This Is Us has been doing a steady and thorough job of digging into the past of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) — one-third of the Big Three — but the backstory of his wife has not been explored. That all changes Feb. 19 with a highly anticipated episode of the NBC family drama that delves into the earlier days of Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), with guest stars Phylicia Rashad as Beth’s mom, Carol, and Goran Visnjic as Beth’s teacher.
Titled “Our Little Island Girl,” the episode revolves around Beth and her cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) road-tripping to D.C. to visit Carol, and through flashbacks, it unspools the story of Beth’s upbringing, while tying together those images that we saw in the fall finale’s flash-forward, with Beth lording over a ballet studio. “We’re going to get the full story, and it’s about where she goes from here,” Watson recently told EW. “Now that we know what’s been bothering her, what’s been in on her mind, and where she finally wants to go, now what is she going to do?”
Above and below, you can check out first-look images from the episode, which involves a tense dinner for the three women, as well as a deeply emotional conversation between mother and daughter. (Make that two conversations.) Watson was thrilled with the casting of the Tony-winning and Cosby Show alum as her onscreen mom. “I just thought, ‘Oh! This is going to be amazing,” she says. “One of the biggest comparisons I hear is how Beth reminds people of Claire Huxtable…. It almost feels like the only person it could be.”
There is still one more episode of This Is Us before Beth’s showcase installment. TIU has been pre-empted tonight while NBC covers President Trump’s State of the Union address, and it will return Feb. 12, with part 2 of “Songbird Road,” which involves Rebecca (Mandy Moore) coming face to face with Jack’s not-so-dead brother, Nicky (Griffin Dunne).