There is a couple spending time together. She’s pregnant and he’s about to be deployed. Time passes. She gets the dreaded knock on the door. Her husband isn’t making it home. She tells her son, William, that it’s just them now.
Randall and Beth are meeting with a psychatrist. He wants to take a road trip to Memphis with his terminally ill father. Beth is opposed to the idea but they end up going anyway.
William flashes back to the day his mother took a bus to take care of her mother. It’s time for him to spread his wings.
As they cruise along, Randall and William talk about his anxiety attack and how he has always been too put together. That’s what caused the attacks but his father, Jack, helped him. William asks about Jack and Randall tells him that he was larger than life. They go to the tree where his ashes were spread so that William can pay his respects.
Young William is in a band with his cousin. He exchanges letters with his mother. His grandmother died but his mother is going to stick around Memphis for a bit. That bit turns into a lot longer. The band is doing well though. William is writing the songs. His cousin parties a bit but William does not.
At the motel, Randall makes the bed and William gets a slow start to the day. The head into Memphis and William shows him around. They go to the house William grew up in and collect his childhood treasure hidden in the fireplace. They eat and get haircuts. They head into the bar he frequented when he was younger.
William has to go take car of his mom. He tells his cousin and he understands. Family first. William promises new songs when he gets back.
They walk into the bar and William’s cousin is there. He tells William to get out. He never came back.
William gets to his mother’s place. She didn’t want him coming but he had to. It won’t be long, she tells him. She points out the bus stop and knows how much he likes the bus. He meets a woman on the bus. They spend time together and take care of his mother.
The cousin forgives him and they play again. Randall meets all these cousins and Beth calls. He’s a little drunk but he sounds good and more importantly he feels good. He misses her though. The next morning when Randall goes to wake William he is in a bad way. Plans cancelled. It’s time to go to the hospital.
Randall talks to the doctor. He can’t believe that William is in such bad shape after being so good the night before. He wants to head back to Jersey and mentions it but the doctor is blunt. William has hours, not days, not months. He isn’t leaving the hospital. Randall sits with him. William wakes up and Randall says that he knows that William knew this was it.
They talk. William tells Randall how important he is and how much he loves him. He keeps getting worse and has trouble breathing. Randall helps him stay calm. Flashbacks to William’s life and their time together. Randall drives home, alone, with the things William gave him.
I did not see that coming. I really thought it would be like in the finale parallel to Jack dying. Oh man. He was having a blast too. I’m so upset about this. You knew it was coming but still. Like a gut punch. I really liked the episode though and that they got to bond. It’s a shame to see William go but at least we learned a little more about him beforehand.
This is Us is new Tuesdays at 9 p.m.