Randall (Sterling K. Brown) can blame his parents for his current marital crisis in This Is Us. The Clarke-Pearson household has been going through a tumultuous time for the last couple of months. Between Randall being suddenly thrust into the political arena and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) rekindling with her childhood dream to become a ballerina, it was only a matter of time before their passive-aggressive treatment of each other result into a full-blown fight. That fight finally took place in this week's episode of the NBC family drama as they take viewers down memory lane to learn about Randall and Beth's love story.
Aptly titled "R & B," the latest episode of This Is Us was solely devoted to the couple, which included snippets from their first date, their wedding, and a time when both William (Ron Cephas Jones) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) were crashing in their home back in season 1. We see these stories from Beth's perspective, supporting her claim that all throughout their lives, she's always the one who needs to adjust for their relationship work. Randall's so used at getting what he wants all the time that he no longer notices it that he railroads basically anyone standing on his path. The worst part is, he does it in a way that it initially feels like he's doing it for good and not self-serving at all. This is at the heart of the couple's dilemma, and the root of it is how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) raised their son.
Randall was a replacement baby for Kyle, the Pearsons' third biological child whom they lost during childbirth. Jack convinced Rebecca to adopt an abandoned baby in the hospital after delivering Kevin and Kate (Chrissy Metz). Rebecca was initially hesitant, but she eventually warmed up to Randall. However, since they didn’t have the time to properly mourn their loss, Jack and Rebecca poured all their love to Randall, adjusting to his every need - as if they’re trying to make up for replacing their dead son.
This is something that Kevin has cited repeatedly, but instead of hearing his grievances, his parents always forced him to understand and accommodate Randall, even at his own (everybody's) expense. As a shining example of Rebecca's problematic parenting revealed in the episode, Randall was borderline harassing Beth to marry him simply because he can't take no for an answer, but instead of keeping her son in check, she subtly took it out on Beth adding pressure to her to accept the proposal.
With his parents' ignorance of the uneven distribution of love and attention to their kids, Randall was so indulged growing up that he became self-absorbed - something that spilled over into his marriage. Because he’s coddled, he doesn't know how to not get what he wants and how to compromise for other people. So now, he's having a tough time coming to terms with Beth not wanting to give up her dream. The worst part is, he's in denial of the fact that he can be toxic to the people around him.
Unlike Randall, Beth at least acknowledges her mistakes. The moment she threw his anxiety into the conversation, she knew she crossed the line and apologized for it. Despite the circumstances, she still made the effort to attend his political meeting and, had it not been for his ruthless voicemail, it's safe to say that the couple would still be dancing around this issue. That said, she's also partly to blame for enabling Randall's behavior. Like Jack and Rebecca, she bent over and backwards for him. But unlike her in-laws, Beth solely carries this load on top of being a mother and a career woman and it was only a matter of time before she snapped.
It's uncertain what lies ahead for Beth and Randall, but This Is Us' season 3 finale promo hints that this issue might not be resolved right away.