'This Is Us' Season 5 Premiere: Is Randall's real mother alive? Here's what happened in William's backstory
When was Randall Pearson (Sterling K Brown) born? ‘This Is Us’ never really peeks into his life before he entered the Pearson family. Of course, through the last four seasons, we meet his biological father William "Shakespeare" Hill, but we never really know what happened to his mother. Last season, Randall's therapist Dr Leigh (Pamela Adlon) told him: “Your life has really been defined by your mothers. The mother you lost at birth... Who is barely a footnote in your story. And the mother who lied to your for 36 years.” It seems her words will be at play through the new season.
As Season 5 begins with the two-hour premiere night titled ‘Forty: Part One and Two’, Randall wonders when and how was he really born. Is it even the same day as the Big Three's celebrations? As the moment dissolves into a flashback from the past, a baby is lying next to William (Jermel Nakia)... he turns his lover Laurel (Jennifer C Holmes) around and she seems to be dead.
In a flashback inside that flashback, the two share a lovable moment when she first reveals she is pregnant and says she will restraint herself from taking any drugs or alcohol. Through those flashbacks, William and Laurel (Jennifer C Holmes) try to build a new life before their baby is born. “I don't like to talk about my life before you,” she tells him, adding, “Thanks for not asking.”
In another scene, she tells him she wishes to take up the assistant manager's job but is heartbroken when she doesn't get it. “I wanted that apartment. He's not gonna have the window with light,” Laurel tells William. He replies, “He's gonna have us.” In another emotional moment, she asks him for a vow. “William, if I can't be the mother you want me to be... Promise me you'll make a family. Promise me.”
It leads to the day when he helps her give birth to the baby. Laurel refuses to go to a clinic and she was struggling with her health so much that she begs William to get her “some stuff” to help her, “so I can be there for the baby.” So he does, and when he wakes up the next morning, the baby is incessantly crying and Laurel doesn't have a pulse. Seeing her condition, William takes a bus ride and drops off baby Randall at that fire station. Meanwhile, two EMTs arrive to check on her health.
One of them, feeling extremely sorry for the young woman, keeps trying to help get her pulse back. The other one tells William to wait... But in a jiffy of a moment, William vanishes in thin air. Just then, the cop gets a hint of a pulse on Laurel and the nail-biting season premiere ends with Laurel taking a breath. That makes one wonder: Did William ever find out Laurel was alive? Is Randall's biological mother still alive? Will Randall ever know what his real mother was like?
With William gone, will Randall might seek out answers through Laurel’s roots, just like he did when he took William to Memphis. Much of Randall's birth story — and why he left Randall at the fire station as an infant — has to do with Laurel’s drug use and eventual overdose and that may be explored further as more episodes roll out.
A newcomer when she joined ‘This Is Us’, Holmes is also credited for ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ in 2006 as a soul train dancer. She was also seen in small part in TV shows like ‘CSI: Miami’ and ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’. Her Instagram bio reads, “For with God nothing will be impossible Luke 1:37.” Will be back as a main character in next few episodes? Well, only time will tell.
The two-hour episode of 'This Is Us' premieres on Tuesday, October 27 at 9 pm ET on NBC. Following that, you can catch one-hour episodes starting at 9 pm from November 3, 2020.