Throughout its final season, This is Us has taken a moment to highlight each character. As the show returns from its Olympics hiatus and heads for the sure-to-be emotional home stretch, the drama is set to showcase fan-favorite Beth, who’s played by Susan Kelechi Watson. Not only is she starring in the episode, but Watson co-wrote the story with series staff writer Eboni Freeman. Watson spoke with The Root about taking on another role within the series and what’s next for her after This is Us.
While several of her castmates have had the chance to direct, Watson knew her interests were in writing, and the story revolving around Beth provided the perfect opportunity. Per the official synopsis, in “‘Our Little Island Girl: Part 2' Beth prepares her dancers for the first big dance recital at her new job.”
“It’s not just an episode about her, it’s about the whole Pearson family. So to have all their voices in my head was like a little cheat sheet,” she said. “Plus, knowing everybody as friends, I know how they speak and the rhythm of how they would say things.”
One of the great things about Beth is that while she’s the rock of her family, she’s never existed just to serve them. She has her own life and experiences– a character trait that has always been essential to Watson. In fact, Beth taking charge of her career choices is something the episode touches on.
“It goes into what she wants to do for herself, for the career that she wants to create for herself and the dreams that she wants to live out for herself,” Watson said. “It’s always been so important for me as Beth that she didn’t just become someone who takes care of her children and is a wife, but to recognize the parts of women that still have their own desires, their own dreams, the life that they want to fulfill for themselves. It’s a part of our own self-care, our own mental health to remember who we are as individuals and make that just as important as who we are to other people.”
As important as Beth’s individuality is, you can’t talk about This is Us without talking about how fun it is to watch Beth and Randall’s authentic portrayal of Black love. They aren’t perfect, but they are real. To that end, Watson and co-star Sterling K. Brown know how important their representation on the popular series is.
“There’s a culture that we represent. I feel like we represent all people, of course, but our culture specifically. It’s an opportunity to shine a light on a healthy, happy, adjusted couple who are still fighting for things, who are still trying to figure it out,” she said. “To have an opportunity to add that as part of the stories out there about us is really a big deal for us, so we don’t take it lightly.”
This is Us has been one of TV’s most popular and acclaimed series during its run. As Watson prepares to wrap up her time as Beth, she’s looking forward to branching out into new characters, and of course, more writing.
“I’ve been Beth for six seasons and now it’s time to do some very different things,” she said. “Sometimes play the good girl, sometimes play the bad girl. I love switching it up and doing things that are a little outside of the box.”
This is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.