When This Is Us wrapped its acclaimed six-season run in May 2022, it did so with a final season that incorporated many forms of fan service and storylines coming full circle. Beloved relationships were repaired and blossomed, characters finally found their place in the world, and every main character got a fitting sendoff and loving farewell.
But it wasn’t hard to wonder why the series brought back some characters, such as Sophie and Dr. Katowski, but not others, such as Zoe and Hai Lang. The final season of This Is Us definitely delivered on many promises the series made to invested viewers over the years, but there were some real character omissions that are still hard to understand.
10 Dr. Vance
Therapist Dr. Vance talks to Randall Pearson via Facetime in This Is Us
Dr. Vance was a character that only appeared briefly but nevertheless made a major difference. Randall spent parts of seasons 4 and 4 trying to figure out how to address his mental health needs, conducting a search to identify the right therapist who would be able to understand his worldview.
In season five, he finally found Dr. Vance, a Black man and a father who understood many of the feelings Randall struggled with regularly. While he did help Randall greatly in season five as Randall learned more about his biological family, Dr. Vance’s absence in season 6 is particularly glaring considering the emotional ringer Randall was put through with Rebecca’s failing health.
9 Hai Lang
Hai Lang talks to Randall Pearson on the phone in This Is Us
Hai was another character who played an important role in This Is Us’s fifth season, but who was completely absent as the series concluded in season 6. During season 5, Hai recurred as the sole link Randall would eventually have to his late biological mother, Laurel. But he was introduced much earlier than that in the season’s third episode, as a mysterious man that viewers were eager to know more about.
Over the course of season 5, Randall forged a connection with Hai and even inherited his mother’s home in Louisiana through their connection. But in season 6, Hai was never heard from again, nor was there any mention of the new home Randall supposedly owned.
8 Young William Hill
This is Us William
Without question, the early seasons of This Is Us were the series’ finest. A large part of this can be attributed to the inclusion of a more complete story for William Hill, the character most frequently portrayed by Emmy winning actor Ron Cephas Jones. But William was also shown in his younger years, too, with an equally nuanced and moving portrayal provided by Jermel Nakia.
After being a major part of seasons 1 and 2, Nakia’s William only appeared in four total episodes between seasons 3 and 5. And while the elder William was given a large, poignant role in one of This Is Us’s best episodes, “The Train,” Nakia’s William was sadly nowhere to be seen.
7 Laurel Dubois
Young Laurel Dubois talks with her family in the dining room in This Is Us
As with Hai before her, Laural Dubois was another character that was definitely noticeably missing from the final season. Laurel didn’t receive much attention in earlier seasons, as she had been presumed dead by both William and Randall. But as season 5 spent many episodes revealing, Laurel had in fact survived the drug overdose William had witnessed and had gone on to live into her older years.
Although Laurel would not have been able to be featured in the present-day storyline, due to her passing just before the timeline of the series began, there could have been ways of incorporating her character in the final season’s many other past timelines, especially since Randall was supposed to inherit her previous home.
6 Audio Damon
The dog Audio Damon in This Is Us
Perhaps the most forgotten about character was the one major non-human character: Kate and Toby’s adorable dog, Audio. Kate had a complicated history with dogs, given the tragic role that her own pet dog played in her father, Jack Pearson’s death. It was a big deal for viewers, and for Kate herself when she and Toby welcomed a dog into their lives.
And then, Audio vanished without explanation. A tongue-in-cheek tweet from the official This Is Us Twitter account assured fans that “Audio is fine. He’s just offscreen.” But that did nothing to account for the dog’s complete absence in the final season, especially when Kate and Toby split up and divided their things accordingly.
5 Zoe Baker
Melanie Liburd as Zoe in This Is Us
Kevin had many love interests, but the only one of them with a strong familial connection to another main character was Zoe, Beth’s cousin. Zoe was the first woman that Kevin truly became serious with after his ex-wife Sophie, and he really considered building a future with her.
While the two eventually went their separate ways due to differing opinions on having children, Zoe did appear in a few subsequent episodes, but the series never found an organic way to reintroduce her character for any long term following her split with Kevin.
4 Carol Clarke
Yet another member of Beth’s family tree was conspicuously absent in the final season, despite a glaring reason as to why she should have been around in a much bigger capacity. Beth’s mother, Carol Clarke, was portrayed by the legendary Phylicia Rashad in four episodes.
Her appearances in the second half of season five established that Carol would be moving in with Randall and Beth for a while so that they could help her while she recuperated from an injury. And yet Carol was never seen in season 6. Just as the series spent less time on Randall’s children in season 6, it also never thought to address where Carol had gone, nor did it explain her absence in the future timelines as well.
3 Young Nicky Pearson
Nicky Pearson as a child in the Pearson family car in This Is Us
The revelation that Jack Pearson had a younger brother was one of the first big plot twists that This Is Us introduced in season 2. Nicky Pearson became a major character over the course of the series, particularly in his young adult form as portrayed by Michael Angarano, and his older adult form as portrayed by Griffin Dunne.
But a young version of Nicky Pearson appeared as well, yet was nowhere to be found in season 6. Even in an episode prominently featuring the relationship between a young Jack and his mother, Nicky was never shown or included in any of their daily activities, raising many questions about his whereabouts at the time.
2 Adult Hailey Damon
Adelaide Kane as Hailey in This Is Us
The character of the adult version of Kate and Toby’s adopted daughter, Hailey Damon, was arguably one of the biggest dropped storylines in This Is Us. As an infant and a young child, Hailey featured more prominently than ever before in the series’ final batch of episodes as her parents’ marriage dissolved.
But the adult Hailey, played by Teen Wolf and Reign alumna Adelaide Kane, was introduced in some of the series’ signature “who is this new mystery character?” segments. And then, after revealing who she was when she arrived at the birth of the adult Jack Damon’s daughter, she was never seen again even as the series returned to that future timeline.
Shauna Andrews talking to her daughter Deja Pearson in This Is Us
When Deja was introduced in This Is Us, she was a foster child that Randall and Beth were temporarily fostering while her mother, Shauna, was struggling. Shauna’s journey in the series never received as much fleshing out as Deja’s, but by the end of season four, she had straightened out her life and was on good terms with her daughter for the first time in many years.
But then, Shauna was never seen or heard from again. It’s possible that she and Deja remained on good terms for the remainder of the series, just off-screen, but it was a real disappointment to not get to see that relationship healed and flourishing as the series came to an end, especially with an adult Deja now expecting her own child.