Much like every other episode of This Is Us, the Season 3 premiere came with a lot of new twists. Almost more than I could handle. With varying timelines and red herrings to keep viewers off track, there's a moment (or five) in every TIU episode that raises more questions than answers. The latest whodunit features a grown Tess and even older, greying Randall talking about "her" again. So who is the mysterious "her" character on This Is Us?
Brown gave one small clue in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly stating "the 'her' is a woman." While that answer is still mega vague, he went on to say it's definitely "someone that we have met over the first two seasons." OK, that narrows it down to about a dozen ladies. He even concluded fans will be all for the big reveal, saying the end result is "exquisite."
The now infamous "her" character was first mentioned at the end of Season 2, though genius creator, Dan Fogelman, promises to provide answers sooner rather than later — as in mid-season. This is a *huge* relief since the mystery of Jack Person's death (Milo Ventimiglia) covered almost two seasons and like, a bazillion boxes of Kleenexes. Fan theories about the identity of "her" run the gamut. From "her" being an older version Deja (Lyric Ross), to a dead (or dying) Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), there's no shortage of "what ifs" when it comes to the TIU universe. That's exactly the showrunners' plan and yes, I buy into it every time.
When the "her" thread began, viewers caught their first glimpse of how out-of-their-minds brilliant TIU writers are for giving Randall a flash-forward. Up to that point, only Rebecca aged forward into those years so at first, it was kind of jarring. When older Randall said "it's time" to see "her," grown Tess — who turns out to be a social worker of sorts — responded by saying she wasn't ready. The internet pretty much exploded with theories upon theories suggesting who'll make it into Season 3. Now I'll flash-forward (see what I did there?) to last Tuesday's episode when older Randall called an older Toby (Chris Sullivan) to encourage him to also see "her." In this scene, there's no Kate and there's a slightly huge detail Cinemablend pointed out that could give you all the answers you need. Or at least, the answers TIU creators want you to believe for now. "I'm not coming, she doesn't want to see me," Toby said to older Randall over the phone. "No, she wants to see you," Randall replied. This is how the episode ended and the exact reason the interwebs are obsessed with uncovering the truth. Why can't I quit you, This Is Us?
As for some of those other theories, this scene is clearly setup to have viewers believe Kate and Toby aren't together. In the present, they share their fertility struggles and ultimately are about to begin IVF. Due to Toby's low sperm count, he dumps his anti-depressants — which is never a good idea — giving you the groundwork to think Toby and Kate don't make it through this journey. Honestly, it's hard to know what's going to happen because if past episodes reveal anything, it's that you don't know until you know. Mandy Moore (who plays Rebecca Pearson) promises fans will be "satisfied" with who "her" turns out to be. I've got my eye on you, Moore.
Co-showrunner, Elizabeth Berger told Glamour, "I think it's totally open to interpretation." Kate could be in the next room [with Toby], or they could not be together, or something could have happened to her. It's left mysterious on purpose." Berger's co-showrunner, Isaac Aptaker chimed in saying, "he's very neat in the future. But that does not feel like a bedroom where someone, a partner, is sharing it with Toby." I don't know about you, but I'm already crying at the mere thought of a world without KaToby.
Other thoughts on the "her" character are that she could be Rebecca. Maybe she's sick. Maybe she's dead. Maybe I'm just talking in circles trying to decipher the hidden messages in everything. Probably that. In the same EW interview, Brown said Randall doing OK. "I think Randall has experienced a great deal of success, so by and large he is at a place in life where he’s fulfilled. But there’s something on his mind — obviously with this individual — that weighs heavy on his soul. But I think life is good. We will also find out something about Tess this season, which is pretty cool."
As for who "her" is, hopefully the answer is given soon and (preferably) with as little heartbreak as possible. My eyes thank you in advance, TIU.