Last week's episode of This Is Us was a slow burn to the night we've been waiting to be revealed. But while most viewers attention was captured by the flashbacks to the beginning of 1998, in the present, there was a much more emotional scene going on, where Kevin and Randall bond over their fear of the future. But while Kevin wants to not think about it, Randall is brooding over the fact that he might outlive his dad. Fans perked up with concern. Is Randall going to die on This Is Us?
For those who watch their TV in a paranoid "was that foreshadowing?" manner (raises hand), the scene set alarm bells ringing. Here's Randall saying that he cannot imagine himself as an old man, outliving their father. Moreover, he's troubled that as of now, today, in 2018, Jack's been gone longer from their lives than he was a part of it.
Kevin keeps trying to lighten the mood, making self-deprecating actor jokes and ribbing Randall about his looks. But in the end, he gets serious: "You're going to live to be an old man, just like your other dad." Kevin's words were,
[Y]ou’re not going anywhere anytime soon, right?… You got your health, you got a beautiful family… You got a tough-as-nails, kick-ass wife who literally will not let you die on her. You’re not going anywhere.
Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
Will Randall be the next of the Pearson clan to die untimely? After all, Jack's death came just as he was looking to the future, starting a new business. Randall is looking to the future and starting a new business now.
Twitter started fretting.
Some fans even starting wondering if that's why Sterling K. Brown has been so emotional every time he accepts an award for Best Actor or Outstanding Actor in a TV Drama. Does he know it's coming to an end?
Fans threatened to riot if this comes to pass.
The concern among fans got bad enough that creator Dan Fogelman weighed in in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Should we be concerned that Randall won't make it to see their R&B company run smooth? His response:
Listen, I can’t reassure anybody of anything.
Stop screaming. Fogelman is right. For all we know, Brown gets in a plane crash next week and suddenly they have to kill off the character, Carrie Fisher-style. But barring an act of God, Randall isn't scheduled to go anywhere. At least, not this season.
I can assure everybody that we’re not killing Randall this season, so everybody can relax. I think they would burn my house down. I’ve experienced with a lot of friends, when you’ve lost a parent, particularly for whatever reason a parent of the same sex —a guy losing his father or a girl losing her mother early — there can be a slight mortality clock that kicks in a bit earlier than it does on other people, especially since it was formative. And I think that’s something Randall and Kevin feel.
Fogelman is right and the scene does play that way. It's just that prestige TV shows have gotten us so used to main characters dying left and right, so sometimes we cannot help but be paranoid.
Fogelman says for him, what really creeped him out was how Kevin doesn't talk about growing old, as if there's a part of him that has no plans to live that long. Not that we should be worrying about Kevin, either.
No one is going anywhere this season except Jack. The next episode of This Is Us airs after the Super Bowl on Sunday Feb. 4, 2018 around 10:15 p.m. ET.