This is us is known for its twists and turns, but few compare to the twist of Randall's birth mother Laurel, played by actress Jennifer C. Holmes. While we were originally led to believe she died of a drug overdose shortly after Randall was born, the season five premiere shows that she actually survived.
During the premiere, we learn a little more about Randall's backstory before he is adopted by Jack and Rebecca. In what follows, we see William and Laurel meet, fall in love, and ultimately plan their lives together when they find out they are expecting something. Both recovering from addicts, the two bond in the hope of creating a better life for their son. However, when Laurel gives birth at home, she will relapse and use heroin to deal with the pain of childbirth. If she doesn't respond, William calls for help.
In a heartbreaking scene, William watches as the paramedics try to resuscitate her on the floor. Fearing what will happen to his son, William escapes the scene and drops Randall at a nearby fire station to connect the dots of the story we all know very well. What William doesn't know, however, is that Randall's mother actually survived. In the very last scene, one of the paramedics notices that she has a pulse again and we see her eyes flash.
During the midseason premiere, the show fills in the blanks when Randall contacts her friend Hai. Unfortunately, he reveals that Laurel died of breast cancer in May 2015, but it seems like we'll learn more about her backstory in the upcoming episode. During Tuesday's episode preview, Randall travels to New Orleans so he can see where his mother lived. Something tells us this episode "Memphis" will be 2.0!