This is Us Episode 28 RECAP: Randall and Jack Both Let Go

Randall finale

Credit NBC

I can’t even...

This episode may have me sniffling for the five weeks it takes us to get back to the show. I knew the Randall episode would get under my skin the most, because he’s the triplet I most relate to. He’s like my Tv brother from another mother–for real!

However, allow me to collect myself so I can recap this for you all. Perhaps it will be cathartic for me, therapeutic and all that.

Big sniff and here we go:

1. A moment of levity–Lord, how we needed a moment of levity–from that cheeseball, Randall: “Why did the iPad go to the dentist? He had Blue Tooth…” Bada boom, bada bing! Hey, he’s there all week, or he will be again on January 2.

2. Deja, so cute in her flowered sweatshirt, which I could swear I was thisclose to buying at Target, nurtures her school project under the watchful eye of Randall. Everyone is seriously rattled when Deja’s mom, Shauna, shows up out of the blue (and fresh out of the Big House) and gets pretty aggressive with Beth at the door, demanding she get her daughter back. Uh oh.

3. It’s the same day as Kate’s day and Kevin’s day, both in the present tense and in flashback, so I am wondering why they are making such a big, fat, hairy deal over the fuse box and the power going out. Yeah, they really want us to know that the house has fuse issues. 

4. Seems like a good time to say we need to pay our social workers more. What a difficult job requiring so much wisdom! Although, Randall and Beth don’t see the wisdom of Linda, Deja’s social worker, recommending that Deja be placed back in her home with her mother. Not one little bit. “We knew what we signed up for,” Randall says, furious and scared that the child he has come to care for might be plucked from their home. But does anyone really ever know what they signed up for?

5. Can I just say I LOVED teenaged Randall’s road trip with his dad? His glee at the outset–who doesn’t love the lure of the open road? And they go on a college visit to Howard University, an HBCU (historically black college/university). College visits are fraught anyway (those of you who have done this are nodding your heads). Add the awkwardness of a white dad of a black prospective student on a majority black campus and you have serious potential for cringe-y-ness. “Do you want me to go with you?” Jack asks Randall who is about to take flight and tour the campus less formally with some friends. Insert emotionally laden pause here. And–stab to the heart!–that would be a “no” from Randall.  (BTW, interestingly enough, my son, Ezra, visited Howard as part of a “college and justice tour” with our church youth group. As one of two white kids on the trip, he had some Jack-like moments of feeling a little off balance. But he loved it. “Mom, Howard has the BEST food and merch!” he told me. And what a beautiful campus…)

6. Jack and Randall have the kind of pivotal, intimate talk that so often only happens in the car. Jack takes a detour to the Vietnam War Memorial, where he unzips his heart to his son about his horrific time in the war. Randall’s stricken face…Actor Niles Fitch brought it HOME! 

7. Back in the present, Randall remembers a conversation he had with William before he died. “Who was I to insert myself into your life against your mother’s wishes?” William asked, rhetorically. In that moment, Randall begins to see Deja’s future in a different light. (I blubbered at the bike scene–you?) But I will take any chance I can get to have William back. Dear William!

8. Randall talks to Beth about dropping their fight to keep Deja. They want to do the right thing, but it will cost them dearly. Soon after, they show up at Deja’s school and watch her proudly as she gives her presentation. You can tell the teacher is impressed (and maybe surprised). “My foster dad helped me,” she says, shyly cutting her eyes to a beaming Randall. Oh, my heart! 

9. When Deja says goodbye to Randall…Yeah, that was rough. I found myself hoping and wishing that Randall and Beth could somehow still be a part of her life. I loved the little teaser they threw in, with the cute little guy looking for a family, but I predict we have not seen the last of Deja.

10. Finally, the three stories spiral and line up at the same place. Randall reaches out to Kate and thinks she will be okay. Kate wants to try for another baby. And Randall and Beth want to try for another foster child, maybe a boy this time…

But Kevin is the one bereft of hope. Chugging OJ and vodka, he takes off from Randall’s place, loaded, in his car. BLURGH!! As he weaves and swerves, he has no idea his niece, Tess, has snuck into the back seat. He almost gets them both killed, when blessedly, he gets pulled over. However, I doubt Tess’s parents will see anything “blessed” about Kevin for a long time to come. Hope the cops throw his rear DUI butt in jail. He deserves it. And then I hope he finally gets the help he needs.

Well, how many tissues did you go through this episode? What do you make of the constant fuse box references? Do you think Randall and Beth made the right call to let Deja go without a fight?

And FOR THE LOVE–what will happen to Kevin???? 

Favorite scene? Favorite line? 


KATE episode recap, HERE.

KEVIN episode recap, HERE.

The week before last week’s recap–Will Jack and Rebecca be able to guide Randall through a racist world?– HERE.

Check out the week before that–the Halloween episode where Tess is born– HERE!

And the week before THAT–with the big Nicki Pearson reveal– here.

Comment below for your chance to win a This is Us Season #1 soundtrack! I’ll pick a random winner when This is Us goes on hiatus in November, let’s say one week from tonight! Unfortunately, that moment has come. We are on hiatus from our SHOW! I’ll miss you guys. Don’t be a stranger now! I’ll still be blogging–just not about #US.

