This Is Us Season 3, Episode 8 titled “Six Thanksgivings” revealed that Tess Pearson (Eris Baker) has been keeping a secret of her own. On Tuesday, November 20, she got her first period ever and told her aunt Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) that she was gay. The tween now has to start thinking about her parents. In an after-show interview with Sterling K. Brown (Randall) and Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth) posted on Facebook, the NBC This Is Us cast members hint at what may be in store for Tess.
The episode portrayed a refreshing take on a tween coming out. Usually, angst-ridden and fraught with emotion, This Is Us handled the moment with the utmost respect and nonchalance that counters every other big This Is Us moment (think Jack’s mysterious death) that was dragged on for episodes at a time.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and the original Twilight movie, Tess’s coming out scene was so subtle and genuine. Kate told her newly-menstruating niece, “I know you have a mom, but if there’s anything you ever want to talk to me about, any time. Pretty soon you’re gonna have your first kiss, and your first boyfriend.”
Tess suddenly seemed nervous, looked at Kate, and answered, ” Or… girlfriend.” Kate instantly reassured Tess with, “Or girlfriend.” And with those words, Tess’s coming out was sealed. Tess got unconditional love and acceptance from a family member who didn’t make a big deal out of her sexuality.
As they were making their way down to the Thanksgiving meal preparations later, Tess asks her aunt, “Don’t tell mom and dad about… you know.” Kate promises Tess that she won’t. She also tells her niece, “But Tess, your parents are going to love you no matter what. So you should tell them.”
About three and a half minutes into the after-show clip, Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson talk about their TV daughter’s coming out of the closet moment. Brown said that he understood why Tess first came out to Kate. He said that there was a “literal geographic distance” between the two characters so that she wouldn’t need to face her aunt again. He then compared it to when people talk to complete strangers on an airplane because they would never have to see them again.
Watson felt that Randall and Beth would handle it the way that any parent should, “with love, the way anyone should deal with their children.” She said, “I feel like with kids, they will throw something out there to see how it sticks, first, with somebody, test the waters a little bit. And sometimes also hope that somebody will pave that way for them.” She said that Tess is carrying a heavy weight.
Luckily for Tess, she has two parents who have big hearts. And it seems as if they will support their daughter no matter what.