Entering This Is Us season 5 episode 6, we were told that an extraordinary episode would be around the corner. We just didn’t quite know how powerful it would be.
“Birth Mother” was a tale of identity, and certainly one that allowed Randall Pearson to feel truly unburdened for the first time in a rather-long time. He entered this episode eager to learn the truth about Laurel, and now he has a much better idea as to who she was. She came from a prominent New Orleans family, but eventually found herself leaving the city after feeling too much control over her life. She only had enough money to get to Pittsburgh, where she eventually met William and the two had a baby together. She barely made it through the situation, only to then be sentenced to prison for years for drug possession.
By the way, we hope this episode continues to spur on conversations about excessive prison time for low-level drug defenders, especially Black men and women in this country. Laurel went to jail for years for something that she easily could’ve been given leniency on.
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It was only after prison that Laurel returned to New Orleans, and Randall learned that it was largely out of shame. She didn’t think she deserved to be a mother, so she didn’t return to Pittsburgh to look for her son. She then lived a life where she tried to find small elements of joy, and eventually found it more in Hai, her first true love. He was the narrator of our story, and someone who cared for her up until her death. She had so many regrets over not getting to meet her son again, and that’s why Hai was so intent himself on finding him. Hai did have children from another marriage, hence the granddaughter that we saw earlier this season.
We spent a lot of time wondering if this episode was going to unveil some other huge surprise, like a secret half-sibling or someone else in that vein. That didn’t happen. Instead, our surprise in the end was Randall using this experience to unburden himself and call Kevin, only to learn from him that Madison was in labor and he was trying to get back to her. That is our tease moving forward.
What did you think about the events of This Is Us season 5 episode 6?
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