‘This Is Us’ Creator on Randall’s Season 5 Twist & a Pearson Family Reckoning
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 5 Premiere of This Is Us, “Forty: Part 1” & “Forty: Part 2”]
If you’ve yet to tune into the Season 5 premiere of NBC’s This Is Us, now is the perfect time to stop what you’re doing and do so — series creator Dan Fogelman has revealed some spoilery teasers for what’s to come, and we’ve got them.
The Pearsons returned in two back-to-back installments with a cliffhanger reveal about Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) biological mother Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes). Instead of dying after his birth, Randall’s mother survived an overdose, proving once again that This Is Us will always give viewers something unexpected to unravel.
With 2020 already a year of surprises — which Randall had hoped he could avoid — Fogelman teases what’s in store for the adopted Pearson son and his family, and promised that while Episode 3 doesn’t air until November 10, answers will come “within the first half of our season.”
For one, he said, expect the question as to whether Randall’s mom “is still alive” to be answered, allowing Randall to come to terms with “some of his own questions about his identity.”
Fogelman also elaborated on how Randall’s storyline impacts the whole family, including brother Kevin (Justin Hartley), and their complicated, tense relationship. Ditto for Randall and sister Kate (Chrissy Metz), who is struggling with supporting Randall the right way amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
“Randall is processing a lot about his life and about his family,” Fogelman said. “I find the scene with Chrissy and Sterling in front of the cabin so complicated and so interesting. I think their performances are just so strong.
“This isn’t just a Black man in the living room having this conversation,” he continued, “These are family members who grew up in the same home. It’s a very specific dynamic…and I think it’s what the two characters do so well, there’s so much love amid this really intense conversation.”
And while Randall left Kate in tears after telling her he was unable to make her feel better about the pain he’s enduring, Fogelman assured fans there’s no rift between the brother and sister: “They’re [just] in a complicated nebulous place right now, and there’s a reckoning required for this…and some healing.”
He also confirmed that Randall “makes his move to change therapists” and that “he’s pulling away a little bit for the moment. Not just from Kevin on the heels of the fight, but from his family in general — this man who loves this family, and loves them fiercely, but also is having a moment to kind of pull back and process a lot about his life.”
The therapist, who has not yet been announced, will have, he said, “a recurring part.”
Randall, he noted, “is having an internal kind of dialogue with himself, but…a lot of this is falling on the other Pearsons to kind of look inward…reassessing their childhoods and their relationships with Randall. It’s on all of them collectively…and that’s the bigger arc for our show this season.”
Other stories fans can look forward to are Madison (Caitlin Thompson) and Kevin’s developing romance as they prepare for twins. “Things are happening in reverse, and in hyper-speed,” Fogelman teased. “When you combine [this with the fact] Kevin’s wiring is a little bit more traditional [it] creates an interesting dynamic moving forward.”
Stay tuned for additional details as Season 5 continues and the Pearson family story unfolds.
This Is Us, Season 5, Returns Tuesday, November 10, 9/8c, NBC