‘This Is Us’ Season 1, Episode 16 Recap: Randall Takes His Father To Memphis
In episode 15 of This Is Us, Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) nervous breakdown had gotten worse, causing him to neglect his dying father and miss his brother Kevin’s (Justin Hartley) opening night show.
‘THIS IS US’ SEASON 1, EPISODE 16 RECAP: “MEMPHIS”
The episode opens with a flashback of William’s (Ron Cephas Jones) mother and father, showing that they were in love. William’s father was killed in war and his mother had to raise him on her own.
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall are talking to his doctor about Randall’s desire to take his biological father back to his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. Beth doesn’t feel like it’s a good idea since he was so sick before, but Randall says he has to give his father what he wants before he dies.
Randall and William drive off for a road trip to Memphis. When Randall hands William all of the maps for navigation, William throws them out the window and tells him to just drive. In a flashback, William remembers a time when his mother left to go to Pittsburgh in order to take care of her own mother.
In the car, William talks about how shocked he is to find out that Randall had a breakdown. Randall discusses how he’s always had that kind of problem, getting too deep in his own head. They talk about how Randall’s father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was always the one to help calm him down. William asks Randall to take him to Jack’s grave so that he can pay his respect to Jack for raising him.
In a flashback, we learn that William was in a band with his cousin. He wrote music for them, mostly about how much he misses his mother. We also learn that his mother decided to stay in Pittsburgh after her mother died.
Randall and William arrive in Memphis. William starts pointing out areas that he frequented growing up. They first stop at the place where he grew up. Randall helps his father cope with how different things look. William asks to go inside and look for his “treasure” which turns out to be three quarters and an old toy car.
In a flashback, we learn that William leaves Memphis in order to see his sick mother in Pittsburgh. His cousin gives him a handful of cash to help with his mother and tells him to repay him with more songs when he returns home. In present day, William returns to the club and his cousin rejects him. He is mad at William for not coming back. We them learn that will caring for his mother, William met Randall’s mother, his own mother died and then became involved with drugs eventually.
In the club, Randall gets to meet some of his family members from Memphis and his father William gets to play on stage again with his cousin.
The next morning in the hotel, William is seizing in the bed. Randall calls for emergency services and William seems to be at his end. We learn that William has only a few hours left to live, a day at most. In the hospital room, William gives Randall a book of poems he wrote for him growing up. The two of them begin saying goodbye to each other.
In the final scenes, Randall drives home after his father’s passing. He stops to let three ducks cross the road, symbolizing his father who loved the ducks at The Peabody hotel. Randall is then seen rolling down his window and turning up the music, indicating that William’s passing may have a positive effect on Randall’s life.