The following contains the very biggest spoiler from the Oct. 27 season premiere of NBC’s This Is Us.
At the very close of its Season 5 premiere, NBC’s This Is Us uncorked the mother of all twists, by revealing that Randall’s birth mother did not die 40 years ago, shortly after childbirth — though his father William had split from the scene believing full well she did.
But how, we must wonder, will the two ever reconnect, with decades, unknowable acts and name changes now between them? Review what we know, and the conclusions we can make, and then vote in the poll/sound off in Comments below!
WHAT WE KNOW:
* Laurel (played by Jennifer C. Holmes) abruptly gave birth in the Pittsburgh apartment, then begged William (Jermel Nakia) to get her “some stuff” to deal with the residual pain afterward. Come morning, William found the former addict unresponsive on the couch, following an OD.
* EMTs summoned to the scene attempted to resuscitate Laurel, but were unsuccessful and had no choice but to cal a time of death. Fearing that he’d have to deal with questions from the police as well as child services, heroin addict William fled with his newborn son.
* Just as they realized the father had vanished, one very surprised EMT detected a pulse on Laurel — at which point she suddenly gasped, as did we.
* After riding the local bus and eventually deciding to deposit his son on a fire station’s doorstep, William clearly didn’t return to the Pittsburgh apartment — at least not anytime soon, or that we know of. Some 36 years later, adult Randall, having hired a PI to locate his birth father, came knocking on William’s apartment door in Philadelphia.
* Having reunited with his son and even moved into his family’s house, William succumbed to stage IV cancer in the 16th episode of Season 1.
* Whether she landed in rehab for a week or for years after cheating death, Laurel would have nothing to go on if she ever decided to locate her son, if she assumed that AWOL William stayed with the kid. And if she had ever gotten a hold of William prior to Randall finding him 36 years later, William surely would have said something — and he certainly would not have acted as if Randall’s mother was dead.
* Even if a rehabbed Laurel decided to — and found a way to (e.g. matching hospital records, if she speculated that William flaked out as a father?) — track down her son… why now, 40 years later? Why not 20 years ago? Or 10?
* And it goes without saying that, looking at the reverse, Randall would have no reason to seek out his mother, because he thinks that she is long dead.
Returning to the here and now: Randall has just “broken up” with his white lady shrink, realizing that he has feelings to express and discuss that are more suited for a fellow Black person.
Coming out of the season premiere, some were quick to speculate that when Randall finds said new shrink, it will turn out to be Laurel. And that… would ask a lot of the audience. Aside from the coincidental nature of it all, we’d need a story of how Laurel not only rebounded from her addiction but also found both the wherewithal and the financial means (remember, she and William were quite poor) to pursue not only college but a master’s degree. You would need a very perfect storm where A and B and C etc. all happened.
So isn’t it a bit more likely that Laurel would be a fellow patient of Randall’s new shrink, someone he perhaps strikes up conversation with in the waiting room? (Maybe they are not both waiting for the same shrink, but are in the shared waiting room for a practice.)
But even in that scenario, how does their bond become apparent? Laurel doesn’t know of any Randall (as a newborn he left the hospital as “Kyle”). And while Randall may know that his mother’s name was Laurel, that’s quite a jump to make when meeting a stranger with the same name, seeing as he knows his mother to be dead. Unless the strangers’ passing conversations get into details such as her partner’s name, and Pittsburgh neighborhood.
How do you suspect that Randall and Laurel will ever cross paths, to eventually discover their connection? We’ve listed some options in the poll below — as well as also ask if Randall will in fact be the first to know about this shocking “resurrection.”