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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Beth and Randall (spoiler alert)

These days, I don’t spend a lot of time watching network television. But on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm, I am front and center for This Is Us. It’s the show you can’t stop watching or get through without tears. It’s everything.

The writing for This Is Us is so on point every week, including how they are able to effectively flip from past to present while tying everything together.

A few weeks ago, an entire episode was devoted to Beth and we were finally able to learn about her childhood, love of dance, and the messy relationship with her mother played by none other than Phylicia Rashad.

Tuesday night focused some attention on Beth and Randall Pearson, whom get a lot of #blacklovegoals on social media. I love these two but the trouble they have been having lately in their marriage had me thinking about relationships in general – about respect and sacrifice.

Beth and Randall bring a breath of fresh air to how black love is represented on television. One thing that has always stood out from the beginning of the show is that Beth always has Randall’s back. No matter what it looks like, what it sounds like, or how much it hurts, Randall manages to scoop her up into what he wants.

  • He wanted to move his newfound father into the house - Beth agreed.

  • He wanted to adopt a child, because he was adopted – Beth agreed.

  • He wanted to quit his job, along with the good income – Beth agreed.

  • He wanted to buy a run-down building with their entire savings – Beth agreed.

  • He wanted to run for city council – Beth agreed.

So now, the tables have turned. Beth was fired from her job and was not okay. Randall didn’t seem to notice, because she’s always “good.” But she finally opens up to let him know that she needs the help he promised her. In response, he works even harder to win the city council seat – that’s a two hour commute each day - and “needs” her at every single turn.

  • Beth found her passion and wanted to pursue it – Randall tries to persuade her to wait.

  • Beth has an opportunity to win at her chosen path – Randall pushes that what he’s doing matters more.

Basically, he told her that she would need to table her dream of a career in dance while he continued to pursue his dream. Of course, this did not go over well... AT ALL!

Relationships are hard, and anyone who says otherwise is living in a fantasy world. It takes daily work, compromise, and sacrifice. But sometimes lines get crossed, comfort zones start to set in and selfishness can rear its ugly head.

Beth and Randall are like many couples where one makes decisions for themselves and knows the other will always be there to support, in whatever way they need them to. However, the person who always takes may not have the capacity to do the same, unless it is on their terms. It's manipulation disguised within love.

Also, in the episode, we see a flashback of young Randall’s panicked pursuit of perfection of choosing homework over a personal commitment. He’s doing the same thing as an adult.

So, we get to see the moment where he loses control. We’ve all had those moments where — even if it’s only something that we half-feel — we say the worst thing that we could possibly say because we want to hurt the person standing in front of us.

It’s not an excuse but the show continues to do a great job of showing us how our past dictates our future. Not only that, but how that behavior shapes our relationships and even the person we choose to be with.

This shift that is happening between Beth and Randall will redefine their relationship. What that looks like depends on the writers of the show. But as viewers, we want them to be okay. In real life, sometimes it’s not okay. Sometimes taking charge of our selfishness can be the key that opens the door to pure freedom and understanding.

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