[Warning: Spoilers ahead]
Grab your box of tissues, because This Is Us fans are already speculating another heartbreaking storyline is upon us. On the Nov. 12 episode of the NBC series, Randall (Sterling K.Brown) starts to become concerned when his mom Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) visibly gets upset after she misplaced her phone. You know, the cell phone she was using to capture pictures of very mundane things, like furniture in her son’s house.
Though Rebecca shakes off her forgetful behavior as having “senior moments,” Randall offers to schedule a doctor’s appointment, which prompts his mom to become more aggressive towards him. In the Nov. 19 midseason finale, Rebecca gets lost after storming out of Randall's Thanksgiving dinner.While Randall had technically just moved to the house, her forgetfulness once again had Randall (and viewers) concerned.
Though the evidence is mounting, viewers have not yet learned the diagnosis of Rebecca’s condition. Many fans have theorized that she has a brain disorder associated with progressive memory loss. So, does Rebecca have Alzheimer’s disease in This Is Us?
Does Rebecca have Alzheimer’s disease on This Is Us?
In Season 3, a flash forward scene revealed that Rebecca will one day not recognize Randall. After that episode, fans began to theorize that our favorite TV mom will eventually succumb to a form of dementia known as Alzheimer’s disease.
According to ALZ.org, this disease “causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.” Fans were quick to make the assumption that Rebecca will eventually be diagnosed with a memory disorder.
"I bet Rebecca is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. That's why she was taking so many pictures. So she could remember everything. I can't deal with Jack's death and now this. I don't need it. #ThisisUs," tweeted one fan.
Another added: "I felt like Rebecca was showing signs of early onset Alzheimer's when [she] was counting the chairs in the waiting room when Kate had the baby#ThisIsUs."
Entertainment Weekly spoke with executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger in November about the widespread theory on Rebecca’s health status.
"I don’t want to speak too much to that because I want our audience to go on this journey with Randall and Rebecca," Isaac told the outlet. "It’s that question when you see an older relative, like, "Is this just normal, getting-older ‘senior moment,’ or is this a sign of a bigger illness, a bigger deterioration?"
Elizabeth added, "Randall knows Rebecca better than anyone on this planet, and the fact that he can tell something’s brewing within her is a pretty good indication that that is indeed what’s happening."
Creator Dan Fogelman would also not confirm or deny the rumors, previously telling EW, "There are other things that could be going on there as well ... There could be many suspicions as to what is ailing Rebecca, including just aging and being in that place of life. The read of it being Alzheimer's and dementia is not unexpected; it doesn’t mean it's necessarily right."
On the midseason finale, the biggest clue that Rebecca might be struggling with Alzheimer's came at the end of the episode. When she returns home after her walk, her family is none the wiser that she got lost. Instead of keeping this information to herself, Rebecca realizes that her forgetfulness is more serious.
After previously fighting Randall about seeing a doctor, Rebecca finally relents and asks him to take her to one.
Catch new episodes of This Is Us on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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