Things can never be the same after the season three midseason finale of This Is Us, which revealed that the “her” in a handful of flash-forward scenes from season two and three was Rebecca. Although the mystery had been teased for a while, the actual reveal was truly a punch to the gut. But how did Rebecca become “her” on This Is Us? Why is she in the hospital, and why are her family members so sad to see her? What is making it so painful for different members of the Pearson clan to come together, and does it have anything to do with Rebecca?
We have a few logical, if not completely heartbreaking, theories about why Rebecca is “her” and how This Is Us will explain it. Buckle up — this is gonna be a little rough.
1. She’s old, plain and simple
The kindest theory of the bunch is that she’s old and getting treatment for something that initially seems life-threatening but turns out to be treatable or innocuous. After all, if the flash-forwards show a graying Randall, who we could guesstimate is in his late 50s (at the youngest!), then Rebecca is at least in her 80s. Maybe Rebecca breaks her hip, causing a Pearson family freak-out. Maybe Rebecca goes in for a routine check-up and the doctors need to keep her a few days to run more tests? We can only hope, but that’s not exactly This Is Us‘ style.
2. She’s being treated for a serious disease
Relating to the fact that Rebecca is old, chances are that our beloved Pearson matriarch is dealing with a serious disease that is taking a toll on the rest of the family. Reddit user regallymilah theorizes that Rebecca could be seeking treatment for Alzheimer’s, which would explain why Beth is a bringing a potentially sentimental item to the hospital and why the rest of Rebecca’s family is sad or nervous to see her.
3. She’s dying
Could Rebecca be on her deathbed and everyone is about to go say goodbye? It would certainly be upsetting to think we’ve been building up to a scene where we watch Rebecca slip away, but that could very well happen, as TV Insider theorized back in November. It feels grim that Rebecca would be stricken with an untreatable illness that has her saying goodbye to her kids and grandkids, but that’s life, warts and all, which is something This Is Us specializes in.
4. Another family member put her in the hospital
Potentially the darkest theory of the bunch: This Is Us could explain the cause of Rebecca being “her” as it relates to one of her family members. We still haven’t seen Miguel, Kate or Kevin in any of the flash-forwards, which might imply that Rebecca was with one or more of them during a possible accident or maybe even a fight that escalated to a tragic place — which is one aspect of Reddit user Marty5151’s multi-pronged theory about Rebecca being “her” (see their thoughts on Kate for more).
Could Rebecca and one of her family members have been stuck on a bridge (which we know freaks her out) and gotten into a car accident? Could Rebecca and Kevin have gotten into a fight (maybe because he relapses in the future or because an old wound of theirs is reopened) and things ended badly?
5. She’s in a coma
Similar to the theory that Rebecca is being treated for a serious disease, there’s a chance that Rebecca is actually in a coma and likely has been for a long time. This would explain why Beth took a special item with her as she left for the hospital, as it could be used to decorate Rebecca’s room or as a gift left at her bedside. Rebecca being in a coma would also explain why Toby and Tess are reticent to see Rebecca because, undoubtedly, seeing her in that state would just be too devastating.