Part of me is glad that the site is building content with only two episodes left of This Is Us. It’s been a heavy season.
The episode starts with the birth of Deja — her mom, who’s only 16 in a pre-16 And Pregnant world, isn’t super happy about holding her post-birth, which may very well explain their relationship today. In case you don’t recall, Beth and Randall last saw Deja — who they briefly fostered — homeless, hanging out in her car after her mom took her back.
Young Deja does have a good bond with “Gigi,” her still-young great-grandmother, who showers her with kisses before bed and reads her Goodnight, Moon while her mom is MIA. Flash to Randall reading the same story to his daughters. And Rebecca reading the story to her children.
Gigi’s pretty upset with Deja’s mom, named as Shawna — now 19 — since she isn’t paying the bills or taking care of her daughter. Fans of MTV know this story well.
Despite looking like she’s 45, Gigi’s health isn’t in the best condition. Deja watches her collapse in the hallway, and it seems to parallel the feeling of watching your hero die as Randall experienced with Jack. “What are we gonna do now?” her teen mom asks her. Deja responds by reading Goodnight Moon, which is impressive for a 3-year-old.
Deja, now much older, seems to be the parent in the situation. It’s her mom’s birthday, and she risks being late for her retail job to walk Deja to school. In return, Deja says she wants to make her mom a special birthday dinner. The dinner in question is Grandma’s Jambalaya, which looks…tough. There’s like, 9000 ingredients. And in opening her first can, Deja slices her hand open pretty deeply. She calls her mom, and the call goes straight to voicemail. “Mom, where are you? I hurt myself,” she says.
Deja goes to the ER by herself and gets stitched up. While there, she gets a visit from Linda from child services. It turns out that Shawna wasn’t at work after all. “We went out for my birthday and my phone died,” Shawna says with tears as she finally meets up with Deja. Kind of lame, as she would have totally missed out on the jambalaya had the can opener incident not occurred. Deja gets taken away, understandably so.
The good news is that Deja makes a foster friend named Raven while at Mr. Miller’s house. The problem is that he’s strict, and not fun. “Why do you talk to him like that?” Deja asks her. He says that he’s just going to get drunk and hit her anyway, so may as well have fun.
Then, Everything Falls Apart
Her foster buddy inspires her to steal some makeup, as there’s a big dance coming up soon and Deja is without. They manage to make it through undetected. For now, that is. Back at home, they get caught — and Raven gets beaten. Hey, it’s a little like Jack’s drunk dad!
Linda from child services does a check-in and realizes that something’s wrong with Deja. “He hits us,” Deja admitted before Linda leaves. The girls get pulled from the situation, thankfully, but end up missing the dance. “I had to say something,” Deja says to Raven. Raven is upset since now they’ll get separated — and she’s been in so
many beds that she actually didn’t mind getting hit, as she felt less alone with Deja nearby. Heartbreaking.
Linda allows Deja a chance to visit with her mom, who — according to Linda — is doing much better. The two talk about making jambalaya before Shawna springs the fact that some dude from rehab named Alonzo will be joining them for dinner. Cut to him telling a weird story. Deja asks if he even has a job, and supposedly he does — in merchandising. But then he compares himself to a Disney villain, meaning that maybe her instinct is right on this, despite the fact that he really “like likes” her mom.
Cut to, a scene where he’s drinking a beer and they’re fighting. Addiction! Just like the Pearson family!
Alonzo still tries to be cool with Deja, offering to help her with a math test. But she storms out, so obviously, he made good on that whole “Disney villain” thing.
At least Deja has extracurriculars, right? She’s taking a dance class. But before she can show off her stuff, she realizes that the teacher is involved with two police officers who entered. “Your mom’s been arrested. She’s in custody,” Linda says as she meets up with Deja. Supposedly Shawna had a gun in her car at the time.
A brief flashback to Raven, who gives her some sage advice — the next time she finds a safe bed, she shouldn’t blow it. And that bed just so happened to be at Randall’s house.
And then, well, you know what happens. Her mom comes back again, and blah blah blah.
“We’ll get it right this time, Deja,” Shawna says as she drives away from the Pearson household. Despite Deja trying so, so hard to help manage the household, it seems like the two just can’t cut it. Thus, Deja’s return to Randall’s place. “We’re past due on our gas,” she says at their doorstep.
As it turns out, Alonzo needed to make bail. He was locked up, and Shawna thinks it was her fault. So, that’s where their money went. Upon hearing the news, Deja storms out. And that’s when she makes those awkward calls to Randall, which you may have seen during last week’s episode.
Soon after, her and her mom get evicted. Aand with ten minutes left, we pick up to where the last episode left off — with Randall and Beth seeing Deja in her car.
The Sweet Aftermath
Randall takes both of them home, and his girls are so, so happy to see Deja. How cute is that? But Randall and Beth know they’ve got a lot ahead of them.
Deja wants to sleep in her own room, while her mom takes the couch. It’s kinda-sorta obvious, after watching a movie, that this is the healthiest environment that Deja’s ever been in. As she heads to bed, Beth and Shawna have a chat about track and crushes. Shawna admits that while it shouldn’t be an excuse, she was only a teen when she had Deja. But she’s really special, despite the fact that most mothers probably feel that way about their daughters. And she admits, she thinks she’s failed her.
Back in Deja’s room, she’s so happy that the Pearson’s kept her plants alive. “I know it was kind of a weird night,” Randall says, after asking if she’s okay. Deja opens up about the number of beds she’s slept in and says that it’s scary since the number is already pretty high. She notes how amazing it is that everyone falls asleep at the same time, and then notes that she’s just…really tired.
Downstairs, Shawna admits that she has to go and can’t take Deja with her. Mother of the year.