‘This Is Us’: A History of Randall and Beth’s Relationship in ‘R & B’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 17, of This Is Us, “R & B”]
Fans should be fairly warned before heading into this recap of the March 26 episode of This Is Us, “R & B,” that Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) teased fight doesn’t end.
At the end of the prior week’s episode, it was hinted that the fan favorite couple would get into it, and they in fact did in this week’s installment. Sadly for optimistic fans, there’s not much of a happy ending to this penultimate entry from the NBC hit’s third season. Below, we break down the highs and lows of an episode highlighting Randall and Beth’s history together.
Before skipping down memory lane, the episode picked up where last week’s story left off — with Beth and Randall starting to air their complaints. The fight begins, and there’s no shying away from being harsh. Beth rebukes her husband for the nasty voicemail he left on her phone, as she tells Randall he’s become unrecognizable.
Randall apologizes for the message before, saying that he thought Beth was standing him up at the dinner party they were attending earlier that night. But Beth asks when she would ever stand him up? Then the argument shifts to her work, as Beth says Randall isn’t on board despite claiming to be supportive. She wants him to support her “flight of fancy,” like she has done for him so many times in the past.
“We have been having the same fight since we met,” Beth says before the show cuts back to the couple’s beginning.
A First Date
In the first era of their relationship, fans are brought back to the moment that Randall (Niles Fitch) and Beth (Rachel Hilson) first bump into each other. While it appears nothing really transpires, we learn that Randall is infatuated during a phone call with Kevin (Logan Shroyer), who agrees to help Randall ask Beth out by means of landlines — you remember those from the ’90s, right?
Well, Kevin’s advice for Randall to take control by telling Beth that he’s taking her out — without giving her an option — works, and we later see them sitting together in a booth at an upscale restaurant. During their initial small talk, Randall overshares a bit as he tells her he’s adopted and lost his father earlier in the year, but it connects them when she briefly opens up about her dad.
Things come to a grating halt when the waiter requests that they pay before ordering — something that has Beth grabbing the half-written check from Randall’s hand before bolting for the door as he follows. She tells him that it’s unacceptable that they were treated that way, and questions why he would comply, but he admits he wants the date to be perfect, and that’s why. Beth tells him that she prefers nachos and ginger beer to the grand gesture he concocted.
Before leaving the establishment she tells Randall that he’s too much for her and that he shouldn’t call her again. But later that night, Randall tells his dorm roommate that he’s going to marry her.
A Tale of Many Proposals
Cut to years later — seven to be exact — and Randall and Beth are living together, but she continually turns down his proposals for marriage, according to the response we’re first shown in the scene. And despite being turned down, the couple seem happier than ever as they enjoy each other. Then Randall mentions Sunday dinner with Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and it’s clear that Beth’s not thrilled.
Instead she tries to deflect from the weekly routine by suggesting a couples outing to mini-golf, but Randall misinterprets as a Sunday dinner-turned-mini-golf trip. So, while Beth attempts to make small talk with Rebecca, asking if she’s seeing anyone, the outing turns tense after Rebecca mentions the multiple proposals.
Beth is blindsided that Rebecca would know anything about her and Randall’s private moments, and she finally reveals the reason she’s been putting it off — she doesn’t want to be consumed by a husband. Randall walks away upset, saying he won’t ask her again. Afterward, in a quiet moment to the side, Beth apologizes to Rebecca, who tells her future daughter-in-law that she’s happy Beth’s going to be Randall’s person.
Taking those words into consideration, Beth instructs Randall to drive to a nearby restaurant, where she orders nachos and ginger beer before asking him to propose. They get emotional because it’s finally for real, and we’re crying with the newly engaged couple.
One plus to this emotional episode is getting to attend Beth and Randall’s backyard wedding, which starts off rocky after neither has vows ready. And ultimately they put their minds together to come up with the perfect vows, because when they’re a team they’re also the best versions of themselves. “I wanna be the man you deserve,” Randall says as they stand back-to-back in their bathroom — because seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck.
New Baby Tension
The next vignette sees new parents Beth and Randall squabble over their baby Tess’s crib before talk of nachos leads to a 4am kitchen rendezvous. As they pick at their cheesy snack they discuss the struggle of parenting and play Randall’s “Worst Case Scenario” game. During the game, Beth says the worst case for the baby is if she forgets Beth when she returns to work.
But when Randall says it will work out, she says that means she’ll be the one making adjustments. She then likens their relationship to nachos, saying that Randall always makes them for her, but he takes all of the cheese covered ones, leaving her with crumbs and partially covered broken pieces. Slowly but surely, their past is reflecting the future of their relationship.
A more current flashback reintroduces a time when William (Ron Cephas Jones) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) were living in Beth and Randall’s house. When Beth enters the packed kitchen you can feel tension bubbling under the surface, but she hides it. Later on, after she tells the family she was attending a conference overnight, Randall and William bump into her at the grocery store. A shocked Randall questions her, and she admits that she needed a night to herself after being surrounded non-stop by the men.
Instead of giving her a hard time, Randall asks what her plans were, and as they discuss her laid-back itinerary, she cancels her plans and says she doesn’t want to relax without him. They agree to head home and finish their groceries together.
The Final Straw?
Things aren’t as amiable now, though, as we return to the present. Beth continues to talk about how Randall doesn’t think her job is important, and Randall recalls seeing his parents fight from the Season 1 finale when Rebecca makes a similar argument against Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). But Randall denies thinking that before Beth says that she’s the one who has to bend and she always is.
But Randall doesn’t accept that. He points out that she prides herself as being a strong member of the family and then is going to claim that he steamrolls her? He tells her he’s sorry that she had her revelation about dance so late in life, but that it’s not his problem, essentially. Beth shoots back by making a point of asking when she could have had her revelation between all of his anxiety attacks.
And that’s it, the one thing that could silence Randall, and the look in Beth’s eyes shows regret the instant it is said. Randall then gathers his things, telling her that he’s going to sleep in his Philadelphia office. “Good news for you,” he says, “I’m all out of speeches.”
The episode ends with each of them laying on couches — Randall in his office and Beth in their bedroom. No one is happy, everything is terrible, and we hope these damaging words can be repaired … please.
Hopefully, by next week’s “Her,” there will be some sort of resolution either way — it is the Season 3 finale, after all.
This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC