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Leave it to "This Is Us" creator Dan Fogelman to know precisely how to play on our heartstrings.
He's done it so many times since the show started airing three seasons ago, and he did it again on Monday's fall finale, when we learned — thanks to the jump-ahead, jump-back timeline the show is built on — that Beth and Randall might not be the enduring couple we've come to rely on.
That's right, time for a little panic mode. Though things were left nebulous in many areas on Monday, it seemed that Randall and Beth weren't together in a flash-forward scene. What should we know?
"Along with many of the relationships (on the show), their marriage is something we as writers and producers, and also just our audience, has really taken to," Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly. "There's no marriage without spells."
He went on to explain that both Sterling K. Brown (Randall) and Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth) will be "getting a showcase to really dive deep into a relationship and a marriage" in the second half of this season. He also hints that the reference to Beth running a ballet studio will also come into play in a "very special Beth episode."
And yes, if you're starting to doubt whether they can stay together for the long haul after seeing Monday's episode, that's exactly what the show's writers want you to think.
"The audience, if nothing else, is being braced for rocky times ahead," he said. "As always, filled with a lot of love and laughter — but a tricky period. Whether they come out on the other side, it would ruin the fun to spoil it one away or the other."
"This Is Us," as we all know, is written by a master of relationship ups and downs; Just when we think we know where things are going (Jack survives the house fire!) it turns out they'll yank the rug out from under us (Jack dies anyway in the hospital!) But we'd kind of expected we could count on Beth and Randall to be steady under pressure.
But don't despair yet. "I would never put money against Randall and Beth, as a betting man," said Fogelman. Beyond that, though, "I don't want to answer."
Argh! Where did we leave our anxiety blanket?