Can Every This Is Us Episode Be About Beth?
This week This Is Us gives us a reprieve from the core Pearson family drama (Uncle Nicky’s alive!) and offers us a taste of Beth’s upbringing in “Our Little Island Girl.”
As a main character, and one of the most beloved the series has to offer, it’s shocking that we made it midway through season three without touching on her background — like, at all. Randall’s headstrong wife wasn’t always so self-assured — in fact, she grew up in fear of disappointing a stern mother whose parenting strategy was the polar opposite of hers.
Lending more context to the latest Us flash forward, we learn that Beth had a passion for ballet as a child and was enrolled in a competitive dance academy.
But the most shocking moment of the episode wasn’t the focus on Beth’s secret passion or the revelation that her mom was a hard-ass, it was this: like Randall, her father died when she was a teen.
OK, we knew Beth’s dad had died — it had been touched upon briefly in her discussions with William in the first season — but the fact that he died when she was a teen, leaving Beth at around the same time that the Pearson sibs lost Jack, is a little … infuriating?
Hear me out. I don’t mean to belittle Randall, Kevin, and Kate’s loss, but it’s certainly a central theme in all of their lives (and storylines). Beth is constantly consoling Randall and has only recently shown her own vulnerability when she lost her job. All this time, Randall knew he and his wife shared this same bond, yet her loss is simply an aside three seasons in.
“An aside three seasons in” honestly feels like a metaphor for Beth, in general. Though she’s been one of the strongest characters from the get-go, Us has continued to underutilize her. Finally, with “Our Little Island Girl,” Beth gets her due — the episode is a beautiful ode to her childhood that fills in all the blanks and ties into a heartwarming present-day storyline. But is it enough to make up for the deficit?
It’s hard to believe the screen and story time that has been dedicated to all facets of Jack Pearson’s life when even the most basic details about Beth’s were missing until now.
Instead of finding new ways to revisit old storylines that felt played out in season one (JACK’S DEATH), can we please just focus on Beth?