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Entertainment Weekly

TV

This Is Us season 2: Sterling K. Brown teases tension in adoption story

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

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The season 1 finale of This Is Us ended on a feel-bad note for Jack and Rebecca — there will be at least a temporary split in their future — but elsewhere in the Pearson family, the good feelings seem to be flowing. Especially when it came to Randall. After scanning through some old family photos and reflecting on his journey with his adopted and birth fathers, the family man (Sterling K. Brown) who had just quit his job now informed his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), that he was interested in adding a third child to their family through adoption, which would bring things full-circle for the man who was brought into the Pearsons to help form the Big Three.

“I did hear quite a bit of it, especially from transracial adoptees who were in a similar position to Randall,” Brown tells EW. “The idea of adopting and paying it forward was something that was very appealing to them.”

The story line took his onscreen wife by pleasant surprise. “I just did not see that coming,” Watson tells EW. “And the first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, I don’t know that Beth is going to love that!’ [Laughs] But it made sense, [given] the type of person that Randall is, wanting to emulate his father in that way.”

RELATED: The 21 Weepiest Moments of Season 1 of This Is Us

You probably noticed Randall’s admission at the end of the finale caught Beth off-guard — and that will be the jumping-off point for the couple when the NBC family drama returns for season 2. “I know that Beth and Randall don’t feel exactly the same way about adoption,” hints Brown. “We pick up with them very much in the midst of making that decision — to move forward, not to move forward, how to move forward, if indeed they do. They are not on the same page, I can say that much.”

And Watson says… well, the same thing. “I think it’s a big proposal, and it’s something she hasn’t thought about and has to try to wrap her brain around,” she shares. “But I also think that she was not planning to have more kids, even when she thought that they were pregnant, she was really not that enthusiastic to take that on. And to not know the circumstances of that child or where they’re coming from and all of that — it’s a huge deal… I’m not sure how on board she can get.”

In any case, prepare to see the most stable relationship on the show face a bit of a challenge. “It’s fun to see them be at odds about something,” notes Watson. Adds Brown: “When you’re married for any extended period of time, folks have arguments. People can deal with them in a constructive way, but they don’t become combatants, they’re still partners in figuring out a problem. That’s something worth showing on TV.”

Season 2 of This Is Us begins Sept. 26 on NBC.

Series creator Dan Fogelman hints that the season 2 premiere “holds not all the answers but a huge piece of the puzzle” about Jack’s death, which you can read about here.

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