This Is Us sure loves a devastating backstory, and we can't help but love it too.
Tonight's episode told the tale of what happened to Randall's birth mother before and after Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was born, and it was, in typical This Is Us fashion, both wildly sad and extremely poetic. We're also pretty sure there's a movie in there that we would watch.
Basically, before she even met William (Jermel Nakia/Ron Cephas Jones), Laurel (Jennifer Holmes) fell in love with Hai (Vien Hong) in New Orleans. She met him when he thought she was drowning, but she was actually just letting out some rage in the river. They had to hide their love from her rich and powerful father, who had plans for her to marry someone who was also rich and powerful, and she tried to get Hai to run away to Chicago with her but he felt like he couldn't leave his family.
Instead, she left by herself and ended up in Pittsburgh, where she met William.
Immediately after Randall was born, Laurel was allowed to recover from her overdose in the hospital before being arrested, and she ended up in prison in California for five years. She then headed back to her aunt's house in New Orleans and that's where she stayed for the rest of her life, eventually reuniting with Hai a couple of years before her death in 2015.
Hai explained that she felt too much guilt and shame to ever seek Randall out, but she never stopped thinking about him. Oh, and her house is now Randall's house.
A stunned Randall tried to call Kevin, but Kevin was a little busy. Madison's in labor and he's stuck in Vancouver, so that's gonna be quite the episode next week!
In the meantime, creator Dan Fogelman tweeted out a story about how the episode came to be, and you can read it below!
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)