This Is Us has been known to make us cry week after week, but at the end of this week’s episode, we were absolutely gutted.
Fans of the NBC show may have noticed that Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was a bit off at the end of Tuesday’s episode, “Jack Pearson’s Son.” Not only were his hands shaking and his vision blurring, but something was just not quite right for the Pearson sibling who seems to always have it together.
As the episode progresses, we learn Randall has been coping with anxiety since he was a child and experiences devastating panic attacks that cripple his core when overwhelmed.
When the stress of taking care of William, juggling his family and job takes a toll, Randall hits a wall and has an emotional breakdown before Kevin’s big opening night. He calls him up to say he won’t make it, but of course Kevin can tell something is wrong despite trying his hardest to brush it off.
Before going on stage for a performance that will make his career flourish post-Manny, Kevin remembers an important pep talk he had with Miguel about doing what his father, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) would do.
A study from the University of Leicester defines panic attacks as a surge of intense discomfort or fear. The research further adds that this sudden flow is accompanied by about three to 14 characteristic symptoms occurring within 10 minutes of an onset attack.
Exhibiting a form of anxiety with recurrent attacks throughout his childhood, Randall’s character clearly points to signs of a panic disorder as we see in a flashback scene. Young Randall experiences a severe attack while doing homework and Kevin ignores him instead of offering support.
While the study goes on to say that panic disorder patients typically suffer their first attack out of the blue, stress can be a trigger after that. And there’s no denying that Randall has a lot on his plate.
As a mental health disorder, the symptoms of a panic attack are very real as seen through Randall. He is shown shaking, sweating, hyperventilating, and having difficulty breathing and seeing. It’s a sensation that definitely makes you feel as if you’re dying or simply losing your mind. Not to mention, a feeling that greatly detaches your objective reality.
Audiences on social media applauded the show’s accurate portrayal and how Kevin finally showed up for his brother, risking it all for family.
While the show has been a benchmark this season for portraying a powerful realism unseen in past television dramas, this week’s episode is definitely one that will have fans and critics talking for years. Relive the scene here.