It’s Wednesday morning and I am riled up. No, it’s not because I’ve had too much coffee—though, that will soon be a contributing factor. Instead, my blood pressure is on the rise thanks to last night’s episode of This Is Us.
In the third ep of Season 3, the stakes were literally life and death. Kate was going in for her egg retrieval surgery, which we have repeatedly been told is very high risk because of her weight. Toby is, justifiably, worried. Meanwhile, Kevin is embarking on what *super supportive* girlfriend Zoe calls “vapid movie press.” During an interview with real-life NPR host Terri Gross, Kevin is confronted with questions about his father’s time in the war, and realizes he doesn’t know diddly about what went on—prompting him to make a Homeland-eque wall of old photos and a giant map of Vietnam. (I mean, I guess that’s one way to plan a vacay.) In a flashback to the ’70s, we get more of Rebecca and Jack’s early love story, including the moment that Rebecca realized that this dude was the dude for her. (Tbh, the best part of this storyline was the surprise cameo from Malcolm in the Middle’s Jane Kaczmarek).
But all of these storylines are secondary to what’s happening to This Is Us’s true stars Beth and Randall—and this episode put them in peril.
The episode starts out with cute banter between our favourite couple, with Beth predictably serving up some real talk after Randall freaks out on Kate. Randall then tries to make amends with a big gesture, which in this case involves flying to be with Kate for her surgery. While he is away, Beth is busy working on a big project at her urban planning firm when—twist—she gets fired. LIKE EXUSE ME, HOW DARE?!
When Randall returns home, he immediately launches into a monologue, unloading the stresses of his day onto Beth and we see her instinctively playing with her rings—a move that had fans freaking out that there may be trouble ahead for the show’s best couple. (In another flashback, we learn that good ol’ William once advised Beth to speak up when something was wrong, rather than play with her wedding ring and wonder why she got married in the first place.) The fact that Randall can’t put aside his drama to notice his wife is not OK is making her question everything.
#ThisIsUs 1. Y’all knew that if you killed Kate we (fans) would riot. 2. Randall better get it together before Beth swivels that ring so hard it falls off her finger forever 😡 and THEN we (fans) would riot. 3. STOP MAKING ME CRY ALL THE DAMN TIME. 😩
— Joey (@starmillennial) October 10, 2018
If Beth and Randall start having marriage problems I am exiting the building. #ThisIsUs
— noodles (@flannel_harryy) October 10, 2018
— Tae (@TheyCallHer_Tae) October 10, 2018
I LIVE for Beth and Randall scenes… #ThisIsUs better never take away these moments from me or I will go postal!
— Toni Reitter (@tonichelleak) October 10, 2018
Listen, I get it. Beth and Randall were all too perfect in the world of weeping that is This Is Us. They needed some kind of conflict. But given how much the show’s writers love dropping hints, Beth playing with her rings is giving me wrinkles.
I have made my love of Beth amply clear, but her relationship with Randall is a close second. As The Root notes, these two represent “a healthy Black relationship on a prime-time drama, offering a portrayal that is more real and layered than what decades of sitcoms have depicted.” And that is far from the only reason these two are #CoupleGoals. Out of all the relationships depicted on This Is Us, Randall and Beth are the only two who seem to talk to each other and genuinely work to understand each other. While Toby is dumping his antidepressants in secret and Kevin is constantly focused on himself, Randall and Beth repeatedly show us what love can look like. He can predict her reactions (re: her freak out over Zoe and Kevin) and she accepts and loves him for the attempted superhero that he is (re: every time Randall shows up with a new live-in family member or career idea). And despite their ups and downs, they still keep things flirty.
Honestly, as Season 3 progresses, the only time I put down my phone is for the scenes with Beth and Randall because they are not only endearing, but entertaining as hell. This couple is a much-needed palate cleanser to the other storylines that are often too hard to swallow. Without them, This Is Us will just be an hour-long cry fest.
So, given the tease in episode three, let’s play Beth and Randall’s game of “Worst Case Scenario.”
Scenario 1: Randall does run for city council, but doesn’t make time to help Beth recover from losing her job and they drift apart, each dealing with their own crisis, losing their witty banter and chemistry in the process.
Scenario 2: The financial strain of having both Beth and Randall out of work, plus their expanding family that now includes Deja, makes them fight all the time about money, turning what was once a happy home into a battleground. Randall has another panic attack and, as foreshadowed in the scene with William, Beth can’t handle it so she leaves.
Scenario 3: During the course of Randall’s campaign, the press digs up something about the Pearson family that unhinges Beth and Randall’s relationship. Randall tries to put on a smiling face for the press, and Beth agrees to stand by his side, but they fall out of love with each other.
Even in a game of “Worst Case Scenario,” it’s hard to imagine a situation that these two couldn’t bounce back from with a few heartfelt dialogues and maybe a touch of couples counselling. Thankfully, actor Sterling K. Brown (who plays Randall) told People that everything is going to be OK—eventually.
“There will be a bit of an exploration of marriage with regards to Randall and Beth going through times that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows,” Brown said back in March. “And that’s not to say that they are in danger of parting ways, but marriage is real and takes work.”
I hope Brown is telling the truth, because if these two are done, so am I.
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