The Pearson clan are a great group. They're a family who fans love spending time with every week. But like all family gatherings, after a while, fans need a break from the usual routine. This Is Us has been smart about providing episodes that change up the format to focus just on one Pearson sibling. But some of the best ones are when the Pearsons get a week off from filming, and the series focuses on a lesser known character. The This Is Us Season 3 Episode 13 promo promises next week will be another one of those non-Pearson hours.
The episode is entitled "Our Little Island Girl," but as far as I'm concerned it should be referred to as This Is Beth, the same way last season's "This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life" should have been This Is Deja. Beth is a huge fan favorite and giving fans an hour of her backstory and explaining how she wound up marrying Randall is going to go over like gangbusters.
The synopsis pretends next week isn't going to be 90 percent flashbacks to how Beth got here. But viewers know better:
Beth's trip home to care for her mother sparks an unexpected realization.
The trailer is (blessedly) a little more forthcoming.
Viewers probably aren't surprised at the direction these flashbacks will take, as the flash forwards have already shown a Beth who had re-embraced her dream. The final episode of this season before the winter break, "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning," revealed a scene where Beth is a ballet teacher. (Frankly, as a former bunhead, she struck me as the head of the school, but the show hasn't defined how high up in the hierarchy she is.)
Fans were blown away by this twist. Beth had always been presented as the office type, in the power suits and heels. She's someone working to try to make the world a slightly better place as a well-paid machine cog, while her husband lost his head in the clouds. Now here she has become an artist. How did she get from here to there?
This episode looks to be prepared to answer this question. Beth was a ballet dancer as a child, and from the hints in the trailer, her mother, Carol (played by the great Phylicia Rashad), put an end to her dreams. Most likely, she did it out of a form of kindness. Beth would never be a great dancer, and to reach the heights of bougie living, she would need to refocus.
But Beth has already reached those heights, with a husband and three children. She's lost her office job, and part of her doesn't want to go back. It's a chance to reorient her life towards spending it doing something she loved. The question is, how will Randall take it when she comes home with a new direction in life?
Fans already know she'll achieve her dream and then some. Now it's time to see her take the first step towards the future that's already unfolded.