‘This Is Us’ Creator on What Premiere’s Shocking Reveal About Randall’s Past Means for His Future
(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Tuesday’s Season 5 premiere of “This Is Us.”)
The Big Three experienced a lot of big moments on the Season 5 premiere of “This Is Us,” but by far the biggest was a shocking scene that didn’t involve any member of the Pearson family: The reveal that Randall’s mother, Laurel (played by Jennifer C. Holmes) did not die in child birth, something Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and fans have believed to be true since the series began.
The two-hour episode saw Randall’s father, William (Jermel Nakia), calling paramedics for help, believing Laurel had died from a drug overdose after the former addict requested he get her heroin for the pain she experienced while giving birth at home. He awoke hours later to find her unresponsive and after the first-responders arrived and were calling her death, Randall’s father William hurried the newborn away from the apartment to leave him at a fire station before child protective services could be called to the scene. William decided not to go back to their home after giving up Randall, and so he did not find out Laurel had been brought back to life.
Needless to say, we a lot of questions about this, including how quickly we will find out what happened after Laurel woke up? Did she try to find William and Randall when she realized they were gone? And is Randall’s birth mother still alive in the present day?
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“I can’t answer every part of that question, because it would obviously give too much away,” “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman told TheWrap during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “There’s obviously a story to tell continuing onward from that moment. It’s not something that– answers will be gotten pretty quickly. Without spoiling too much, I think well within the first half of our season. And certainly it’s not something that we’re going to drag out a mystery over multiple seasons or anything. There’s a pretty quick answer and I think it will be found to be elegantly done.”
While Fogelman promises there will “definitely” be answers to the questions about whether or not Randall’s biological mother is alive in the present say and what happened after she was revived from her overdose, the NBC family drama boss says the season will also reveal who this woman was “well before this moment, well before she met William.”
“This woman who was Randall’s birth mother and hasn’t played a prominent part in our story thus far. Who is she? Where is she from? And what is her story? So that’s a big part of Randall’s journey in the front half of the season.”
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Over the first four seasons of what Fogelman has said is a six-season plan for “This Is Us” — though NBC has yet to confirm Season 6 will be the show’s final season — the topic of Randall’s birth mother has only been touched on a handful of times and always with more questions than answer. The series creator says that both the audience and Randall have intentionally been kept in the dark up until now.
“It’s one of our last things that we’ve always bandied about in terms of this being the area where we would reveal this information and dive a little bit into his birth mother’s story,” he said. “For us, Randall’s story, big picture has always been a story of identity and he’s a man that’s constantly, like many people who come from different backgrounds, is kind of searching for who he is and where he’s from. And it’s always been a part of his story, the story of his birth mother, that we’ve never really filled out and told. And I think for Randall, for that character, until he can get some answers there and some kind of closure, it will be a final kind of step in him coming to terms with some of his own questions about his identity.”
He added: “It’s something, if you look back on the series, that we’ve kind of always laid in. Talk of, ‘Where is your mother? Why is your birth mother not a part of this narrative of your life? She’s this character who died in child birth we’ve never really looked into.’ So this first half of the season is our opportunity to do just that. And it sticks with our plan of the when and the how and the why in terms of Randall’s big picture arc.”
“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
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