Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from the This Is Us Season 5 episode “Changes.”
This Is Us fans are reacting to the surprising ending to the most recent episode of what is turning out to be a confusing season on the NBC drama.
Throughout “Changes,” viewers got glimpses of a Vietnamese grandfather (Vien Hong) teaching his young granddaughter (Brandilyn Cheah) how to fish and cook. After the grandfather told the little girl he liked to cook for a specific woman, she asked if the special lady was the woman seen in all the pictures in his house. That woman turned out to be Randall’s birth mother, Laurel (Jennifer C. Holmes), who, as it was revealed in the Season 5 premiere, did not die of a drug overdose after she gave birth to Randall in August 1980.
In the comments section to a photo on the official This Is Us Instagram page, seen here, fans reacted to the bombshell final scene that zeroed in on a photograph of Laurel and a younger version of the grandfather.
While some questioned how Laurel could have lived and never bothered to look for her newborn son, others said maybe she suffered memory loss after her overdose.
Others wondered if the Vietnamese man and Laurel had a child together, which would mean Randall would have an unknown sibling and niece.
“It’s like a soap opera now! I wonder if that little girl is related to Randall in any way?” one viewer asked.
Others recalled the mystery girl in Vietnam who once gave Jack Pearson a necklace and wondered if the two flashback stories are in some way connected.
“What is the connection though?” one viewer asked of the new twist. “Wonder if Jack is a connection from the war and a Vietnamese gal from back then. Remember a while ago with the necklace. I’m so confused now help. Lol.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman promised he won’t keep viewers hanging for too long on this complicated family tree twist.
While he admitted that viewers have only seen a glimpse of a character that’s going to eventually play a “large role” in the family’s picture, he promised once the full picture is painted, there will be “be a satisfying and elegant” answer to a lot of things. He also noted that Vietnam is a special place on This Is Us, as both Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Nicky (Michael Angarano) served in the war there, and that the return to Vietnam for another backstory was “purposeful.”
“When the story is told to completion, you will see that it has to do with time and real-world history,” he teased.
As for when Randall will learn more about his biological mother, Fogelman said fans have seen the first point of connection, and in the next episode, they will see more.
“We’re not too far away from sharing a lot of information with the audience,” he added.