[Spoiler alert: This Is Us Season 4 midseason finale.] This Is Us Season 4 returns on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and fans are still reeling from the midseason finale. The episode, titled “So Long, Marianne,” unveils some dark truths nine months in the future. Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) memory continues to deteriorate. Meanwhile, there’s a rift between Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley). Now, with the winter premiere around the corner and plenty of time to digest the flash-forward, This Is Us fans are speculating reasons why Kevin and Randall aren’t speaking. And according to one theory, Rebecca’s memory could be the key.
What happened to Randall, Rebecca, and Kevin in the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 fall finale?
The flash-forward and present-day parallel in “So Long, Marianne” revealed so much. Throughout the episode, Rebecca seems to be losing grasp of her reality. In the present-day, Rebecca goes out to get a cake for Randall’s Thanksgiving dinner. But on the way, she sees William (Ron Cephas Jones), who died in the first season. She then gets lost on the way to the grocery store, and eventually finds her way.
At the store, Rebecca initially asks for the location of the bakery. However, she gets distracted by flowers. She then buys the flowers instead of the cake. But at the register, Rebecca takes out all of her things and accidentally leaves her phone behind. She also misses a phone call from Randall.
Later, Rebecca is seen at a Chinese restaurant, where she discovers her phone is missing and panics. Rebecca is escorted home by the police. But home isn’t Randall’s Thanksgiving dinner, but rather, the Big Three’s 40th birthday celebration in the future. And while the present-day is filled with joy and togetherness, the flash-forward is marred by discomfort and worry among Kevin, Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Miguel (Jon Huertas).
Then to make matters worse, Rebecca asks Kevin about Randall’s whereabouts. “No, mom,” Kevin says. “Randall’s not coming. We’re not speaking, remember?”
Meanwhile, the present-day Rebecca arrives at Randall’s with a pecan pie in hand. She also admits to Randall she needs to see a doctor.
‘This Is Us’ fans theorize the rift is between Randall and Rebecca, not Kevin
For weeks, This Is Us fans have been wondering why Kevin and Randall aren’t speaking in season 4. Many viewers questioned whether Kevin and Kate will go against Randall’s wishes for Rebecca’s care. Then closer to the winter premiere, a fan on Reddit suggested the rift is between Randall and Rebecca, not Randall and Kevin. The fan wrote:
Kevin sounds a bit callous and it sounds like he and Randall have had a rift. But I wonder if it’s Rebecca. If Randall is pushing in hard Randall style for advanced care, like a safe assisted living facility for her. And she resists hard – in the same way that she got agitated and pushed back when he first confronted her about his concerns – maybe she’s the one who didn’t want him at the party, doesn’t want to talk to him or want anyone else communicating with him. Kevin sounds callous because he’s tired and exasperated that she has forgotten that she isn’t talking to Randall.
The fan noted it’s likely Rebecca wanted to celebrate the 40th birthday. So Kevin and Kate chose to “indulge” their mother’s wishes. They also explained why Randall called his mom when she lost her phone at the store.
Kevin and Kate chose to “indulge” their mother’s wishes. They also explained why Randall called his mom when she lost her phone at the store.
“When she is missing, of course they call Randall,” the fan wrote. “And we see that he was trying to call her when she put down her phone and left it at the store where she bought the flowers.”
The Redditor then suggested the This Is Us Season 3 finale flash-forward could be another celebratory event wanted by Rebecca — once again, coming full circle.
“The flash forward of her on her deathbed, where they brought the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game, is another birthday party, celebrated for her benefit, in the same way the cabin party is for her,” the fan wrote.
What the ‘This Is Us’ Season 4 team says about Randall, Kevin, and Rebecca
For now, fans will have to wait to see what happens to Randall, Kevin, and Rebecca in the second half of This Is Us Season 4. Nevertheless, it seems creator Dan Fogelman already confirmed Randall isn’t speaking with Kevin. However, it could potentially have something to do with Rebecca.
“The insinuation is that Kevin and Randall are not really on speaking terms,” Fogelman told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2019. “Certainly it’s a relationship that’s always been fraught and complicated … And like all of our relationships with our immediate family members, the primal wounds don’t just go away because you’re in a good pocket of a couple of years.”
He continued: “Sometimes all it takes is that powder keg moment to explode to bring back the core issues, which all stems from their childhood and their relationships to their parents and their places in the family as kids. Again, it’s been another place that we always planned on going particularly next season: watching what happens when these brothers fracture a little bit and what would cause them to fracture that way.”
That said, This Is Us fans shouldn’t worry too much. When speaking with The Wrap on Jan. 11, Brown reminded fans Kevin and Randall are doing fine in the distant future.
“The tension between Kevin and Randall, it’s a relationship where they love each other deeply, but you see throughout history, like, they come together and they come apart, together, apart, together, apart,” Brown said. “We know that when we get to the distant future, we are at Kevin’s house, right? So we know that they ultimately come back together.”
And like Fogelman, Brown teased Randall and Kevin’s argument has something to do with Rebecca.
“I know that the way in which they deal with their mother’s illness is part of the reason why there is friction,” Brown said.