Remember last week when we said it was nice to see the Pearsons happy on This Is Us? Those feelings were short-lived.
The Season 2 penultimate episode focused on Deja (Lyric Ross) and told the story of her life from birth to Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) finding her and her mom sleeping in their car outside of their apartment. This Is Us made a grand effort to show where Deja's hardships paralleled those of the Pearsons and William (Ron Cephas Jones) to drive home how Randall could see so much of himself in her.
Deja never really had a chance to be a kid like Randall or any of the Big 3 were able to, though. She was forced to learn how to take care of herself at age 5 after her great-grandmother died and her mother was still struggling to figure out how to be a single mother. She was originally taken into Child Protective Services because she cut herself with a knife while preparing dinner and her mom couldn't be contacted to find her at the hospital.
A series of foster and group homes revealed why Deja was so reluctant to trust Randall and Beth when she first arrived at their home, and how precious it was for her to find a foster care family that made her feel safe. She finally returned to them at the end of the episode, but it wasn't the blessed reunion fans may have hoped for. Deja will be staying with the Pearsons for the time being, but her mother Shauna made the decision to leave her at the end of the episode without even saying goodbye, which is not going to be an easy thing for Deja to accept.
It's been made obvious that Beth and Randall can provide Deja with a better life, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right life. While the episode drove home how important their intervention was, it also did a lot to show the deep bond between Deja and her mother, despite their struggles. Shauna is not a perfect woman, but she does love Deja and has tried her best to provide for her daughter, despite her stumbles along the way.
If Beth and Randall let Shauna walk out that door, they'll get Deja but at what cost? Having Deja back is all Randall and Beth could hope for ever since she left the house, but Deja will have to pay a steep price for the reunion. If Shauna goes through with walking out, Deja will have to deal with that abandonment and the fear that her mother never really cared about her -- which isn't the case. Could they live with themselves if they allowed that to happen? Could we respect them as much if they did?
The fallout unfolds next week in the Season 2 finale of This Is Us.
This Is Us airs its Season 2 finale Tuesday, March 14 at 9/8c on NBC.