NBC’s weepy mega-hit This Is Us really likes making people cry, killing its dad, and when possible, doing both at once. Luckily, it also likes great actors, which is no small part of why it’s so good, despite the whole dad-killing obsession.. Theirs is a crowded field—Mandy Moore was so good last season, Susan Kelechi Watson doesn’t get enough attention, Ron Cephas Jones is a legend, Sterling K. Brown exists, you get the idea—and yet one of the single best performances in the show’s second season was given by Lyric Ross. Ross plays Deja, a teenage girl who comes into Randall and Beth Pearsons’ lives through the foster care system. Now NBC has done the good and right and correct and wise and sensible thing by promoting her to series regular for the show’s third season (per Variety).
Ross, who appeared in half the episodes in season two, anchored the season’s finest hour, “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life.” Of the episode, and her performance, our own Caroline Siede had this to say:
“This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life” is up there with the William-centric “Memphis” as one of This Is Us’ strongest outings, and it raises the bar for how the show can utilize its time-hopping premise going forward. Most importantly, it provides a wonderful showcase for Lyric Ross, who solidifies herself as one of the best actors in the entire This Is Us ensemble. This episode would seem to establish Deja as a permanent member of the Pearson family and both they—and us—are lucky to have her.
Deja also played an important role in the season finale, in which she smashed the fuck out of Randall’s fancy car. She also spent some quality time with Beth’s cousin Zoe, a new character played by Melanie Liburd who also got a series regular promotion this week. It’s probably a safe bet that their connection will continue.. Zoe also forms a connection with Kevin, about which Beth is presumably just thrilled.
This Is Us returns to NBC on September 25, presumably after tossing a bunch of Emmys in a sack and striding off into the warmly-lit night.