‘This Is Us’: Malik and Deja’s Relationship Will Leave Fans ‘Wonderfully Surprised,’ According to Producers

Fans of This Is Us were treated to the beginnings of a teen love story on the Nov. 5 episode, titled “The Dinner and the Date.” Malik and Deja embarked on an adventure that included skipping school and wandering around Philadelphia while they got to know each other better — and their parents had some strong feelings about whether or not the two should be dating at all. What can fans expect with Deja and Malik moving forward?

this is us deja and malik
‘This Is Us’ Lyric Ross as Deja | Ron Batzdorff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

How will Deja’s trust issues factor into the relationship?

This Is Us producers Kay Oyegun, Elizabeth Berger, and Isaac Aptaker spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the episode and teased a bit of what’s to come with this young couple.

One of the areas they touched on was Deja’s trust issues with Malik given her history of having men come and go from her mother’s life. It’s definitely a consideration for the writers, and EW asked, “Will trust issues continue to creep up there, or will these two will find their next challenges in navigating the rules laid down by Randall and Beth?”

Oyegun shared, “Wildly, neither,” adding, “You will be wonderfully surprised by where their dynamic goes. And what people got a chance to see early on from Malik, from Deja, these are two very introspective children, young adults, and they are in a space where they’re asking each other questions that are a little bit more complicated than what you would expect.”

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Ah, young love. #ThisIsUs

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Deja and Malik get into a fight

Judging by the promo for next week, Malik and Deja will get in a fight. Oyegun shared that, “while people are wondering about tweets and texts and all this other stuff, these two have seen a level of the world where they’re tapping into something that feels a bit more spiritual, in a weird way. A bit more complicated.”

Aptaker confirmed that there will be“a Deja and Malik story” in the next episode, and said of the fight teased in the promo, “the sophistication of their fight next week — there’s so much to it.”

Aptaker added: “Just like Kay said, because he has a child, she’s lived through countless foster homes and in a way has been more of a parent to her mother than her mother was to her — because they both have such experience, despite their young age, they’re not doing the simple ‘Why did you like her Instagram?’”

Will they have a bumpy road ahead?

The producers further shared that this relationship will involve “obstacles,” with Oyegun sharing, “The emotional reveal for Deja in the episode of her past is something that’s going to play a lot next week and the following week.”

Aptaker added: “It’s definitely served them dealing with both the obstacles of navigating this relationship with the limitations that their parents have put on them — and also getting to a really interesting, emotional place.”

As for the young couple’s name mashup, Aptaker said, “I would say Dejik, because Maleja is too confusing” and Oyegun noted that “on set, Sterling [who plays Randall] just kept on saying Maleja and he just ad-libbed that and put that in, so it stayed. It’s fun.”