The Pearson family grew exponentially on Tuesday’s episode of “This Is Us,” as Kevin and Madison welcomed twins, while Kate and Toby welcomed a baby girl via adoption in an hour of drama that highlighted not only the power of welcoming a child into the world, but the ways which we can stay connected during unusual times.
Kevin had not yet arrived at the hospital to be by Madison’s side, so Beth and Randall remained on a video call with her while they were driving home from New Orleans. Eventually, Kevin walked into the hospital room, giving a vague explanation that a TSA agent helped him, since he had lost his wallet while saving a stranger in a car wreck on last week’s episode.
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After the babies, named Nicholas (after Uncle Nicky) and Francis (after Madison’s grandmother), were born, Kevin and Randall had a nice phone call in which they finally buried the hatchet after their vicious fight on last year’s season finale.
“I did say some pretty horrible things to you Randall, and the truth is you are the best person I know. And on my finest day, I am simply doing a poor man’s imitation of you,” Kevin said.
“We both said things. Tensions were high,” Randall replied.
Kate and Toby, meanwhile, went to the hospital where Ellie delivered their little girl, named Hailey. While Kate was allowed in the delivery room, Toby had to remain in the hospital, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Camped out like he was tailgating, he wound up befriending a stranger who parked in the same spot everyday when he came to visit his wife, named Rose, who was on a ventilator with the coronavirus. Toby was allowed to choose the baby’s middle name, so after meeting her on a video call with Kate, he called her Hailey Rose, which Kate loved.
After the babies were born, Kevin and Kate made video calls to various members of the family showing off their new bundles of joy.
The episode also featured the story of a couple viewers have never seen before, Nasir and Esther, who met at a university in New Mexico in 1963. They eventually married and had a baby. One night, Esther became livid when Nasir arrived home late from work and demanded he explain what he was doing that was so important, prompting him to reveal that he was working on ways to share photos and videos over computer screens, exactly the way the Pearsons were doing in this episode.
It turns out that story is true.
“In the early 1970s, Nasir Ahmed led a team of researchers who developed the Discrete Cosine Transform,” read a message on the screen at the end of the episode, along with a photo of him.
“This technique is still used by companies as part of their image and video sharing technology. You don’t know his name, but Nasir and his team are responsible for keeping us connected today.”
A photo of him and Esther then appeared, with a note saying they had recently celebrated their 56th anniversary and that the couple talked with show writers and producers over a video call to get their story.
Vera Herbert, one of the co-executive producers said the idea for including the Ahmeds' story came from executive producer and creator Dan Fogelman and some research helped locate him, leading to a Zoom call.
“The original video chat was just with him. It was me Dan, Jess Rosenthal, our executive producer, and Nasir. And then his wife kept weighing in from off screen,” Herbert told Entertainment Weekly.
“Either talking over him or correcting him in a very lovely way about a memory or a time, to the point where Dan was just like, ‘Does your wife want to join?’ Once she fully came on the screen, it became very clear that, ‘Oh, this is a romantic story between this couple, and it's not the story of just a tech genius on his own.’ So that really shaped making it a loving family story.”
CLARIFICATION (Feb. 17, 2021, 4:47 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that Kate and Toby's surrogate gave birth in the episode. They welcomed their baby through adoption, not surrogacy.