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After taking a closer look at Kevin's (Justin Hartley) and Kate's (Chrissy Metz) lives, the March 29th episode of This Is Us officially wrapped up the show's Big Three trilogy. The Hartley-directed new episode, titled "Every Version of You," zeroed in on Randall (Sterling K. Brown) in the immediate aftermath of Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) big Thanksgiving announcement. (The one where Rebecca said that as her Alzheimer's progresses, in the event of Miguel's death, Kate would make decisions on her behalf.)
Seeing as Randall is often called Rebecca's "favorite," he was understandably betrayed by this news. And as if that weren't enough, Deja (Lyric Ross) ran away to Boston in the wake of her breakup with Malik (Asante Blackk). Of course, Randall goes after her, with Rebecca insisting on joining. But what was initially a road trip filled with unanswered questions results in the strengthening of the pair's mother-son bond. Below, we break down what we learned from the episode with the help of This Is Us executive producer and "Every Version of You" writer, Kay Oyegun.
Why didn't Rebecca pick Randall?
It's the very question Randall is asking himself, especially considering that his and Rebecca's relationship has always been the most solid. Oyegun says the consistent connection with his mother is reflected in the episode's flashback scene, when a young Randall finds a way to unite the Pearsons at the pool.
"You see a kid who will bring his family together after he passes his swim test and can be in the deep end—but rather chooses his family," she tells NBC Insider. "When [Rebecca] tells him, 'I had this idea of all of us swimming together,' that lands on him in a very real way. And he doesn’t let that go. Any other kid may have been like, 'I'm in the deep end now. And I'm gonna stay there and enjoy my day.' But not Randall. He is always thinking about her and what would be in her best interest. And that’s something that’s really important to him."
This is a fact that Rebecca recognizes: Randall will always put her before himself. But as her health worsens, she wants him to prioritize his own family and budding political career, especially considering his struggles with anxiety and the traumas he's faced as an adopted child. She even tells him during the episode, "You are my hero, Randall. You're the most incredible person, and I will not be the person that holds you back anymore."
Oyegun adds, "I don't think Randall has been able to let go. I think one of the things that we’ve been painstaking about is not only building the relationship with Rebecca and Randall, but also being very clear about Randall’s extensive amount of loss. [She shows him] mercy—as a good parent would—for a child who would have, at this point, lost four parents. Typically people only lose two."
What did the road trip mean for Rebecca and Randall?
Similarly to Randall's car ride with his biological father, William [Ron Cephas Jones], in Season 1, he takes an impromptu road trip with Rebecca. Their time together helps Randall understand why his mother didn't pick him, but it's also a precious trip for Rebecca. As her memory recedes, Oyegun explains, the Pearson matriarch is using all the time she has left to make memories—and take plenty of selfies. At the end of the episode, you even see she has three different boxes, each dedicated to her kids.
"She doesn’t know how much time she has left," Oyegun says. "So it’s just every opportunity she has to give them the wisdom, to give them her presence, to give them her, her everything, she’s doing that."
Unfortunately, Oyegun warns that things are only going to get worse for Rebecca.
"As we sort of move into our back half of the season, it’s going to get bad," she says. "Objectively, unapologetically, it’s going to get bad. Point blank, period. This is a disease that kills many people, ruins many families. So getting a chance to give everything you have while you can is a mercy and a gift that people rarely get. So it was important to [showrunner] Dan Fogelman and to us as writers to show that and give that. Because the minute the light bulb goes out, there is no coming back from it."
What happens in Randall's future?
Despite the heavy topics addressed in the episode, many took note of a couple references to a lighter topic: Randall's political future. This Is Us is known to foreshadow upcoming moments with subtle scenes and dialogue.
"If I run I'll win," an emotional Randall says of potentially running for Senator. "And if I win, I can't even imagine where this thing will end."
A very proud Rebecca then asks for her son's autograph and declares, "It's gonna be worth a lot of money some day."
Then, of course, at the end of the episode we see Randall finally schedule a very important call with Senator Gamble. So what does it all mean? All Oyegun could say was, "Randall is 100 percent a rising star in the political world. He's a phenom."
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