Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from the This Is Us episodes “Forty: Part 1” and “Forty: Part 2.”
This Is Us fans are reacting to a shocking twist that was teased in the final seconds of the Season 5 premiere.
A flashback scene set in 1980 showed Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) birth mother, Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes), did not immediately die after delivering him, as viewers were previously led to believe.
After a young, drug-addled William (Jermel Nakia) fled the scene as paramedics tried to revive her from a narcotics overdose, the final scene showed the emergency workers detecting a pulse in Laurel and then her eyes opened as she gasped.
William believed Laurel had died when he dropped their newborn son off at a fire station with the hopes he would be raised by a good family.
In the comments section to an Instagram post about the episode, seen here, fans were blown away by the blindside revelation that Laurel could still be alive.
“JUST FINISHED WATCHING THE EPISODE. I HAVE CHILLS! ABSOLUTE CHILLS,” one viewer wrote.
“My jaw is on the floor,” another added.
“So where is she now? Like Randall’s dad is dead but his mom can possibly still be alive. Was not expecting that at all,” a third fan wrote.
Others couldn’t believe This Is Us writers waited five seasons to reveal Randall’s birth mom didn’t have a fatal overdose. Some viewers speculated about why Laurel wouldn’t have sought out William and her missing son, wondering if she suffered memory loss after her overdose or that, perhaps, she was in prison.
“You guys did NOT have to do us like that this early into the season,” one fan wrote of the twist.
In a post-show interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman made no promises that viewers will see an alive and well Laurel in scenes set in the present day.
The showrunner noted Randall’s closest relationship is with his mother, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and he’s “kind of a mama’s boy,” but has never really opened up the door to learning about his biological mom.
Fogleman said the back half of the series will unfold this last card for Randall.
“It’s not just about: Is she alive in present day, or will he interact with her? It’s more about: Will Randall get to learn her story? And if he does, what will that do for him?”
Fogleman also hinted that William may have found out Laurel did not die on the day she gave birth to Randall, promising that “later episodes” will speak to that topic.
While he refused to give any spoilers about how Laurel may enter the Pearsons’ universe, he did promise answers will be coming — and soon.
“The first half of the season will give all the answers — and even before then,” the This Is Us boss said.