What an emotional episode of This Is Us!
Our TV Fanatics Sarah Little and Jack Ori discuss Randall's trip to learn about his mother on This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6.
Read on to learn what we thought about Laurel's story, how Randall is like his mother, and what our vote is for the most emotional part of the hour!
Was Randall's trip to learn about Laurel's life as emotional for you as back in Season 1 when he made the trip to learn about William right before William's death?
Sarah: Both episodes, in my opinion, are perfect hours of TV.
They were equally emotional and heartbreaking, and they added missing pieces to Randall's character.
But as heavy as the hour was, by the end of it, it was almost like a weight was lifted off our shoulders because Randall's quest to unravel his history is complete.
So, yes, it was emotional, but it was also super satisfying.
Jack: Agreed! I was trying to debate which was sadder: Randall meeting William only to lose him to death or not having the chance to meet Laurel at all.
I think they were both extremely emotional stories that helped Randall define who he is and help viewers understand him better.
What similarities did you see between Laurel and Randall?
Sarah: That's a good question!
I think Laurel and Randall tend to hold on to things that weigh them down, things that they need to let go of. That's why we saw both of them venture into the lake and scream it all out.
As more of Laurel's story unfolded, we also learned more about Randall and figured out part of the reason why he is the way he is.
Jack: Yes! And they both tended toward self-blame and self-criticism, too.
I think Laurel and Randall both felt like they didn't really fit in with their families.
Laurel could never be what her father wanted her to be and was determined to have the relationships and life she wanted despite his disapproval. Randall felt out of place in his adoptive family because of his race.
I also saw elements of Laurel's dad in Randall. Her dad was controlling for different reasons, and Randall is more well-intentioned, but the way Randall insists on his own way all the time is similar.
Do you think Laurel would have sought Randall out if she had not gone to prison for five years after his birth?
I think the seeds of doubt were already planted in her head when she overheard the nurses at the hospital call her a bad mother, but I think her time at prison allowed those thoughts to become reality for her.
With no one else to tell her otherwise, she firmly believed Randall would be worse off with her in his life. If she hadn't gone to prison, things would have been a lot different.
Jack: I was so mad at those nurses! Talk about unprofessional and judgmental.
And I agree. Mae tried to convince her otherwise, but by then, it was too late.
It was a sad commentary on one of the many ways that the prison system destroys families, especially for people of color.
Randall was willing to let go of Kevin's anger, but Kevin was too preoccupied with Madison's being in labor. React!
Sarah: That, coupled with the promo for This Is Us Season 5 Episode 7, was crazy!
Of course, when Randall is finally ready to mend fences with Kevin, Kevin is dealing with a crisis of his own.
It wouldn't be This Is Us if they didn't throw us for a loop after we thought the Pearson family had reached any peace.
Jack: I had a bad feeling about the way Kevin was rushing down the road. I just knew something was going to happen.
Randall is probably going to feel guilty that he didn't make up with Kevin earlier. I'm interested in how the aftermath of this goes.
Add anything you'd like to discuss.
Sarah: I absolutely loved Aunt Mae, as I believe most fans did.
Laurel was so lucky to have her in her life, but I am curious to know why Laurel's father disliked her so much and exactly what Mae's backstory is. We heard a little bit, and I doubt we will ever hear more, but I would love to see more of Mae.
Jack: I loved Aunt Mae too!
I think her getting pregnant by a married man is why Laurel's father disliked her, though I would have liked to have known more too.
I also thought there was an interesting parallel in that Laurel had this close relationship with her father's sister that he had disowned, just like Kevin has a close relationship with Tess despite Randall's problems with him.
Also, I liked Hai a lot, and I wondered if he would become part of the extended family now because of his relationship with Laurel.
What was your favorite scene or quote from this Laurel/Randall centered episode?
Sarah: My favorite scene was when Randall went into the water and saw Laurel.
Like I mentioned before, Randall has always held on to so many things that weigh him down, and it was so nice to see him finally let go.
Not only was it therapeutic for him, but also us. And I'm excited to see where he goes from here.
Jack: I loved Mae's advice to Laurel, especially this:
Laurel: I was no good as a daughter and no good as a mother. My son is going to grow up thinking I didn't love him. Why couldn't I be good for him?
Mae: You can't keep doing this to yourself. If you don't let the guilt go, it will strangle you.
I also liked the way Laurel and Hai tried to communicate when he didn't know much English. That was such a cute, funny scene, and it counterbalanced the heavier stuff well.
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This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 9 PM EST/PST.