Us soundtrack


  1. says

    This episode literally left me speechless! All I can say is this show is so brilliant at delving into REAL human struggles without wrapping them up in pretty, tidy bows. I love this second series even more than the first. In answer to your questions….the scene where Randall and Deja say ‘goodbye’. And yes, such appreciation for the social worker, Linda. I love how she lets Randall and Beth vent (as they’ve done before) without blinking an eye. She is a role model for calm and cool. And I love how Randall and Beth work through their personal struggles to do the right thing. As for Kevin…evokes compassion and anger at the same time. Did you see the After This Is Us? Sterling K Brown said: “In the next weeks, you will find out how Jack dies.” Jaw dropping to the floor! Can’t wait!

    • Lorilee says

      Wow! You are the first person to say you love the second season more. I think I do, too. It’s a richer experience, knowing the characters as we do!

  2. Bonny Mulder-Behnia says

    I love everything about Randall. In this episode, I was struck by several things:
    1. The conversation between Jack and Randall, when Randall tries to describe how he feels being different, an outsider, “off balance.” My grandson is 14, and biracial, and I know the struggle is real. When he’s with his white family, he and his black afro make him stand out — which I think is his statement — but when he’s with his African-American family, he also feels a bit out of place. I loved how teen Randall felt like his world opened up when surrounded by people who looked like him, and how they could talk openly about it. Thanks to the writers for acknowledging the elephant in the room with Randall is the only non-white member of the family.
    2. The conversation with William, and how — in spite of the deep sense of loss that Randall didn’t get to know his biological father for most of his life — the pieces came together when he was faced with fighting for Deja and disrupting the life she knew or living with his own grief and letting her go (along with a piece of his heart). When she reminded him of his disclosure about his heart being split, she was saying that’s how she felt. Her character is so mature.
    3. It struck me that while Randall was upstairs telling Beth that there is another child out there that needs their love — maybe a boy — his own brother was downstairs dying a slow death. Randall failed to see that his brother is suffering and is desperate for help. I hope that Kevin’s dangerous drunk-driving disaster with his niece in the car ends up with recovery from addition and recovering of relationships in the family.
    4. May I just say that — as much as I love Randall — I didn’t like that he holds up the incentive of a big house and big car as the end goal to working hard. Maybe a young girl wouldn’t understand if he told her she would have a sense of purpose, success, self-respect, choices, freedom, independence, and the world at her fingertips. Because not everyone who works hard gets a big house and a big car, but perhaps they do not end up struggling for simple things or landing in jail due to poor choices.
    Enough said. :)
    I love this show. Caught up on two episodes tonight while my husband was asleep because he just doesn’t appreciate it like I do.

  3. Bonny Mulder-Behnia says

    Okay, I have to add one more powerful scene, especially in light of the #metoo disclosures:
    When Randall is saying good-bye to Deja, and says, “I know you don’t like me to touch you,” and she says, “Only when I don’t see it coming.” BAM! What I heard her, and so many other little girls and boys saying, is:
    1. Don’t make me hug you when I don’t know you.
    2. Don’t touch me without my permission (ask “May I hug you?” and accept if they say no)
    3. You don’t know how it makes me feel when somebody forces themselves on me, because of a traumatic or uncomfortable experience I’ve had
    4. My space is my space. Period.
    Even as a 50-something woman, I teared up. Last week a shuttle driver thought I was taking too long looking for my suitcase, so he put his hands on my waist and physically moved me out of the way. And I felt humiliated and disrespected. Use your words, sir, not your hands.
    Rant over. Go, Deja! :)

  4. Christy Dam says

    My realism said there is NO way the caseworker is bringing mom to their house after the previous confrontation. That move would have been caseworker picking up Deja from their house and bringing her to mom. I’m also a little uncomfortable with how much gratefulness Deja showed. While I know that does happen, it’s pretty realistic that she would not express it even if she felt it, and she may not feel it. But we like Randall so much through all his story, so it makes us happy to see it.

    I wish the caseworker would have made another point, that it didn’t matter that the foster parents had a more stable home. It’s not about parents’ home vs. foster parents’ home, it’s about whether a parent seems fit enough to parent that it outweighs the loss of that parent in the child’s life. With the evidence we have in these episodes, no, they should not have fought for Deja’s mom to be separated from Deja. Does that guarantee her safety? No, but what does?

    My teariest moments were about Tess coping with Deja leaving, and folding up the blanket after she left.

  5. Jean says

    I know I’m late posting, I’ve been so busy! Of course you know Randall is my favorite story line. And my favorite scene was when Randall and William were talking. Randall asked his dad if he looked for him and the story that came out of his mouth, wow!! Oh how I wished it was true that Jack and Rebecca did let William in as a “friend.” Boy did I cry at that scene.

    My heart really goes out to Kevin, he has hit rock bottom. I thought surely he was going to crash into another car. I was shocked when Tess popped up from the back seat!!

    I can’t wait for it to come back on and for your updates on the episodes!!

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