This Is Us: Sterling K. Brown Teases Randall and Kevin's 'Conversation They've Been Looking to Have'
"It's going to shift a little bit because of COVID and because of how we want to address COVID," Sterling K. Brown tells PEOPLE
Sterling K. Brown and Justin Hartley may be great friends and costars in real life, but their This Is Us characters have been going through a rough patch after their huge fight.
Last week, fans saw Randall (Brown) virtually keeping his brother Kevin's pregnant fiancée Madison (Caitlin Thompson) some company as she prepares to give birth, possibly alone, while Kevin (Hartley) hurriedly tries to make it back to Los Angeles to be by Madison's side when she welcomes their twins. However, Kevin appeared to be stuck at the Seattle airport, where he was unable to make it past the TSA agent because he lost his ID.
Ahead of Tuesday's episode, titled "In the Room," Brown, 44, tells PEOPLE that Randall's act of kindness could lead to the sibling resolution audiences have been hoping for since last season.
"There was a conversation that was going to happen in episode 5 and Randall was like, 'Yo man I got to go meet my mom's people.' And at the end of episode 6, Kevin's like, 'Yo man I'm about to have these babies and I'm stuck north of the border,' " Brown says.
In episode 7 of the fifth season, Randall and his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) FaceTimed with Madison during the couple's road trip home to Philadelphia from New Orleans. During that same drive home, Randall attempted to talk with Kevin over the phone, but Kevin was frantically trying to make it back to in time for the births of his twins and it was not the right time for the brothers to patch up their rift.
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So when will Randall and Kevin find the appropriate timing?
"It will happen. You'll witness them finding the time and the space to have the conversation they've been looking to have since the end of last year. The conversation that needed to take place," teases Brown, who recently earned a Critics' Choice Award, NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for male actor in a drama series.
"It's going to shift a little bit because of COVID and because of how we want to address COVID. Historically Randall, or any of the Pearsons, have just jet-setted from the east coast to the west coast in a heartbeat in order to be present for family members. But we want to be as responsible as possible in telling a story," the actor explains.
"I credit our writers, Dan Fogelman in particular, for wanting to maintain a reflection of the world that doesn't separate our show out from the world as is. It has a certain level of responsibility to the pandemic while still trying to be entertaining and engaging," Brown shares. "You can't act with a mask on your face the entire time. But you want to come up with plausible scenarios that justify conversation in a particular space. It's really a credit to Dan that it is important that we don't just say, 'Ah well they know it's a TV show,' they want to be reflective in the world in which we live in."
For season 5, This Is Us chose to portray the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic since the onset of the global health crisis forced many to alter day-to-day activities and lifestyles. The show, itself, has navigated stop-and-start production schedules for months, which ultimately delayed the air dates of recent episodes.
Brown also shares with PEOPLE how he has been managing the unpredicted extra downtime at home in between working and being a father of two.
"Meditation and exercise. Those are things for me-time and self-care so I can care for other people who are in my sphere of influence," says the star who partnered with Bose to focus on his mental health journey.
"I do an app for meditation, the Headspace app, which I enjoy a great deal. With the noise masking buds from Bose that I use, even when my 5-year-old comes into my room midst of the meditation with 'Dad!', thankfully I can not hear him immediately until he taps me on the leg like, 'Yo man I'm hungry,' " he adds.
Brown says, "For exercise, I go into the garage because I don't know how many people are going into the gyms these days or if gyms are even open anymore. I'll wait until we are all vaccinated to enter a gym. I did get myself a Peloton bike and I do have a few weights in there. I put on the headphones or I have this massive Bose speaker that I rock out and sort of have a jam session while I'm getting my Rocky Balboa/Apollo Creed on."
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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