The episode begins showing first Rebecca, Beth and finally 16-year old, Shauna giving birth to Deja. "This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life is Deja's story.
Shauna is just 16-years old and overwhelmed with the realization that she is now a mom. Her grandmother, Gigi, is by her side. Shauna has yet to hold her daughter. Gigi is firm but kind as she pushes her granddaughter to hold her newborn.
A few year's passes and as Gigi comes home from work, she finds that Shauna has left Deja alone in their apartment. Gigi tucks Deja into bed and reads "Goodnight Moon," Deja's favorite book.
Shauna returns home, and Gigi tells her granddaughter that this behavior is unacceptable and will not continue. Shauna seems to get the message. A short time later, as Deja, Gigi, and Shauna return from grocery shopping, Gigi collapses and dies. Shauna and Deja are devastated. How will she care for Deja without the help of her grandmother? Shauna reaches for "Goodnight Moon," and she and Deja read together.
A few years pass and Shauna and Deja have made a life together. They are close, but it is apparent that Deja is has fallen on Deja to keep her mom on track. It's Deja's birthday and to celebrate, Shauna walks Deja to school. Shauna promises a birthday dinner that evening. That night, Deja is in the kitchen cooking, and Shauna is late coming home. In the kitchen, Deja slices her hand open. It's a deep, nasty wound and Deja starts to panic when she sees all the blood. She calls Shauna, but her mother doesn't pick up. Evidently, Shauna has gone out for drinks after work. Deja takes herself to the ER and when it is discovered that Deja was home alone, Linda, the social worker is called. As a worried Shauna arrives at the hospital, Linda tells Shauna that Deja is being removed from their home.
In Deja's first foster home, she shares a room with Raven, who is a veteran of the "system." Raven has been in and out of many foster homes and tries to help Deja navigate her way through her first time in foster care. But, Mr. Miller, their foster "dad" is violent and often hits Raven, although he has not touched Deja. When the girls are caught shoplifting, Mr. Miller gives Raven a savage beating. Before long, a year has passed, and Shauna is now addicted to drugs.
Before long, a year has passed and Shauna is now addicted to drugs and Deja is still with Mr. Miller. Linda pays a visit in the days that follow the latest beating and Deja reluctantly tells Linda that Mr. Miller hits them.
The girls are taken out of the home and separated. Eventually, Deja returns home. Shauna has completed rehab and promises Deja that their lives will be different. But Shauna did not come home alone. Alonso, whom she met in rehab moves in. At first, things are great. Alonso is kind to Deja. Happiness is short-lived though as Alonso starts drinking again and Shauna is left to try and support them all. They fight often. When Shauna finds Alonso's gun in the house, Shauna is furious and takes the gun out of the house as she heads to work.
While Deja is at school, Shauna is pulled over and arrested when the gun is found in the car. The police arrive at school to notify Deja, once again Deja finds herself in foster care. But, this time she is placed with Randall and Beth. We know this part of the story very well. Before Raven and Deja were separated, Raven told her that when she finds a bed where's, she's at least a little bit safe, not to blow it.
She finds that safe place with Randall and Beth and blossoms in their care. When the charges are dropped against Shauna, Deja returns home. She is happy to be reunited with her mom but is also sad to leave the Pearson's. Shauna can't keep it together, and she and Deja are evicted from their home and sleeping in their car. Which is where Randall and Beth find them.
Randall and Beth take Deja and Shauna into their home. Shauna sees immediately how happy Deja is to be back with them. She understands that Deja has become part of their family.
As everyone readies for bed, Deja asks if she can sleep in her old room. Something else not lost on Shauna. As Beth fixes up the sofa for Shauna, the two mothers from very different worlds, bond.
As Beth and Shauna talk downstairs, Randall checks in with Deja. She opens up to Randall about the time when Randall said that he saw some of himself in her. She tells Randall, “That was kind of weird, honestly, because you seemed so weird to me,” she says. “It just didn’t seem so deja-vu-y to me. But then I started thinking: Isn’t it weird that everyone goes to sleep at night? Everyone…. Some are poor; some are rich, some sleep in beds, some sleep on the floor.”
Randall heads back downstairs, finding Beth and Shauna with a suitcase in her hand. Shauna tells them that she has failed Deja. She has to leave, and she cannot take Deja with her. Deja has come home, and Shauna has done what she has never done before, put her daughter's well-being and happiness above her own.
"The Wedding," the This is Us season 2 finale airs Tuesday. The promo shows Jack as an old man. Grab the Kleenex and join me for Kate and Toby's wedding!