- This Is Us -What Happened To Randall's Mom On 'This Is Us'? Here Is Laurel's Story
Randall Pearson finally has something to smile about: he knows where he came from, and, as he put it to Beth, it's way more complex than just being left at a fire station. In fact, the story of Randall's birth mom, Laurel, on This Is Us is so heartbreaking and fascinating it's a shame it had to be contained into one single bottle episode. (Though it did inspire Randall to reach out to Kevin, so the effects of this moving episode will most likely be felt throughout the rest of the season.)
As we last saw, Randall's viral video grabbed the attention of Hai, a Vietnamese refugee, who knew his mother, Laurel, while they were teens living with their families New Orleans. Though from different worlds, the two were young and in love. Unfortunately, Laurel was pressured to accept the proposal of someone she did not love (but her father approved of) which led to her running away from home, eventually meeting William, almost dying of an overdose, and the rest... well you know the rest.
Through a series of flashbacks and memories, Hai is able to shed light on those grey areas of Randall's mom's life: who she was, how she lived, and if she ever looked for Randall so many years later. The episode opens up many doors for where Randall's story could go next (including the door of passed down farmhouse in New Orleans), and could either cause him to mend his relationship with his family, or seek out a new path entirely.
Here is what we learn about Laurel in This Is Us's episode "Birth Mother."
She Was The Black Sheep Of Her Family
Up until now, Randall's mother was a two-dimensional stereotype: a young, drug addicted mother who didn't care enough to stay clean for her newborn. Now she has a full name — Laurel DuBois — and we learn that her father was a prominent banker in New Orleans. He wasn't easy either. He is portrayed as a wealthy, but rather cold man with high expectations for his daughter. In the end, it's those expectations and his stern parenting that ends up driving her away.
She Loved Her Brother
Growing up, Laurel was a rule breaker and her older brother always had her back. Sadly, he fought in Vietnam (cue the theories that he met Jack or Nicky) and died there. Afterwards, Laurel just was never the same.
And Her Aunt Mae
I wish we knew why Randall's grandfather forbid her visiting her Aunt Mae, but it's likely because she was also a carefree, hippie type. Laurel would spend her days swimming with Mae and helping her out at the market both as a teenager and then later in her life, when she returned to New Orleans. It's clear that Laurel felt like her self around her aunt, literally letting her hair down when she's with her.
She Ran Away From The Love Of Her Life
We learn that Hai and Laurel first met in the lake by Mae's house, while he was fishing and she was screaming into the wind as a way to let our her grief. They later meet again at the market and form a bond, going as far to say they love each other. But when Laurel's father all but arranges a marriage for her to Marshall, some banker guy, she runs away. She asks Hai to go with her and when he says he doesn't want to leave his parents, she heads out anyway. Apparently she was headed to Chicago, but could only make it to Pittsburgh with the money she had. And that's when things take a dark turn.
She Really Did Die, Kind Of
Hai skips over the details, but explains that in Pittsburgh Laurel really did overdose and that William had heard the EMTs call her time of death. So he wasn't lying to Randall about Laurel all those years later. Instead, he left the scene with Randall, and didn't know that Lauren was revived somehow (this may not make sense, but go with it). She landed in the hospital, where the nurses judge her for being an addict and happily show the police to her bed in order to arrest her for drug possession.
This Is Why She Never Looked For Randall
Her charge led to her being sentenced to five years in prison (in California), which is why she never looked for Randall. Unable to contact William, Laurel phones her dad, instead, but is too scared to even utter a word. She sees losing Randall as a punishment for her choices and keeps herself from finding William or her baby even after she is free.
Her & Hai Were Together Until The End
The saddest part is that Laurel seemed to never reunite with her parents, and when she did reunite with Hai at the market, he was married with a child on the way — and intent on being a good husband and father to his family. It wasn't until Hai's wife had died and his children had moved out that he and Laurel reconnected, though just feet away from each other all those years at the market.
Unfortunately, life's wicked timing finds Laurel dying from cancer. Fortunately, she was able to live her final years alongside Hai in her aunt's house until she finally died in 2015.
The story leaves little questions unanswered — except for what Randall's birth name was before being adopted by the Pearsons. Now it just remains to be seen how Randall processes all of this information. Will knowing that his mother loved him change his relationship with the rest of his family? That is, if he even tells them about his discovery.