Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Randall’s going to feel yet more feelings on This Is Us

Sterling K. Brown
Sterling K. Brown
Photo: NBC

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, January 12. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.): NBC’s drama darling loves setting up a mystery, then taking a good long time to offer the solution. (Remember the crockpot?) But the title of tonight’s episode, “Birth Mother,” seems to indicate that the answer to at least one of this season’s unanswered questions is fast approaching. Here’s Caroline Siede on last week’s mid-season premiere, “A Long Road Home:”

Back in the This Is Us season premiere, Randall longed for a year without surprises. And while the show, of course, used that as a springboard to immediately introduce a bunch of new twists, the midseason premiere displays an admirable commitment to not dragging out those mysteries longer than it needs to. In short order, we get official confirmation that teen Kate had an abortion after finding herself pregnant by Marc. And we also learn that Randall’s birth mom Laurel died in 2015, meaning that while there’s still plenty of her story yet to be explored, we’re not in for another long-lost relative reunion.

Cue the exploration. Look for Caroline’s recap, and probably for the single tear that will roll slowly down Sterling K. Brown’s award-winning cheek.

Regular coverage

Wild cards

Time for another wild card lightning round.

Chris Rock Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut (Netflix, 3:01 a.m.): Rock’s 2018 special gets a “remix” with “never-before-seen jokes, interviews, and BTS footage.”

Two Sentence Horror Stories (The CW, 8 p.m., season-two premiere): The CW’s enjoyable anthology series returns for a second season of horror stories that are not actually just two sentences, honest. Still, if you’re finding that your attention span is a little shorter than usual due to, say, stress, this might be right up your street.


Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!