Randall's Intellect Sets Him Apart On 'This Is Us'

It’s been obvious from the start that Randall is different from his siblings on This Is Us — firstly, he’s black and they are white, and he is adopted and they are not. Jack and Rebecca, Randall’s adoptive parents, have a whole different set of issues when it comes to raising Randall, and so they pay a little bit more attention to Randall to better understand him. There’s something else that makes Randall different, though — Randall was a gifted child on This Is Us , and it completely shaped the way he interacts with his family.

Randall was a smart kid — especially with numbers – so Jack and Rebecca were surprised when they were asked to come into his school and speak to his teacher. But no, he wasn't in trouble! Turns out that Randall tested off the charts and the faculty at his school is recommending he go to a school with a more rigorous program. Jack is fearful it will ostracize him more, but Rebecca wants Randall to do it. Randall, as we learn later, is afraid that it will make him more different, that it will make his siblings not like him (this was so sad and sweet to watch). Jack, who gained some wisdom during the speech, encouraged Randall and told him he was special and extraordinary and different, and that it was a good thing. 30 years later, Randall discovers that his biological father, William, has the musical talent that Rebecca and Kate both have. This spirals Randall into a midlife crisis — should he have been playing music all of this time instead of being “gifted”? Randall is a very successful man, and yet he still feels inadequate and separate when compared to the rest of his family. Why can't he be the same for once?

After a particularly embarrassing public serenade at his daughters’ school, William helps Randall come to the same realization that Jack led Randall to as a child — he works with numbers because he loves working with numbers. Randall is intelligent in a different way than his family, but he is still special and extraordinary. All of his life, Randall has been different, and it is only after being reminded how special he is that he is able to sit back and relax and even embrace his “different” status. Oh, and sign up for piano lessons.

Images: Ron Batzdorff/NBC (2)