Spoiler alert: This article contains minor spoilers for the This Is Us episode “Flip a Coin.”
This Is Us will welcome back an Emmy-nominated guest star this week, but her character won’t exactly have a warm reunion with Randall (Sterling K. Brown). In the upcoming episode “Flip a Coin,” actress Phylicia Rashad returns to reprise her role as Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) chilly mom, Carol Clark, who wastes no time getting into it with her son-in-law on what should be a happy day.
In a sneak peek clip posted by Entertainment Weekly, Rashad’s character shows up for the grand opening of Beth’s dance studio in Philadelphia. After making a sarcastic remark about the parking situation at the tiny studio, Mama Clark nudges Randall away when he tries to help her carry boxes from her trunk and into the building.
During a brief moment alone, Randall warns Carol that Beth’s stress level is high, and he asks her not to exacerbate the situation.
“You’re trying to tell me how to speak to my daughter?” Carol asks in the clip.
Things reportedly reach a boiling point when the group enters the dance studio on the day of the grand opening and are greeted with a horrible, inexplicable smell. While Carol thinks Beth should reschedule the ribbon-cutting for her studio, Randall apparently thinks the event should go on as originally planned. Surely that disagreement won’t end well.
This Is Us fans already know that Rashad’s Carol is a polarizing figure. During Beth’s teen years, the overbearing mother put a stop to her future as a dancer when she felt her daughter would never be the best in her class. While Carol later apologized to an adult Beth, their relationship seems permanently strained.
Carol also appears to have had an issue with Randall when he first met Beth while in college, as can be seen from the “Flip a Coin” promo below.
Rashad, whose other famous mom role was playing Clair Huxtable on the 1980s sitcom The Cosby Show, told Oprah Magazine earlier this year that she was unsure if she would be returning to This Is Us after her Season 3 guest spot in the Beth-centric backstory episode “Our Little Island Girl.”
“I don’t know if I coming back,” Rashad said of This Is Us in March. “It was a guest appearance, and I was very happy to have accepted it, partly because of my longstanding relationship with Susan.”
Rashad previously worked with her TV daughter in real life when she was one of Kelechi Watson’s instructors for a method acting class at Howard University.
“We maintained a friendship and connection through the years, having worked together twice professionally in public theater,” the 71-year old TV legend said.
Rashad also marveled at “how beautiful and developed” the 37-year-old This Is Us star is now and “how proud her parents must be.”
Now, if only Carol would give Beth some of that support.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.