This Is Us fans were blown away when the NBC drama delved into the backstory of Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) birth mother, Laurel DuBois (Jennifer C. Holmes), in season 5. Not only did the show shine a light on Laurel’s life story, but it also gave Randall the opportunity to heal. Now, will Laurel ever return to This Is Us? As viewers know all too well, characters are never gone for good.
[Spoiler alert: This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6.]
‘This Is Us’ Season 5 highlights Laurel’s backstory
In This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6, titled “Birth Mother,” Randall traveled to New Orleans with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) to discover more about Laurel from Hai (Vien Hong). Randall learned about his mom’s prominent family and her romance with Hai. He also found out why William (Ron Cephas Jones) thought she died of an overdose following childbirth.
After giving birth to Randall, Laurel was presumed dead. But as viewers saw in the premiere, she survived. Then in “Birth Mother,” Hai explained that Laurel was arrested for possession and sentenced to five years in prison. When she was released, Laurel was riddled with guilt. She didn’t think she had the right to be a mother to her child. So Laurel returned to New Orleans and lived with her Aunt Mae (LisaGay Hamilton).
Eventually, Laurel reconnected with Hai before dying of breast cancer in May 2015. But before passing, Laurel opened up about her regret. She wished she told her son that she loved him.
When Hai finished telling Laurel’s story, he gave Randall the keys to her farmhouse in New Orleans. Later that evening, Randall stepped outside and got into the lake. He screamed, which was something Laurel did to release pain. The city councilman also “encountered” his birth mom and they were able to tell each other “I love you.”
On their way back to Philadelphia, Beth told Randall he seemed like a different person. Randall smiled and acknowledged that both of his birth parents loved him. He also admitted it was time to let go of the bad stuff, including his feud with Kevin (Justin Hartley).
Jennifer C. Holmes says there are no current plans for Laurel to return in ‘This Is Us’ Season 5
When This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6 aired on NBC, fans were in awe of Laurel’s story. They were captivated by her background, from her childhood to her death. So naturally, viewers wondered whether the family drama would continue to show snippets of Laurel’s story in flashbacks. But it doesn’t look like Randall’s mom will be making another appearance this season — at least not yet.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping from January 2021, Holmes revealed she doesn’t have plans to return as Laurel for This Is Us Season 5. But the actor pointed out that this could change at any time.
“You just never know what’s going to happen,” Holmes said. “You never know what the writers are going to add in there or come up with the last minute or just anything. I think everyone just has to continue to tune in.”
A ‘This Is Us’ producer hints how Randall’s mom could come back on ‘This Is Us’
For now, This Is Us fans will just have to wait and see what happens to Laurel moving forward. But when speaking with Entertainment Weekly, co-executive producer Kay Oyegun — who co-wrote and directed “Birth Mother” — teased how Holmes’ character could potentially return in the future.
“Will we see Laurel coming up [later] this season? I have no idea. I do, but I can’t say,” she said. “But if we see her, we’ll be seeing her in a very interesting context.”
Nevertheless, it seems Randall will return to his new farmhouse in New Orleans. Oyegun even compared it to the Pearson family cabin in Pittsburgh.
“I love the notion that this farmhouse in New Orleans becomes a version of the cabin going forward — it’s something that he never thought he would inherit,” the EP said. “There’s still so much to learn and so much to explore for him. But now that the abandonment component that adoptees wrestle with has been put to bed, it’s the next stage of what acceptance looks like for him.”
Oyegun later added, “That’s the desire, to see a version of that farmhouse become a place of respite of sorts. And it does not take away from the family cabin. I think it’s just an extension of that.”
This Is Us Season 5 airs Tuesday nights on NBC.
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