‘This Is Us’: The Heartbreaking Reason Why Randall and Kevin Aren’t Speaking in the Flash Forward

As fans of This Is Us have come to expect, the show threw them for another loop in the final moments of the Nov. 19 Season 4 fall finale. One stand-out from the nine month flash-forward is that Randall and Kevin aren’t speaking at that point, prompting many to wonder what exactly happened to get to the point of them having a falling out.

this is us kevin randall
‘This Is Us’: Justin Hartley as Kevin, Sterling K. Brown as Randall | Ron Batzdorff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Randall and Kevin were close at the Pearson family Thanksgiving

As the episode unfolded, the Pearsons gathered for Thanksgiving and there was plenty going on, with Deja’s birth mother and Uncle Nicky in the mix, as well as some tension brewing between Kate and Toby. Randall and Kevin, however, seemed like they were on solid ground.

As the episode neared the end, Randall asked Kevin what was next for him now that Nicky was back on his feet and Kevin shared that he was ready to settle down, setting a goal to get married and have a baby by his 40th birthday.

The brothers were chummy and seemed closer than ever… and then the show threw in a classic twist.

Nine months later, Kevin and Randall aren’t speaking

In a flash-forward that’s nine months in the future, some of the family gathers for the Big Three’s birthday, but Randall is noticeably absent. Rebecca asks where he is and Kevin responds, “We’re not speaking, remember?”

What happened between Kevin and Randall that got to a point of estrangement?

In an interview with EW, executive producer Isaac Aptaker wouldn’t spill the beans entirely but did tease where things might have fallen apart for the two. When asked if there will be “repercussions from Kevin and Kate over Randall’s presumably keeping Rebecca’s [health] condition a secret” as the” basis of this fight,” Aptaker shared, “It may be.”

He added: “I mean, so many of the people that we brought in to speak to what it’s like to have a parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s talked about the tensions that flare up between siblings, between spouses, when it comes to that person’s care. There’s just so many decisions and there are never clear-cut answers. So, yes, I think that the secret could be it. There’s going to be a lot of complicated decision-making down the line regarding Rebecca’s treatment and care, and that all makes existing sibling rivalries rear their heads, for sure.”

How long have they not been speaking?

As for how long the brothers haven’t been talking when they’re seen nine months in the future, Aptaker teased: “That is something that you are going to have to wait and see when we get back to that time.”

He added that fans won’t have to wait long to see what happens between Kevin and Randall to get them to this place, explaining, “But because we know it is our fifth season premiere [as each season begins on a Big Three birthday]. We’ll see the rift, see the falling-out, see how it all happens over the back half of the season and into the beginning of next. It’s all coming up in the very immediate future for the show; this isn’t something that’s going to be a long wait.”

Additionally, Aptaker told TVLine, “It’s definitely something that by the end of our season, we’ll understand what the rift is between those brothers,” and shared that “it’s possible” that it has something to do with Rebecca.