This Is Us’ Randall (Sterling K. Brown) centric episode shed light on his anxiety, his aversion to therapy, and how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) impacted his son’s reluctance to seek help.
Not that papa Pearson intentionally did anything. However, some of his actions could be the reason Randall feels the need to control everything.
In Season 4 Episode 11, titled A Hell of a Week Part One, viewers saw Randall’s anxiety at various stages in his life. First, as a preschooler, who could only sleep with his dad Jack next to him on the floor.
Hello, my name is Sterling & I’m here for you. We all have our struggles & fears, but no one should fight them alone. Let’s remember to be kind to each other, there for each other & ask for the help we need because everyone deserves to live free, happy & healthy.✊? #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/bp6ZjzCCGt
— Sterling K Brown (@SterlingKBrown) January 22, 2020
Then again in college, as the grief over losing, Jack began to take over his dreams, turning them into nightmares. Finally, as a grown adult dealing with a sick mom, an intruder, the safety of his family, and the pressure of being a councilman.
Throughout the episode, it became clear Jack shaped how Randall dealt with his anxiety. The moment preschool-age Randall was looking for comfort from his father, instead of getting it, Jack asks him to be a good boy for his parent’s sake and sleep in his bed.
The scene answers why Randall was never one to rock the boat like his siblings.
Sterling K. Brown also has a theory regarding Jack shaping Randall’s aversion to therapy.
“Randall is a black man, but he’s socialized quite differently than the majority of black men in that he was raised by a white family, but he was raised by Jack Pearson. And if anybody plays something close to the vest, it’s good ole Jack, right? Jack, who did not tell his family that they had an uncle that was still alive and did not recount any of the things that happened from the war. That was Randall’s primary male example of how to deal with trauma and personal problems,” the actor shared with People magazine.
— Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore) January 21, 2020
Plus, in true Randall fashion, Sterling believes that his alter ego bottled up the emotional shock of Jack’s death.
“The fear that he lived with as a teenager and in college being exacerbated by the fire and the loss of his dad there’s a baseline level of fear that we’ve seen in Randall from the beginning,” Sterling expressed to the weekly magazine.
Randall has suffered from anxiety since he was a little boy. Jack’s influence on his son is what shaped Randall’s choice to control and keep things to himself. Yes, papa Pearson influenced his son’s decision not to seek therapy even though Jack probably didn’t realize it.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.