By Dan Snierson
March 29, 2019 at 01:18 PM EDT
  • TV Show

Exiting last week’s episode of This Is Us and heading into the finale, viewers have a large and rather pressing question on their minds: Will one of prime time’s most beloved couples remain a couple?

It’s hard to imagine a world in which NBC’s hit family drama dares to split up the big-dreaming perfectionist and the do-it-all bottom-liner without having its headquarters set ablaze by angry fans wielding a faulty slow cooker. But such are the stakes as the very last episode of season 3 approaches. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) are neck-deep in a foundation-rattling fight, whose latest turn saw Beth accuse Randall of always putting his dreams ahead of hers and giving her the crappy end of the plate of nachos. Both, of course, have said things that they regret — see: Randall’s ill-advised voicemail; see: her attack on his anxiety attacks — and their fracture seemed to deepen at the end of last week’s installment when Randall marched out of the house and drove to his office in Philadelphia to spend the night.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

So… where does this leave them? Where does their story resume?

“They’re at a real impasse when we begin our finale and neither one quite has the answer as how to dig themselves our of this hole,” says executive producer Elizabeth Berger. “It’s going to be a real exploration for the both of them as they really have to, in a new way, try to figure out how to salvage their marriage. It feels like the entire season has been leading to this moment in time. The way they both behave and the decisions they make are going to be really crucial, and affect the status of their relationship for years down the line.”

“And their entire family,” chimes in executive producer Isaac Aptaker, who notes that the pair are about to do some serious soul surveying. “Randall and Beth are both at a point where they have to evaluate everything in their lives, professional and family relationships, and really prioritize and decide what they’re going to fight for.” (As you may have seen in the teaser for the finale, Randall is on the phone, asking, “What would happen if I resigned?”)

If Aptaker is not calling marriage here, he’s calling this a critical installment for fans of Randall and Beth. “If this is your story line and this is your couple that hooks you into the show,” he says, “this is definitely the [episode] that you need to see — the make or break for this marriage.” That’s right.  Resolution will arrive in this final hour of the season. “We will give answers one way or another,” he says.

That includes illumination on the status of the beloved couple in the distant future. Fans have speculated that their relationship may not be a sure thing, given that the flash forwards thus far haven’t shown them sharing any screen time, and Randall reads glum while Beth seems hardened. Aptaker’s advice for watching the finale? “Do not go fix yourself a snack during the last five minutes.”

Titled “Her,” the season 3 finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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