Randall appeared to reach his breaking point on Tuesday night’s episode of “This Is Us,” which focused on the anxiety he has been wrestling with his entire life, seemingly crystallized with the break-in at his home that pushed him over the edge.
“I think it’s clear that Randall is someone that has found different ways to kind of cope with his anxiety and keep it brimming just below the surface, but what we’re seeing in this episode is that you can only do that for so long before there’s something of an explosion,” “This Is Us” executive producer Elizabeth Berger told reporters on a conference call.
Randall, played by Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, got some advice from Malik’s father, Darnell, who revealed that he went to therapy. Randall, though, shooed the idea aside, claiming running is what works for him. Things boiled over, though, when he broke his hand while beating up a thief he saw robbing a woman. Between that, the home invasion and his mother’s medical woes, it all came to a head and he called Kevin in tears.
Berger said it all just became too much for the overachieving Randall.
“So, whether it be confiding in Kevin and (his wife) Beth, whether it be taking these long runs, at a certain point you’re gonna come up against something that none of these coping mechanisms are enough and you’re gonna have to dig a little deeper and I think it’s clear that we’re reaching that point with Randall,” Berger added.
“This Is Us” executive producer Isaac Aptaker says Randall needs to have an aha moment where he accepts the idea that he can’t go at it alone.
“I think the bigger question of the season is, when is Randall gonna realize that talking to his wife, talking to his brother, white knuckling this isn’t a long-term solution and he really needs to seek professional help,” he said.
Aptaker says the character is deeply complex and Brown sat down with the writers to get in his head.
“What is it about the letting yourself be vulnerable and giving up control sort of element of going to a therapist that Randall is really resistant towards?” Aptaker said.
While Randall may have reservations about talking to someone, Brown himself has embraced the storyline. He tweeted about the importance of seeking guidance when you find yourself struggling.
"Hello, my name is Sterling & I’m here for you,” he wrote. “We all have our struggles & fears, but no one should fight them alone. Let’s remember to be kind to each other, there for each other & ask for the help we need because everyone deserves to live free, happy & healthy.”