Ever since This Is Us teased Randall and Beth's origins as a pair of college students who clicked despite their opposite personalities, fans have been desperate for more insight into the two's early years. The third season previously shared the moment they first met, but the deep dive into their relationship in March 26's "R & B" revealed a young Randall's certainty about the more cautious Beth from the very beginning. College Beth and Randall on This Is Us wooed fans immediately, and after the episode's bleak update on their present-day bond, we definitely need to see more of the young couple's firsts together.
"R & B" picked up from last week's tense ending of Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) deciding to air out their long-simmering argument. Fresh off hearing Randall's belittling voicemail, Beth told him she had constantly accommodated Randall's desires and "flights of fancy." Now with her own wish to start dancing again, she felt that he was refusing to give up his own pursuits in order for Beth to shine. Randall stuck to the belief that he always wanted Beth to have her own life, but Beth shut him down, insistent that they've been having the same fight since they met.
The rest of the hour then tackled the two's milestones as a couple and how they reached this breaking point, but the sweet look at Beth and Randall's college years made up for the messier moments that followed.
ICYMI, the Beth-centric episode "Our Little Island Girl" ended with teenage Beth (Rachel Hilson) arriving at a Carnegie Mellon freshman mixer. As she discarded her given name of Bethany for its shortened version on a name tag, Randall (Niles Fitch) bumped into her from behind. Beth brushed off his earnest apology and walked away, but just the knowledge of what these two would become was enough to totally hook fans. "R & B" then played the moment from Randall's perspective, showing that he purposely approached Beth and watched her leave with a completely besotted expression on his face.
Remember how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) eyes met across a room and it was basically love at first sight? For the Pearsons, history definitely repeats itself.
After Kevin (Logan Shroyer) helped an ecstatic Randall land his first date with Beth, Randall went all out for the occasion and booked a night at a fancy restaurant. Dressed in a suit in contrast to Beth's sweatshirt, he was determined to discuss both of their life stories, asking Beth about her dance background and beginning to spill about his adoption and Jack's recent death. While this encouraged Beth to open up about her father's passing, a waiter asking them to pay before ordering soured the mood. Then more of a stickler than the spontaneous speech-giver he is today, Randall was willing to fill out a check, but Beth, understanding the scenario as racial profiling, refused.
Before leaving him at the restaurant, she called Randall and the date "a lot," not wanting so much all at once. Randall replied, "I just thought you deserved a great first date. I think you deserve everything."
The evening might not have ended on the best of terms, but even back then, there were hints of this being a great love story in the making. Later that night, an infatuated Randall told his roommate he was going to marry Beth. Meanwhile, Beth began to soften toward him when she realized Randall had labeled his incomplete check as "first date with Beth Clarke."
As the rest of the episode explored, the two's relationship became fairly solid after this point. However, in the present day, Randall and Beth's disagreements about their past ultimately led to them staying apart that night with each contemplating their blowup. Their 2019 storyline didn't end with the same optimism as their college outing, but here's hoping that the notorious R. and B. find their way back to each other soon.
The Season 3 finale of This Is Us airs on Tuesday, April 2, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.