The time has come again for another Big Three trilogy — a three-episode stretch of This Is Us in which each Pearson kid gets one whole episode to themselves. Randall gets the spotlight first in this season’s trilogy, which is dubbed “A Hell of a Week.”
Let’s dive into what unfolds during Randall’s “Part One” episode.
Things essentially pick up where last week left off, with our favorite nerd face-to-face with an intruder after coming home from seeing the doctor with Rebecca. But first, there’s a flashback to the Big Three toddler era. It’s the first night the kids are sleeping in their big kid beds, with Kate in one room and the boys in another. After Jack and Rebecca get the children to bed, Jack insists that sick Rebecca sleeps, claiming he can handle things if the kids wake up in the middle of the night — which Rebecca is certain will happen.
THIS IS US — “A Hell of a Week: Part One” Episode 411 — Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Niles Fitch as Randall — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
Sure enough, Randall wakes up scared and goes to find Jack downstairs.
Cut to adult Randall and the intruder. Randall slowly tosses his money clip on the table. He tells the guy police are on their way because he tripped the security alarm, but if he takes the money and leaves without hurting Randall or his family, he might escape. Luckily, the guy follows Randall’s lead, grabs the money, and runs. Randall got lucky, but also what a bads— moment.
Still, though he’s physically unharmed, the incident leaves Randall quietly reeling. Through the days that follow, and through various flashbacks, we learn that when big moments happen in Randall’s life, he suffers insomnia and bad dreams.
In the present day, it’s the break-in, and he imagines unexperienced parts of the incident. When Randall is in college and struggling with his father’s death, he has nightmares of either Rebecca in danger or his father mysteriously alive — and in the dreams, no one hears Randall. When he’s a toddler, after the Big 3 is somewhat separated in their own spaces, he can’t sleep for fear of monsters.
Read below for a summary of the past incidents:
The Ghosts of Pearson’s Past
Jack takes scared Randall back upstairs. He assures him that monsters aren’t real, but just in case, vows to sleep on the floor next to him to protect him through the night. Randall falls asleep for a little, then Jack does, but Randall ends up lying awake anyway. When Jack wakes up, he sneaks out of the room thinking Randall is asleep. Randall catches him and Jack begs Randall to sleep, saying his mom and dad need him to be the easy child since his siblings are difficult. Randall agrees to try to be strong.
When college Randall has a nightmare about his mom in danger, he wakes up in a panic to a dorm fire alarm drill. He runs to get Beth, thinking it’s real, and she calms him down.
At home with his mother, he tries to tell her about the nightmare, but they keep getting interrupted, first by Kate on a seemingly unpleasant phone call with Mark, then by Kevin arriving home with Sophie. They’re in town for Rebecca’s birthday dinner. Randall doesn’t end up telling his mother.
The dreams continue and Beth spends several nights with him to help him sleep. Beth urges him to see a therapist — it helped her get over her own nightmares about her father’s death. Randall rejects the idea of therapy but agrees to at least go to a grief group.
But later, just before he and Beth are heading to the grief group ahead of Rebecca’s dinner, Kevin calls. Dinner is canceled. Something happened to Kate. It seems we’re one step closer to learning what happens with Mark… perhaps we’ll get the story in Kate’s trilogy episode.
Adult Randall goes through the ringer
In the present, the police tell Randall nothing appears missing besides the cash he surrendered. They offer to sweep upstairs but Randall passes since he’s sure he caught the intruder on his way in. Randall then puts on a brave face for his family, but in a moment alone, he’s clearly shook.
He sends Beth and the girls to a hotel since police said intruders often return the next night expecting the house to be empty with the family in hiding. Randall stays home — with a cop car posted outside — to set up the security system.
He gets spooked in the night and calls Kevin for comfort, but when Kevin — who happens to be in Pittsburgh for Sophie’s mother’s funeral — asks why Randall had returned home so late, Randall doesn’t want to tell him about Rebecca’s health, so he ends the conversation.
To Jae-won Yoo’s surprise, Randall shows up at work the next day. He insists on still doing the Town Hall they have scheduled for the following day about the controversial housing bill he agreed to. But then when Darnell comes to talk to him about concerns with the bill, Randall is distracted by his new remote camera surveillance security system. Darnell leaves angrily, not knowing about the break-in.
That night, Randall can’t sleep, and in the morning, things get worse when he and Beth realize some jewelry is missing. It turns out the thief took more than they thought — just whatever was out, but what matters most is he was upstairs in at least Beth and Randall’s room before Randall got home.
Randall freaks out, terrified of what might have happened to his family. Beth makes him promise to take off the next day so they can discuss the experience and how to cope.
Randall’s Town Hall goes on as scheduled, but the distracted and shaken Randall struggles to answer questions, settling for asking the community to simply trust he has their interests in mind.
In bed later, he can’t stop seeing the intruder in his room, touching Beth.
The next morning, he sets out for a run he pretends will be his cure-all, but Darnell shows up at his door. Darnell cuts him slack on the housing bill situation in sympathy for the break-in. Then he urges him to see a therapist — about the incident and his general anxieties. He says he had problems like Randall and a therapist helped him. Randall hears him out but insists running is all he needs. He takes off.
During his run he encounters a mugging. He tackles the thief and beats him up, nearly going too far and breaking his hand in the process. He’s hailed a hero by the news but soon enough, he finally breaks down, ditching work, running home, and calling Kevin from his bathroom. Crying, he confesses how scared he was and is and begs for a distraction.
Kevin vows to help him through this, and per instructions to distract, says he has his own thing to talk about. He looks at the back of the woman he’s lying next to in bed.
One thousand bucks it’s Cassidy. They want us to think it’s Sophie but that’s too easy… so I say it’s Cassidy and I’m so here for it. Here’s to maybe finding out in “Hell of a Week: Part Two” (or three).
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