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This Is Us fan theories explore what happened with Laurel

Jessica Spencer
·4-min read
Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

From Digital Spy

This Is Us season 5 premiere episode spoilers follow.

Season five of This Is Us kicked off with a two-part premiere – and that ending was impossible to see coming.

All this time, we thought Randall's mother, Laurel, had died in childbirth. But now we've found out that she overdosed after getting high to cope with labour pains.

To make matters worse, William had taken baby Randall, left him at the fire station and missed out on seeing that Laurel had actually survived.

Which leaves one question that tons of fans are trying to answer – how did nobody find out that Laurel lived?

Here are some possible theories...

Laurel was arrested on a drugs charge

Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

Let's start with perhaps the most obvious conclusion – Laurel couldn't look for Randall because she was in jail.

A big theme across the premiere was police brutality towards Black people. While we saw Black Lives Matter play out in the This Is Us universe, we also got an idea of how it affected Laurel and William in the '80s.

So when a paramedic mentioned calling the police and child protective services, William ran with baby Randall and gave him up straight away.

It's fair to assume that Laurel was taken to hospital and later questioned by police. Even if she was not arrested straight away, she was at risk of relapsing. Her support network had vanished – her friends were in prison, William had fled and she had a strained relationship with the rest of her family.

Baby Randall had motivated her to get clean but, now that he was gone, she might have felt that she had no reason to stay that way.

She would definitely have been at risk of ending up in jail over a drugs charge, before William had a chance to find out that she had lived.

William couldn't process the thought that Laurel was alive

Heartbreaking to consider, but maybe William did see Laurel.

We already know that his addiction came about as a way to cope with his pain. When he ended up in court on a drugs charge, he told the judge he was 'the most disappointed man' for losing his mother, his girlfriend and his son within a year. It was a second chance from the judge that got William sober – but only months after Laurel's overdose.

But this Redditor suspects that Laurel got clean and visited William's apartment, only to find him high with no sign of baby Randall. Perhaps she left him to protect herself? Even if she asked about their son, William always said he had no memory of what happened.

If William was too high to remember giving up Randall, maybe he was too high to process seeing Laurel? Either that, or he suppressed the memory. Finding out she actually survived could have been too much for him to handle.

After all, he gave Laurel the drugs that caused her overdose. It would be understandable if he felt guilt for destroying their future.

Laurel considered Randall a 'missing person'

Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

All these theories are depressing, but this one is possibly the worst: Laurel spent her life looking for Randall.

While Kate and Toby were waiting on a match with the adoption agency, Rebecca mentioned how easy adopting Randall had been. All they had to do was take him home from the hospital, which Kate joked would be called kidnapping in 2020.

Could Kate's comment actually be foreshadowing that Laurel thought William kidnapped her baby?

As this Reddit fan theory points out, Randall's birth mother might have declared him a missing person but received no help from the police. Think about it – a Black woman saying her baby was kidnapped during her overdose in the '80s? Any hope of the cops taking her seriously are virtually non-existent.

Don't forget that Laurel delivered baby Randall at home. That means no proof of his birth – no birth certificate, no hospital records and most likely, no photos of the newborn. The police could have looked at her situation and doubted there was even a baby to search for in the first place.

Tragic, if true.

This Is Us season 5 will continue on November 11 on Amazon Prime Video.

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