This Is Us has done something somewhat different in how they're telling the story of the Pearson clan. After three seasons of dipping into the past while the present day remains the main storyline, it jumped ahead and showed fans the ending. Correction: It showed fans part of the ending. But it didn't explain how the family members got where they were going, only where they landed. This has left fans to guess where the changes started. These clues about Rebecca's memory on This Is Us suggest the issue may have started without anyone noticing. Warning: Spoilers for This Is Us follow.
Here's what fans know: In the year 2034 (or thereabouts), Rebecca, who is 84 or so, lies dying. She's not in a hospital but set up in one of the bedrooms in Kevin's enormous mansion in California. When Randall goes in to see her, she doesn't respond or move. Even so, Randall tells her he's here. He also reminds her that he's her son, in a manner that suggests this is now standard operating procedure when talking to her.
From that, fans have extrapolated Rebecca at some point began a downhill slide into dementia, or Alzheimer's, or something of that nature – the kind of thing that robs a person of their memory, their health, and their later years.
The question is, when? In 2019, Rebecca is 69, going on 70. That means this could start anytime in the next 14 years.
But it seems it's already begun.
Rebecca's trip to visit Randall and Beth in their new house in Philadelphia on the east coast isn't made alone; she's come with Miguel. But Miguel has his own children to visit, so Rebecca winds up hanging out with Randall one on one. This should be fine, the two of them have been having their "R&R" (Randall & Rebecca) time ever since Jack passed away, and Randall would come home from college every weekend to see her.
But it's quickly apparent it's not fine. Rebecca accidentally refers to Randall as "Congressman," not Councilman. On its own, it's a small slip, maybe a Freudian one, as she dreams of him climbing the political ladder.
But then there's the obsessive taking of pictures as if it's the only way she can remember who and what she's seen. And then there's the moment she loses the phone and goes almost hysterically wild over it.
Miguel admits later she's lost multiple phones over the last couple of years, which is why he bought her the latest one she has. Coupled with her inability to tell Randall how LA is without looking at these photos, and the dots start to make a somber picture.
Worst of all, Rebecca knows something wrong. She tries to laugh it off as "senior moments." But when Randall pushes her to see a doctor, her reaction is as overblown as her response to putting down the phone and not knowing where it is. She doesn't want to admit how bad it is. She doesn't want to be told it's only going to get worse.
But fans already know it will.