While the highlights of the This Is Us Super Bowl episode were clearly the events leading up to Jack's death, there was still a precious glimmer of hope tucked within that heartache. Jordan, a foster boy first introduced when Deja left Randall and Beth's home, returned, and we thought we'd see the Pearsons welcome this precious nugget into their home. But in classic This Is Us fashion, Jordan was actually revealed to be a foster child in the future that a grown Tess is working with, and the fake-out led to Deja's surprise return to Randall and Beth.
It's safe to say that no one was expecting Deja to come back in this particular episode. Heck, I wasn't even expecting the Pearsons' foster child situation to be discussed. This plot twist only emphasizes that the show's mystery factor is far from being non-existent now that we know how Jack died. This Is Us is clearly not in the same genre as the beloved time-hopping drama Lost, but as the segment showing Tess in the future and Deja calling Beth proved, This Is Us isn't afraid to play with all aspects of time. As long as the show doesn't create an alternate universe like Lost did, I am totally up for these interesting new possibilities.
The surprise return of Deja, along with the reveal of adult Tess, blew fans' minds at the end of this emotional hour. Guys, This Is Us has total ownership of America's hearts and it will not stop until we're all sobbing messes.
In the mid-season finale, "Number Three," Deja chose to return home with her mother, telling Randall that her deciding to do so didn't mean that she hated living with him. The teary, heartfelt moment was soon usurped by Kevin receiving a DUI with Tess in the car, but Deja and Randall's goodbye was a perfect capstone of what was initially a rocky relationship.
The cast and producers have hinted that this wasn't the last we'd see of Deja, but her return on such an emotional day for Randall drops a major hint of how intertwined she and the family could soon be. While seeing Deja again almost felt cathartic after such intense flashbacks to 1998, there's plenty of underlying drama that her return could bring.
Firstly, Randall just told Tess that, no matter, she would be his number one girl. Obviously, I'm not saying that Randall's love for his kids would trump his evident fondness of Deja, but as Tess grows older and becomes a teenager, she could always experience tension from constantly having to say goodbye to foster kids who stay in the Pearsons' home and seeing her parents give them such attention.
Plus, it was Deja's initial goodbye that caused Tess to sneak away in Kevin's car, so if the older girl isn't back for good, it could cause even more upset for Tess. As we later saw, adult Tess chose to become a social worker, suggesting that her parents at least continued fostering children throughout her life. It would add extra emotional oomph if Randall and Beth adopted Deja and Tess is later inspired to follow this career path because of her new sister.
Although, Tess showed happiness at Deja's return, so even if she doesn't stick around, it's clear that Deja's impact on her is sturdy, no matter what.
Deja's surprise arrival also brings up the question of what her mother is doing. Is she back in jail? Why isn't Deja with her own social worker? What happened for her to end up at the Pearsons' door alone on Super Bowl Sunday?
Luckily, we don't have to wait too long for answers. This Is Us returns on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Get your tissues ready!