“This is Us” has delivered a number of heartbreaking moments since it’s premiere on NBC, but no episode has been quite as shocking as episode 9. Tuesday’s show — titled “The Trip” — centered around Randall’s shocking discovery that Rebecca had known his birth father before he tracked him down.
During the Season 1 episode, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) decided to compile a list of each and every time Rebecca (Mandy Moore) betrayed him during his lifetime. He was able to come up with more than 20 instances, which he shared with his dead adoptive father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) during a vision. Jack refused to believe that it was possible for Rebecca to harbor such a secret for so long, telling Randall such a thing would “destroy her.”
Viewers were then treated to a look back into young Randall’s life, much of which was spent trying to track down people like him. Randall was seen cornering other black people in grocery stores to ask whether they could roll their tongues like him. All this in the hopes of finding something to make him feel more comfortable and help him fit in. In time, Rebecca and Jack enrolled him in a martial arts class taught by a black instructor with exclusively black students. As initiation, the fathers of each student were asked to put their children on their shoulders and do pushups — this signified the weight of their children being their burden too.
While Randall’s plight made up much of the episode, there were a number of other heartbreaking moments worthy of discussion. Here are the highlights:
Randall’s Quest To Find His Birth Parents Began At A Young Age:
As previously mentioned, Randall spent a majority of his formative years on a quest to find people who look like him. He’d stop people in grocery stores and on the street to ask whether or not they were able to roll their tongues — a skill he believed to be a genetic trait. Randall explained to Rebecca and Jack that he was hopeful his impromptu research might lead him to finding his birth parents one day.
Jack Visited Randall In A Drug-Induced Vision:
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and William (Ron Cephas Jones) aren’t the only ones indulging in a little recreational substance use. During episode 9 he attempted to sort out his issues with his mother by getting into an altered state. During a trip on magic mushrooms, he was visited by Jack. Randall used the moment to discuss his current feud with Rebecca — telling Jack he “was a replacement for your dead baby” and nothing more. Jack denied that whole heartedly, assuring Randall that he was sure he was his son the moment he laid eyes on him.
Jack Took On Much Of Randall’s Childhood Pain:
As previously mentioned, Jack and Rebecca eventually enrolled Randall into a martial arts class taught by a black teacher to an entirely black group of kids. During the first class the fathers were asked to do pushups with their sons on their backs, a moment Randall had all but forgotten until his hallucination.
The Truth About Rebecca’s Letter And Her Relationship With William Was Revealed:
Randall discovered a letter written to his birth father during Season 1, episode 8, but the reason it was written in the first place was not explained. On Tuesday, during a look into the past, “This is Us” viewers learned that Rebecca had begun toying with the idea of letting Randall meet William after learning that he had been clean and sober for several years. While she was open to it when she met with William, she changed her mind after mulling it over. During a conversation with Jack, she revealed that she was afraid that letting William and Randall meet would lead to heartbreak for her.
“What if they’re great? What if they regret abandoning him...I cannot lose my son,” she said before writing a letter explaining her fears to William.
Randall Forgave Rebecca:
After making a list, taking a trip of sorts, and discussing it with the ghost of his father, Randall decided to stop holding a grudge against his mother. The pair sat down to discuss their issues, at which time Randall explained to his mother that he understood how she must have felt harboring such a heavy secret for so long. While it seemed Randall was ready to forgive and forget, he rejected his mother’s attempt at a hug telling her, “I’ll see you at Christmas.”
Kevin Finally Opened Up To Olivia:
Kevin (Justin Hartley) has struggled with his emotions throughout much of Season 1 of “This is Us.” He didn’t deal with quitting his first big acting gig, never coped with Jack’s death and during Tuesday’s episode he struggled to open up to Olivia (Janet Montgomery). He finally decided to bare it all, telling her how he really felt and it was not well received.
“That kiss that we had yesterday,” he said during a trip to his family cabin. “Those feelings were real, and I know you know that…I’m not sure you’ve experienced anything real in your entire life.”