‘This Is Us’ Season 5 Episode 6 ‘Birth Mother’: Who was part of Laurel's past? Meet the cast from the flashback
Who's who in the new episode and what really happened in Laurel's past? Here's a look at the new plot twist of the NBC series
“The past is never dead...” Randall Pearson (Sterling K Brown) has been looking for answers about his birth and he may finally get the real picture. In season five, ‘This Is Us’ goes on to shed light on his biological mother, Laurel (Jennifer C Holmes) and her history.
Ever since the season began, bits and pieces of her life have been scattered in every episode. The last episode — ‘A Long Road Home’ — finally connected the one key figure from her life, Hai Lang (Vien Hong) to Randall and he told him, “We met in our 20s. I thought about telling you about her for so many years. I wish I could see your face. I wish I could show you the places she lived. The things she loved.”
As the new episode unravels his life, here's a slice of her past. Meet all the actors introduced in the new episode portraying the characters who shaped her teenage years.
Jennifer C Holmes as Lauren
Jennifer C Holmes seems to have climbed up the ladder of success with her role as Randall Pearson's birth mother in ‘This Is Us’. Not much is known about her, but the actress first stepped into tinsel town with a role in ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ in 2006 as a Soul Train Dancer. She was next seen in a 2010 short called ‘Antidote’. Did you know she also starred in shows like ‘CSI: Miami’ (2002) and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ (1987)?
Her Instagram bio reads, “For with God nothing will be impossible Luke 1:37.” Going by her Instagram profile, she is dating Cleveland Berto and she captioned one photo, “Happy Birthday to the love of my life, my best friend, my twin flame 🔥 Today we celebrate you baby! It’s a blessing for me to celebrate another bday with you & to make this day special. Thank you for being YOU & always that positive vibe to be around. You give me Synergy 🧘🏾. Love you always & forever.”
Vien Hong as Hai Lang
Back in 1989, Vien Hong started his career with a role in ‘Gleaming the Cube’ and was then seen in shows like ‘Nash Bridges’ and ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’. The actor is known for his roles in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (2014), ‘We Were Soldiers’ (2002) and ‘RoboCop’ (2014).
Known for his portrayal of Kang in the show ‘The Shield’, the actor gained much popularity with his role as Hai Lang in ‘This Is Us’, who turns out to be Laurel's former love interest and the only link connecting Randall and Laurel.
Chi McBride as Paul Dubois
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Kenneth “Chi” McBride dreamt of pursuing a career in music in his early years and earned success with a hit parody song ‘Basically, He's the Champ’ on boxer Mike Tyson and actress Robin Givens' marriage.
The actor has starred in films like ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’, ‘The Terminal’, ‘I, Robot’ and TV shows like ‘Boston Public’, ‘Pushing Daisies’, and ‘Human Target’. In the new episode of ‘This Is Us’, he plays the strict father of Laurel who tells her in one scene, “I will not tolerate a disobedient child.”
Kellita Smith as Elizabeth Dubois
Best known for playing Bernie Mac's wife Wanda McCullough on FOX's ‘The Bernie Mac Show’, Kellita Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Oakland, California. After beginning her career as a model, she went on to star in films and is known for her stint in ‘Living Single’, ‘Moesha’, ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’, ‘The Parkers’ and ‘NYPD Blue’.
In the new episode of ‘This Is Us’, she will be seen as Laurel's high profile mother, who is a part of the most distinguished family in town.
LisaGay Hamilton as Aunt Mae
Born in Los Angeles, California, LisaGay Hamilton spent most of her childhood in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island and is known for her stellar performances in shows like ‘House of Cards’ (2016), Hulu's ‘Chance’ (2016), and ‘The First’ (2018).
Having fallen in love with theater at an early age, she also starred in movies like ‘12 Monkeys’ (1995), ‘Jackie Brown’ (1997), ‘Beloved’ (1998), ‘True Crime’ (1999), ‘The Soloist’ (2009), ‘Beastly’ (2011), and ‘Beautiful Boy’ (2018). In the episode, she plays Aunt Mae, who shares a loving bond with Laurel and is her only emotional support.
Kane Lieu as Young Hai
Guess who plays the young Hai Lang? It's none other than Kane Lieu. Counted among one of the hottest actors, the actor and cinematographer is known for his roles in ‘Reverie’ (2018), ‘The Orville’ (2017) and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ (2009). On the show, he meets Laurel by chance and a romantic connection sparks between the two. After ‘This Is Us’, he is also set to be seen as Able in ‘Get The Girl’.
Keyon Bowman as Jackson
Born and raised in SLC, Utah, Keyon Bowman was raised by parents from Greenville, Mississippi. According to his IMDb bio, he was well-versed with entertainment, music and sports and his mother is passionate about baking. Lovingly known by his nickname Duke, he has also starred in ‘Sydney to the Max’, ‘Saint Street’ and ‘A Family Affair’.
In the new episode, he will be seen as Laurel's brother, who supports her during their childhood and helps her in every little and big thing. Mid-way through the episode, it is revealed that he tragically dies.
Anthony Hill as Marshall Winston
Did you know Anthony Hill played Dr Winston Ndugu on 'Grey's Anatomy'? Born in Springfield, Missouri, and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, he is known for his stint in ‘Scream: The TV Series’, ‘Silicon Valley’, ‘It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, ‘NCIS Los Angeles’, ‘Looking’, and ‘Fuller House’.
On the show, he is seen in barely one scene as Marshall Winston. He is the man Laurel's parents want her to marry but it is more or less a deal for them than her marriage.
Angela Gibbs as old Laurel
As the episode comes to a close, Laurel meets Hai again when she is much older. At that stage, the role is portrayed by actress Angela Gibbs, who is known for her career spanning four decades.
From ‘End of the World: As We Know It’, ‘On My Block’ and ‘Insecure’, ‘American Crimes: The People vs OJ’ to ‘Shameless’, she has portrayed a number of roles before this and her entry will be a highlight for fans.
This episode was directed by Co-EP/Writer Kay Oyegun as part of NBCUniversal’s Female Forward program and marks her TV directing debut. Female Forward is the company’s annual initiative for female directors that aims to achieve gender parity among scripted series directors.
‘This Is Us’ returned after the mid-season winter break with Episode 5 titled ‘A Long Road Home’ on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at 9 pm ET on NBC. Catch the next one, Episode 6 titled ‘Birth Mother’, on January 10, 2021.