During the Season 1 finale of This Is Us, viewers learned that Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) and his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) wanted to adopt a child, but the couple ultimately decided to foster an older girl who comes from a troubled background. Enter Déjà, a teen whose mom was recently sent to jail, leaving her without a guardian.
After three episodes, we now know a little bit more about Déjà, like why she tends to shrink away from Randall and why she initially refused to wash her hair. In the Oct. 24 episode, it was revealed that Déjà was physically abused by her former foster mom’s boyfriend. That explains why she recoils every time Randall makes an unexpected move towards her.
Déjà and Beth.
While attending a fancy gala with her new foster dad, Déjà gets upset after he grabs her hand to stop her from eating the end of a shrimp tail. She later tells Randall that he can’t lunge at her because it back memories of the time she would get beaten with rolled up magazines — which her foster mom’s boyfriend used because they didn’t leave as many visible bruises.
As for refusing to wash her hair, Beth discovers that Déjà suffers from alopecia, or hair loss. The teen has large patches on the back of her head. She tells Beth that it typically gets worse when something bad happens in her life, like when her mom was sent to jail again. Though Beth is able to braid her hair in a way that covers up the bald spots, Déjà ultimately cuts her hair after Randall accidentally reveals that he knows about her secret struggle.
While there’s still so much to learn about this complex character, viewers have loved seeing her relationship with both Randall and Beth develop. It almost helps us get over William’s absence this season!