This Is Us returned to the air on Tuesday night, kicking off the second half of its third season with a necessary and important update on a certain Pearson couple. No, not Kate and Toby (though they’re doing fine, at least this week, setting up a nursery for their baby boy to be) or Kevin and Zoe (who moved in together, broke up, and then re-affirmed their cohabitation), but Randall and Beth.
Fans have been worried about Randall and Beth’s future since that meaty fall finale in late November, when Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was relegated to the couch after he rejected Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) request for him to drop out of this seemingly unwinnable election. On Tuesday, during “The Last Seven Weeks,” viewers nervously gnawed their nails while the couple exchanged icy barbs, but later were able to breath a sigh of relief — at least temporarily; Brown hints that “we’re about to get into the nitty-gritty of it all” — when Randall was able to relocate back to the bed, and with his wife’s help, he wound up pulling off a huge upset by defeating Sol Brown (Rob Morgan) in the City Council race. Fans wondering about Randall and Beth in the future, however, may have to wait a while for resolution.
This Is Us has been slowly doling out ominous puzzle pieces in the Who Is Her? mystery that is set two decades into the future, with Future Randall and Adult Tess grimly preparing to see “her” (all but revealed in the fall finale to be Mandy Moore’s Rebecca), and Randall asking Tess to call Beth instead of it doing it himself. In that fall finale, viewers got a peek at Beth, lording (coldly?) over her dance studio, reminding her assistant that she had to bring the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game with her. (On the hopeful side, Randall is wearing his wedding ring — unlike Toby — though, of course that doesn’t confirm that they’re still married.) While Brown understandably shies away from revealing much of anything about Randall and Beth’s status in the distant future (“I’d ruin the whole thing,” he says), he is willing to reveal this about their situation. “They always… and never stop loving each other,” he tells EW.
With Rebecca still alive — at least for now; she could be on her deathbed — one wonders: how dire is the scenario into which everyone is headed? “It’s intense,” offers Brown. “It’s an intense situation that is shrouded in sadness. It’s a rough thing that people are coming together for.”
Watson recently told EW that said event represented “completion in a way” and that “something very complete happens in that moment.” Brown agrees with that characterization, adding, “I feel like the way that the show begins, it ends in a way that makes sense. That’s all I can say.”
Fans and family members had plenty to say to Brown after the fall finale, issuing warnings that this beloved family drama had better not break up this even more beloved couple. They also had some strong opinions on how Future Randall looks, especially compared with Future Beth. “My wife [This Is Us guest star Ryan Michelle Bathe] just clowns me,” says Brown. “She says, ‘Future Randall look like he just gave up. He’s not working out. He ain’t using no Just for Men. Like, what happened to him? Future Beth look like she’s living her best life, but you need to figure it out, because you run every day, and it looks you just stopped.'”
Add that to the growing list of questions as fans wait for the next precious puzzle piece to snap into place in this foreboding flash-forward mystery.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.