The incredible frustration tonight on This Is Us was watching Beth and Randall confront the system and fail to understand the reality of the world that they had signed up to join. Randall, especially, is a guy who is used to controlling everything around him. He's not used to being rejected by a system, a certainly not in favor of someone who hasn't worked hard all their lives for everything they've got. So will Deja return to This Is Us after the mid-season finale?
Let's talk a little bit about the foster system. The goal, always, at the end of the day, is to put a child back with their bio-parent, if possible. Even if it's not the ideal. Even if emotionally it's more stressful. Even if it's a situation that could quickly deteriorate.
But Linda the social worker knows what she's doing. She is doing exactly what she's supposed to do here. She looks at Shauna's home and she says: "She's making an effort. She sober. She's working with the police to put someone in jail who is far more guilty than she. She deserves her kid."
This is something that the Pearsons cannot fathom. In their eyes, they've done everything they're supposed to. They play respectability politics. And they are putting Deja on a path towards that bougie lifestyle. They are teaching her that if you work hard and follow the rules, you can have those iPads, those fridges with the see-thru doors, those gates on your driveway, and those white neighbors who you are desperate to never scare.
To them, they are the clear choice. So why is Linda sitting there recommending Deja be taken from them?
Randall realizes, like William did, that he's chasing something that he can't have. It's not a dream for Deja, it's a dream for himself. Much like William once dreamed of having Randall in his life, not for the kid, who he didn't know. But for himself.
Randall and Beth do the hardest thing. They admit they're wrong. They admit this isn't about this. It's about Deja, a kid they barely know. She wants to go home. As she says, just because that's what she wants doesn't mean she didn't care for them.
Deja is the most mature person in the whole group to be honest, and the one who's got her head on the straightest in this whole ordeal. She has to. Adults around her are all losing theirs.
But hey, Randall and Beth did win in one way. Deja's seen what's possible. They've opened her eyes to the bougie world, one that if she works hard, and gets out of her situation, can be hers. Randall did it. She can do.
So will Deja be back after the mid-season finale? Or will we see the Pearsons move on to another child? There are so many children in need in the foster system. So many who are lost. Who's to say they don't move on, and get another one, a different one, one they can keep?
But that doesn't mean that Deja might not be back either! Remember, her mother may be trying. But this is a woman who makes bad choices. Terribad choices, not just when it comes to her life, but to her men and her substances and her job. What guarantees that it will be different this time?
Does that mean Deja will come back to the Pearsons? She might. The foster system could assign her elsewhere. But that doesn't seem likely, because we've seen that look in Randall's eyes, and in Beth's. If Deja reaches out to them, ever again, in need, they'll be there.