It's been an emotional roller coaster for the Pearson family on This is Us. Although, honestly, when is their world not filled with a million ups and downs? But, lately, the Pearson clan has had some especially harrowing trials. In the latest episode "The Waiting Room," a very pregnant Kate (Chrissy Metz) underwent emergency surgery, while the rest of the family spent more than a full day in the hospital waiting room. It all triggered some pretty unhappy memories for Rebecca (Mandy Moore), who also spent hours in a hospital waiting room the night that the Pearson patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died. But, that memory isn't the only sad factoid fans are taking away from that episode. Fans also noticed something that points to a heartbreaking This is Us theory about future Rebecca. Warning: Spoilers for the This Is Us follow.
Ever since the second season finale pointed to a mysterious "her" that the family will be gearing up to visit in the future, fans have been speculating about "her" identity and the reason for the visit. In the middle of this season, the show confirmed that the mysterious woman is Rebecca. But, the audience still doesn't know why everyone is going to see her. Some fans on Reddit think that the reason everyone is visiting Rebecca in the future has a lot to do with one small detail from "The Waiting Room."
Reddit user Lunamom23 points out that throughout the episode, Rebecca's husband Miguel (Jon Huertas) keeps answering questions for her, but it might not just be an annoying habit. Instead, it might be because Rebecca has dementia and is unable to remember the answers herself. Throughout the episode, a big emphasis is placed on the details that Rebecca can remember about the last time she was in the hospital waiting room. It would make sense that for a woman with dementia, any memories are a big deal, and so that's why those seemingly randomly placed comments about the past were sprinkled throughout the episode. Reddit user al2503 supports the theory by saying:
And how there was a big deal over the little details that she does remember, like the color of the chairs in the ER waiting room over twenty years ago. I believe that she does have dementia in the flash forwards and I think that memory is going to be a central theme coming up.
Memory has been a central theme of This is Us throughout all the series so far. The characters constantly relive moments from their childhoods and relate present moments to past ones. In fact, the differences in how characters remember things is often a key point of conflict. Take for example the recent moment when Randall and Kate visited the site of their childhood home. The audience got to see their memories of one specific childhood afternoon, but it was clear that Randall and Kate had very different impressions of that afternoon. Since characters talking about the past is such a big part of the series, it definitely fits the theme of the show for future Rebecca to be losing her personal ties to the past.
Memory also plays a big role in the show as it relates to Jack. Since Jack died, all the characters have are their memories of him, and they are always trying to hold onto those memories as tightly as they can. It would be incredibly tragic for the audience to have to watch Rebecca lose Jack twice: Once when he died, and once when she can no longer remember who he was at all. It would be a pretty devastating end to This is Us, but since the producers love to make their audience cry I would not put it past them.