The season 2 finale of This Is Us left viewers with a new mystery to chew on, as a flash-forward featured old Randall (Sterling K. Brown) mysteriously telling adult Tess (Iantha Richardson), “It’s time to go see her.” When Tess replied, “I’m not ready,” Randall agreed: “I’m not either.”
Fans have been speculating that who this “her” might be — as well as why neither of them is ready to see “her”— and one intriguing/alarming theory was that father and daughter are referring to a graveyard visit to see wife and mother Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).
One person who was not making that morbid Beth connection: Watson herself. “I didn’t know that I was going to die,” she deadpans to EW. “It didn’t even cross my mind, so when I saw people tweeting about it, writing articles about it, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re kidding!’ My first thought was, ‘Oh, this is hilarious.” And then people really took it seriously.”
Perhaps no one more so than her mother. “My mom was like, ‘I’m not going to watch this show next season,'” she says. “I was like, ‘Why?’ She’s like, ‘Because they’re going to kill you, and I don’t like it.’ And I was like, ‘Mom, they’re not going to kill me!’ Dan [Fogelman, the show’s creator] and I spoke about it — they’re not going to kill Beth. She’s going to survive. It feels good to know.”
That said, “I still think there’s mystery there, and I understand why,” says Watson. “Dan would like us to keep it there, so I’m going to stay away from it! That’s as much as I can say.”
(For the record, cast members do know the outcome of this mystery. “I know who the person is that future-Randall is referring to, but Fogelman would cut off my big toe if I actually told you who it was,” Brown recently told EW. “But I can tell you it’s probably not what you suspect. In classic Fogelman style, it will be like, ‘Oh, wow — didn’t see that coming.’”)
There will be plenty of Beth-based action in season 3, and some of it will revolve around her family. Her cousin, Zoe (Melanie Liburd), whom you met in the season 2 finale, was last seen in a flash-forward jetting off to Vietnam with her new boyfriend and Beth’s brother-in-law, Kevin (Justin Hartley). You might want to brace for some drama there, given that Beth has had issues with Kevin, especially after he got drunk and (unknowingly) took her daughter for a ride that ended in his arrest. “I think it will be very interesting, don’t you?” says Watson about this new pairing. “I think she’ll have a lot of opinions on that.” In addition, the show finally will explore Beth’s immediate family — Fogelman referred to a showcase episode for the character — and start to tell the story of her past with her three sisters. “It’s great because it unfolds so slowly that it gives us time to really take our time with this story and not just get there so quickly,” she says. “I like that about Beth and her story line.”
Beth’s story line also will be pocked with challenges as she and Randall continue to try to help foster child Deja (Lyric Ross), who was abandoned by her mother and has re-entered the Pearson household kicking, screaming, and swinging a baseball bat. (“Not good,” she says of the Mercedes-bashing. “That’s definitely at least a time-out.”) “It’s going to be that rough transition of dealing with that,” says Watson. “And that seems to be a real thing, especially with feeling abandoned and wanting to be a part of your natural-born family, and what effect that has on Randall and Beth.”
A Beth who appears will be very much alive.
Season 3 of This Is Us debuts this fall on NBC.