When This Is Us first introduced the Pearson clan, the family had a deep, dark secret. Their adopted son, Randall, grew up believing his parents were dead. Now, at age 36, he knows this was a lie, one perpetrated by his mother. She did it thinking it was for his own good, keeping his birth father William out of his life. Randall only connected with his biological dad shortly before William passed. But what about his mother? In the Season 5 premiere, This Is Us finally addresses where Randall's birth mother, Laurel, is.
Warning: Spoilers for the This Is Us Season 5 two-hour premiere follow. Despite the shock of discovering William existed, there were still some things Randall (and fans) held as true about his life: William left his newborn son at a fire station in desperation. Randall's mother, Laurel, the love of William's life, had died. Overwhelmed at the idea of raising a baby alone, William gave his son away in hopes of him being adopted and finding a better life.
Over the two-hour premiere, This Is Us unspooled the story of William and Laurel's romance, from their meet-cute on the bus to the moment William gave Laurel heroin to ease the pain of giving birth at home, which led to her overdose. But This Is Us is known for ending with shocking twists, and Season 5's premiere was no exception.
As Randall lamented that all he wants for the rest of 2020 is no surprises, the show cut back to the moment Laurel was presumed dead. The EMTs told William to stay put, since they could see he was high, noting the baby should go to child services. But as William fled the scene with his child rather than let the cops take them both, Laurel's pulse came to life. She took a breath and opened her eyes.
So, Randall's mother is presumably alive and has been for Randall's entire life. But how? And where is she now? It seems William never knew the truth about his partner. Whatever happened after Laurel woke up, she may have decided never to return to that apartment or William. Perhaps she attempted to, but saw what misfortune had befallen William, and left. Maybe she never forgave him for running away with her son. Perhaps Laurel believed her son was dead. Why else wouldn't she have been looking for him? Is she even alive now, or did she die at some point after Randall's first day of life?
One would assume, since the show is revealing this all now, that Laurel is still alive today. If she's still in Philly (and it's probably a good bet she is), then Randall Pearson is a known public figure to her, and a famous one at that, the little city councilman who could.
So, the question remains: What will eventually draw these two to cross paths after all this time, and how will Laurel know Randall is her son? Further, how badly will this rock Randall's world to have his bio-mom appear in his life after 40 years? Let's hope he was serious about getting himself a new therapist.
It seems 2020 still has at least one more Earth-shattering surprise in store for Randall. Too bad he won't get his birthday wish.
This Is US continues on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.