This Is Us, the breakout show on NBC, most emotional episode yet, has everyone talking this morning. The hour, titled “Memphis,” took viewers on a road trip with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and his cancer-striken biological father William (Ron Cephas Jones). Their destination? Tennessee, where William was looking to reconnect with his past as his body began to fail him.
William wrote a book of poems for his son to hold onto as a memory of the short time they shared together.
William reflected on why things happened the way they did:
“You deserve the beautiful life you made. You deserve everything, Randall. My beautiful boy. My son. I haven’t had a happy life. I’ve had breaks, bad choices, a life of ‘almosts’ and ‘could haves’. Some could call it sad, but I don’t because the two best things in my life is the person at the very beginning and the person at the very end and that’s a pretty good thing to be able to say, I think.”
“I was ashamed of what I’ve become,” William said looking back at why he didn’t raise Randall himself.
William’s advice to Randall:
“Roll all your windows down, Randall. Crank up the music, grow out that fro, let someone else make your bed.”
Randall chuckled with his eyes full of tears, “I like making my own bed, old man.”
“I’m a little scared.”
After Randall finally realized his father was really about to die, he channeled the personality of Jack, the father who raised him, to act strong and embrace the final moments of his birth father’s life.
Randall placed a hand on each side of William’s face, looked him in the eyes and told him to breathe with him just as Jack used to do when Randall would have strong anxiety attacks over homework as a child.Before he died, William made sure to give Randall his book of poetry, “Poems for My Son.” And Randall gave his father a gift, too: a comforting voice to guide him to the end.