***My G, all the spoilers. All of them.***
When the powers/writers/sadists that be behind the show This Is Us began teasing the future of the Pearson clan at the end of last season—showing us an older Tess and a much older Randall preparing to go see “her” and leaving all the questions—all any of us could do was wonder what the hell they were alluding to. The colors, the tone of Randall and Tess—everything seemed so somber that it lent itself to bad news. If that first scene was a stuffed animal, it would be a bad news bear. I’m sure you both see what I did there and want me to stop. Done.
This entire ass third season has been one of relationships. Kevin and Zoe, who are now donezo since Kevin truly wants kids and hoped Zoe would ultimately change her mind; their last scene was Kevin literally closing the door on their relationship. Then there’s Kate, Toby and their new baby boy, Jack. We learned more about Rebecca and Jack, of course, but also Rebecca and Miguel. But if we’re being honest, the most important relationship on this show this whole-ass season has been the one between Randall and Beth. And I can’t lie, it looked like it was going the way of the dinosaurs. And as more and more of their relationship cracks showed, the future scenes seemed to indicate more and more that it might be a permanent one. I thought that as recently as last episode, where Randall and Beth were granted the “R&B” nickname via a whole-ass episode about their dating and wedding (preceded by an episode, finally, about Beth and her own backstory) almost as a way of foreshadowing the end.
Randall and Beth, who honestly seemed like a perfect couple (though we know there is no such thing as a perfect couple in minutiae, but in chemistry and ability to communicate and work together for a common end), began to show the rifts in their relationship and how their individual desire started to compete with one another and the family they built. But mostly, how Beth more or less relented to Randall for a lot while being the life preserver to keep him afloat. Thing is, pressure busts pipes, and once she decided to do something for herself after he forced the family into his community goal, well, thangs went bad.
This year’s Black History Month was trash, so it only made sense that the further along into their story we got, the more it seemed like the only outcome was the inevitable defeat of Randall and Beth. Since last night was the season finale of season 3, appropriately titled “Her,” I was prepared for what could only be the one where they call it quits, with “her” being Beth, as Tess and Randall brought her bad news or something, bringing those future scenes into clearer focus as wherever they are going as a family, it will be separately.
But Deja pulling her best Randall rendition by letting him know he hit the lottery multiple times in a world where people like her never even think about winning. And then Beth coming to the realization that maybe Randall isn’t wrong about what she’s doing even if he’s a total d-bag for how he presented it brings Randall and Beth to the realization that they work better together than apart. Randall is ready to give up the job he fought for (and truly dragged his family into) and Beth is ready to move the family to Philly to keep both of their dreams alive.
Listen, Linda, listen. I didn’t want to watch this episode. I didn’t. I know it’s television. I know that Randall also died in Black Panther. Hell, Randall tried to put O.J. in prison and failed. I know all of this. And still, this couple matters for whatever reason. Fuck relationship goals; they showed you #relationshipsbelike. It’s not real. I know. But watching the end of the only reason I even watch This Is Us, at this point, concerned me. I didn’t want to watch the show further to see how their split affected the family and how they made it work. Do. Not. Want.
The fact is that neither of them wanted that either, and we see Randall ready to throw it away and Beth out in Philly looking for space and then them coming home and coming together like they always manage to do and the oh so fucking audible *GASP* I let out and then exhaled like I was one of the women in the actual fucking Waiting to Exhale MOVIE. I got so excited as they moved back to that future scene the show’s been teasing for what feels like a decade and we see Beth and Randall are still together only to discover they’re going to visit his mother...and assumed-dead-for-a-longtime brother Nicky is there as Randall walks into the room and has to tell his mother, Rebecca, that he is Randall, and he is her son. She looks at him as if she has no clue who he is, all while the Darlingside’s “Hold Your Head Up High” plays and adds to the emotional slayage.
(Not for nothing, I have worked my Shazam app to high hell thanks to this show and Queen Sugar.)
AND THEY TOOK ME OUT IN A WHOLE DIFFERENT WAY ALL OVER AGAIN.
Damn you, This Is Us (and writers and producers, etc.) for taking me here and taking me there and going up and going down and sending my feelings, nothing more than feelings, all over the place. While nothing in this show has hit me as hard as the both famous and emotionally infamous “Memphis” episode, the investment I have in the characters, but particularly Randall and Beth, and the way they’ve taken me through the ringer has me straight trippin’, boo.
And I ain’t going nowhere. Because this is us.