The Pearson family returned to TV screens Tuesday night with the This Is Us Season 5 premiere. The two-hour premiere, titled "Forty," proved to be a major one, tackling several current events and capping off with major twists that many fans did not see coming. Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the This Is Us Season 5 premiere.
Debuting at 9 p.m. ET, the Season 5 premiere found the Big Three celebrating their 40th birthday in various ways, with Randall staying at home with family, where he struggled to handle the death of George Floyd and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. In one moment, however, he lamented that the day might not even be his actual date of birth, launching the episode into flashbacks of his biological parents, William and Laurel's love story.
The flashback documented their story shortly after Laurel had given birth to Randall. In pain following the birth, she begged William for drugs, and he found her unresponsive the next morning. Although it was believed that Laurel had died, and the flashback showed emergency medical technicians declaring her dead, it was revealed that after Williams had left with Randall, an EMT noticed that Laurel was still had a pulse. The episode ended with Laurel beginning to breathe again.
While the episode revealed that Laurel did not die, it remains unclear if she is still alive in the current timeline, as she has not made an appearance aside from in flashbacks. Speaking with Deadline just after the premiere, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman declined to give away any spoilers regarding whether or not she is alive. However, he promised that fans of the series would receive answers pretty quickly. Fogelman told the outlet that Laurel’s fate and what happened after she took that deep breath at the end of the premiere will be revealed within the first half of the season and that Season 5 will also reveal her origin story.
"That’' a big part of Randall's journey in the front half of this season," Fogelman told the outlet. "It's about her, and it’s also really about Randall’s character and what learning her story does for him."
Fogelman also warned fans not to get their hopes up for other characters. While this marks the second character presumed dead that This Is Us has revealed actually to be alive – Jack's brother Nicky was revealed to have not died in the Vietnam War in Season 3, Episode 11, "Songbird Road, Part 1" — Fogelman said that same would not hold for Jack, who tragically died in a fire. Fogelman, addressing such hopes, said, "no, Jack is definitely not alive, and no, nobody else is coming back to life."
New episodes of This Is Us air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. The currently-airing Season 5 marks the drama’s penultimate season, with This Is Us set to conclude with Season 6. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates.