons go through normal Pearson problems, on top of watching them go through very real and very raw problems, provided two extremely depressing hours of television.
Few shows have a strong grasp on their winning formula this late into the game, but This Is Us isn't most shows. The series somehow juggles a dozen character arcs, the worst of humanity's struggles, and Kevin's weird obsession with Chris Evans.
Brown was, as usual, sensational, as Randall dealt with issues that he has previously been reluctant to discuss... The mix of micro and macro most successfully collided within that character, offering a promising foundation for the season to come.
Yet putting aside these important plot developments, what is most impressive about this return of "This Is Us" is its mature way of commenting on the world to which it returns. It's the perfect show to do so.