The great Taylor Swift once said, "the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now." Little did she know those lyrics would apply perfectly to Randall and Beth.
The tension that's been bubbling between the former love birds came to a head on This Is Us Season 3 Episode 17 as they attempted to communicate with one another all of the problems they have with the other.
"R & B" had the potential to be super depressing due to the once beautiful marriage turning into a big ugly mess.
However, in tried and true This Is Us fashion, "R & B" managed to balance out the drama with light-hearted, sweet moments that reminded us why we fell in love with the partnership when we first got introduced to them.
Every couple has a story that's filled with some key moments, some good and some not so good. Randall and Beth's most significant milestones got highlighted on "R & B," and they all played a small role in the couples' journey.
Sterling K. Brown and Susan Keleichi Watson always deliver incredible performances, and "R & B" was no exception. However, their teen counterparts arguably outclassed them.
Sterling and Susan have been working alongside each other for years, and have built up their crazy chemistry, but Rachel Naomi Hilson and Niles Filch just got thrown together. It would've been understandable if the two didn't share the same wicked chemistry.
With just a simple look it was clear the two were going to be great together, and you have to applaud the young actors for their impeccable performance.
The younger selves brought a sense of joy and hope to an episode that dealt with a lot of complicated, adult issues. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for teen romance, but I couldn't help but be smitten with the two very quickly, even if the first date didn't go so well.
Randall: You're an architecture major. I thought you might want to study dance.
Beth: No. What made you think that?
Randall: I asked around about you.
Beth: Well you got some bad intel. I used to dance, but not anymore.
Randall: Never? Like if someone put on some Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, you wouldn't cut a rug?
Beth: First of all, you don't dance to Lauryn Hill, you groove, and secondly who says cut a rug?
Randall: A lot of people say cut a rug.
Beth: White people.
Randall: Well, I was raised by white people.
Randall has a lot of Jack's qualities, but who would've thought planning out a horrible first date was one of them.
While their approaches were much different, Jack only brought nine bucks to his first date with Rebecca on This Is Us Season 3 Episode 1, and Randall brought Beth to an over-the-top date, they both blew at giving a great first impression.
Lucky for both father and son, they were both excellent at the long game and managed to charm the loves of their lives eventually.
Maybe it's because of the troubles the couple is facing during the present timeline, but I believe This Is Us must continue to tell Randall and Beth's origin story.
Just like with Jack and Rebecca, Randall and Beth's beginnings are the perfect balance of realism and romance. Also, with all the drama going on right now, a cute teen romance is what we need to feel balanced.
Randall's relationship with Beth was the main focus of the entire episode, but it was also absolutely adorable seeing Kevin helping him out with Beth.
Teen Randall and Teen Kevin are always at odds, so it's nice to see them act like brothers and be supportive sometimes. I love a bromance, even with actual brothers.
Randall may be a smooth operator now, but it looks like that wasn't always the case. Not only was he kind of a dork (in the sweetest way possible, of course) during their first date, but he also butchered multiple proposals.
It was at that moment where signs of trouble started to creep up on them, but at least the Beth we've come to love was still shining here. She spoke her mind and made it clear to Randall that she was worried about losing herself if she got married to him.
Randall: Beth, love of my life, will you marry me?
Beth: I need to work, and you need to stop proposing.
Randall: So, is that a yes?
Beth: It's a not yet!
Randall: Well, at least we're getting closer. When I proposed on the jumbotron at the Pirates game you said hell no, so not yet is a step in the right direction.
Up until This Is Us Season 3, I never felt as though that was the case. Randall did make a ton of rash decisions such as bringing William in to live with them or buying that apartment complex without asking her. However, he never made her compromise when it came to what she wanted.
The only issue I had with "R & B" was the seeds that got planted throughout the flashbacks that signified that Beth's been losing herself while being with Randall for such a long time.
Perhaps, I watched them together with rose-tinted glasses and didn't fully pay attention to their time spent together, but on This Is Us Season 1 and This Is Us Season 2, I never once saw Beth bending her will to Randall, and losing herself to him.
So, suggesting that an underlying issue that they are facing now has been there ever since their engagement seems a little far-fetched, and not in line with what's happened with Beth and Randall the last two seasons.
Even their wedding, which was romantic AF, was tainted by Beth saying she felt like she planned their wedding all by herself. That throwaway comment wouldn't have meant so much if not for the fact that all the flashbacks were the backdrop to the present day madness.
The flashbacks may have been told using a "revisionist history," as Randall put it, because they all portrayed him as a man who couldn't see his wife's inner turmoil while portraying Beth as a wallflower.
Fortunately, I was able to get past Beth's comment and admire the awesomeness of their wedding. Between Kevin's awful goatee, Kate and Randall's choreographed dance, and Randall and Beth's tear-inducing vows, it felt like the wedding of the century.
Sorry, Kate and Toby, they had you beat.
"R & B" also showed us some more hidden issues the two-faced after having Tess and when William moved in. Those minor issues couldn't have prepared us for the ugliness that was the bedroom fight!
Part of me hoped that their fight would give them a chance to air out their issues, and figure out a way to move past them. They sure did air out their problems, but Randall and Beth didn't even come close to getting past them.
Beth handled a majority of the talking, mainly because she's the one that was hurt most by the message Randall left on her phone on This Is Us Season 3 Episode 16.
I was appalled by Randall's message, but by the end of their fight, I felt for him. He was kind of ignorant to all the problems Beth seemed to have. She never really voiced any of the frustrations she had until now, and when attempted, she always gave up prematurely.
Randall: I refuse to be blamed for the fact that you had your awakening twenty years too late! At any other point in our marriage, if you had decided that you wanted to go back to dance, I would've been nothing but supportive.
Beth: Oh when would I have done that, huh? Between which of your anxiety attacks?
I'm sure Beth is going to receive a lot of hate regarding her comments about Randall's anxiety attacks preventing her from going after her dreams, but I don't think that would be fair.
I can only imagine what it's like being with someone who is suffering from a mental health issue. It not only takes a toll on them but those around them. Resentment is something people don't want to feel, but sometimes you can't help it.
Beth probably holds some resentment towards Randall because she's had to put her life on hold to help him. That doesn't mean she doesn't love the guy though.
The pair seem to be in an even worse place after everything that happened on "R & B," and the chances of them salvaging their relationship seems highly unlikely at this point.
A separation would do them some good, so they can both find out what exactly it is they want from one another to see if it's even possible for them to move forward.
Rocky times are ahead for one of TV's most endearing couples, but hopefully, just like rhythm and blues, Randall and Beth will be back to being smooth and sultry before we know it.
What did you think of "R&B"?
Do you think Beth and Randall are done for or do you think they can fix things?
What do you think Beth and Randall need to do moving forward?
Which flashback of Randall and Beth was your favorite?
Let us know in the comments below and if you need to catch up, make sure to watch This Is Us online right here on TV Fanatic!
Brandon Viera was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in May 2019..