Why This Is Us' Mystery Cliffhanger Is More Important Than We Thought

Randall Pearson Sterling K. Brown This Is Us NBC

This Is Us news has settled since the show's explosive Season 2 finale, which teased each Pearson child's future in Season 3, but star Sterling K. Brown is getting the ball rolling again. The actor recently talked about Randall's flash-forward cliffhanger, where he and grown-up Tess are going to visit a mystery "her," and Brown revealed the answer to that mystery is probably more important than fans may have originally thought, as it hints at the show's overall endgame. In Brown's words:

I know who the person is that future Randall is referring to, but [Dan] Fogelman would cut off my big toe if I actually told you who it was. But I can tell you it's probably not what you suspect. In classic Fogelman style, it will be like, 'Oh, wow --- didn't see that coming.' . . . [Fogelman] has a very keen understanding of what the beginning, middle, and end of our show is, and that's important because he often likens our show to Lost in terms of its structure. You're dealing with present-day circumstances, and then you have these flashbacks which further illuminate the present circumstances of the characters. ... When you see that flash-forward to the future, it will ultimately help to illuminate what the end of our story will be. That's pretty big. Without telling you anything, I actually told you quite a bit.

It feels like Sterling K. Brown just declared that his future This Is Us storyline might just be the next "how did Jack die?" mystery for fans to get rabid about. Whoever Tess and Randall are on their way to see in the flash-forward is apparently going to be important to the events happening in Season 3's present-day storyline. This Is Us fans might've already assumed that, considering most of the show's flashback moments are often tied to the present in major ways, so really, Brown really just gave us all a big reminder of how every detail is important, as opposed to leaking huge secrets in his interview to EW. Be that as it may, the quote does provide some immense value, in the sense that fans now know that moment is going to be very important to the overall story when the show returns for Season 3.

For all that Sterling K. Brown didn't say, he did reveal that the "Her" Randall is referring to won't be who fans think it is, which is a presumptive statement. We've speculated quite a bit on who was being referred to in that This Is Us moment, but by and large, the fanbase has widely assumed Deja would be the person Tess and Randall were going to see. Assuming Brown grasps that, his claim indicates that Deja isn't going to be the person the two are dreading to see, which is a bit of a spoiler in and of itself, but it also has to be a relief for anyone worried that the soon-to-be-adopted Pearson child was going to make some truly unforgivable mistakes after smashing the windshield of the family car.

Sterling K. Brown also didn't reveal exactly what is happening with this person in question, but we can assume from his words that whatever is making Randall and Tess hesitant about meeting up with someone two decades from now must have its origins in the present day. There are literally a hundred scenarios that anyone could formulate within those parameters, so the main takeaway is that fans should keep their eye on details unfolding in Randall's story in the present in order to figure out what exactly is happening a couple decades down the road. Which we would have been doing anyway.

This Is Us will return to NBC with Season 3 sometime in the fall. In the meantime, there are a lot of shows heading to television, so be sure to stay in the loop with what shows are premiering or returning with our midseason and summer premiere guides.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.