How COVID-19 could impact the storyline for This Is Us Season 5

This Is Us is addressing COVID-19 head-on in Season 5

According to This Is Us showrunner Dan Fogelman, the Pearsons will find their lives being interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic when This Is Us returns for Season 5. He confirmed the news in a Tweet that he sent out on Sunday in response to a fan question on whether or not the show would be addressing the current state of the world.

Despite this change to the structure of This Is Us Season 5, Fogelman also confirmed that the season will have the “same planned ending” and would use “the same route to get there.” Although it is unknown when production on Season 5 will begin, we can still speculate as to how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the storyline of the NBC drama.

This Is Us Season 4 look back

In Season 4 of This Is Us, The Big Three were dealing with major life changes. Kate and Toby’s marriage was beginning to crumble under the pressure of raising a disabled child, Kevin was longing for a greater purpose as he stayed with Nicky in Pennsylvania, and Randall’s anxiety came back after a house break-in.

To make things even more complicated, Kevin and Randall’s relationship was put to the test after Rebecca was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The stress of Rebecca’s condition and years of pent-up animosity between the two came to a head at baby Jack’s first birthday party when Kevin learned that Randall manipulated Rebecca into attending a nine-month clinical trial in St. Louis, which she had previously refused.

What resulted was an epic showdown between Kevin and Randall as they exchanged harsh words, and Randall eventually stormed off. From the one-year flash-forward in Season 4, Episode 9, we know that Kevin and Randall aren’t speaking in August of 2020. We also know, that Rebecca, despite having left for the clinical trial three weeks after baby Jack’s first birthday party, is at the family cabin a year later celebrating The Big Three’s birthday with Kevin and Kate.

So what will happen to the Pearson family in Season 5 of This Is Us, and how will the coronavirus impact the season’s storyline? Let’s speculate!

This Is Us Season 5: Rebecca’s clinical trial likely gets delayed

Baby Jack’s first birthday occurs on March 10, 2020, mere days before the nationwide stay-at-home-orders took effect.

With the stay-at-home orders in place and hospitals limiting their operations in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, likely, Rebecca never makes it on the plane to St. Louis. This could explain why Rebecca is at the family cabin five months after the nine-month clinical trial was supposed to begin. If that’s the case, how will Randall handle the inconvenience?

If I had to guess, I’d say that Randall will continue to spiral, and if he does, both Rebecca and Kate likely decide enough is enough and cut him out of their lives as well. Hopefully, Dr. Leigh will be there to help him finally start seeing straight.

Toby and Kate adopt

During baby Jack’s first birthday party, Kate and Toby slipped away to visit the NICU and put Jack’s picture on the NICU Wall of Fame.

While there, Toby apologized for not being the best version of himself during the past year but said that he was still there and then suggested that Jack deserved to have a sibling.

Although Kate was against the idea of getting pregnant, Toby reminded her that the Pearson family has had a pretty good track record with adoption, and, after leaving the hospital parking lot, both agreed that they wanted to adopt. If the pandemic doesn’t hinder those plans, it could reinforce the carpe diem attitude that they need to make the leap.

Kevin becomes a father

While Kate and Toby were off discussing their plans to adopt a child, Kevin was back at the Damon household finding out from Madison that he was going to become the father of twins.

It’s possible that while preparing for the birth of his children during a global pandemic, Kevin may finally start to realize that his parents did their best to make their children feel loved.

He may finally realize that it’s time to stop putting Jack, and to some extent, Rebecca, on a pedestal, and let go of petty grudges that he holds against Randall. The question is, will Randall come to a similar conclusion? Although we know that the brothers are both at Rebecca’s deathbed in the future, it’s still uncertain just how long their feud is likely to last.

How do you think the coronavirus pandemic will affect the storyline for This Is Us Season 5? Let us know in the comments.

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