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

This Is Us brings the Randall election storyline to a very welcome conclusion

Tim Jo
Tim Jo
Photo: Ron Batzdorff (NBC)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, January 15. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

This Is Us (NBC, 9 p.m.): There’s much to admire about This Is Us third season. The acting, as ever, remains uniformly excellent, and the show’s writers have started throwing some terrific pitches to the younger cast as well. The show has successfully navigated the choppy waters of the A.C.P.K.J.P. era (After Crock-Pot Killed Jack Pearson), setting up some new mysteries without hinging the show’s narrative on any one unknown (a definite improvement). Beth, Tess, and newcomer Zoe have all gotten some terrific storylines. Good stuff.


And then there’s this election story. Here’s our own Caroline Siede, from the long-ago days of 2018:

Listen, we need to talk about this “Randall runs for City Council” storyline because it’s one of the most bizarre tangents this show has ever taken. First of all, I still don’t understand how we got from “Randall wants to foster a child to honor William’s legacy” to “Randall must run for political office in another state to honor William.” (Also doesn’t he still have a whole apartment building to manage too?) The logistics involved are baffling. Who is making all of those posters, t-shirts, and electoral maps when Randall seems to be the only one who’s ever in his campaign office? How does he have the money to take on two new staffers by the end of this episode—especially when one of those staffers is his wife whose job had previously been supporting their five-person family? Who’s going to take care of Tess, Annie, and Deja while Randall and Beth are both running a campaign miles away from where they live?

Tonight, the election ends, and whatever happens, Randall will stop running for office in a manner that makes no logistical sense. Caroline is ready to recap and celebrate that moment.

Regular coverage

The Flash (The CW, 8 p.m.) 

Wild card

Roswell, New Mexico (The CW, 9 p.m.): The second TV adaptation of Melinda Metz’s Roswell High series arrives tonight. It’s not The CW’s first foray into reboot territory—there have been several, Charmed and Dynasty to name just two, in the last few years—and it’s a particularly promising entry in that category. Like many such reboots, this one comes with a twist: protagonist Liz (Jeanine Mason) is the daughter of undocumented immigrants, and she’s set to discover that a childhood friend is an illegal alien of a very different sort.


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!

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