‘This Is Us’ Guest Star Brian Tyree Henry Cried for 20 Minutes After Devastating Episode

The tears just keep on coming. After the Tuesday, February 21, episode of This Is Us, fans were a wreck as William (Ron Cephas Jones) passed away in his favorite city, Memphis. However, before William met his demise, he took a meaningful road trip to the Tennessee city with his son Randall (Sterling K. Brown).

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During the road trip, viewers saw flashbacks of William’s early life with his mother, Dorothy (Amanda Warren), his experiences in the band with his cousin Ricky (Brian Tyree Henry) and his downward spiral into drugs with girlfriend Laurel (Jennifer Holmes).

Henry, who is Brown’s best friend in real life, spoke to Us Weekly exclusively about the emotional episode.

Brian Tyree Henry attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Brian Tyree Henry attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon

“I was crying for at least 20 minutes after the episode,” the Atlanta actor told Us.

The fan of the show was obvious gutted by watching William pass away, but the emotions started long before the episode aired. During the makeup process, Henry, who was aged around 40 years to go from playing Ricky in the ’70s with a younger William (Jermel Nakia) to playing him as an older man in the present day, was awed by the transformation.

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“I told the makeup department that they’re aging me the same age as my father. He’s 76, so I showed them a picture of my dad, and they were like, ‘Oh, well, we gotta make you look like your dad.’ And it was so uncanny how they did it. I looked exactly like my father,” he explains. “It really was very emotional at times to look at myself in the mirror, because I would forget that I was 76. And it was really special that I got to pay some honor to my dad by looking exactly like him in the show. It was great.”

Sterling K. Brown as Randall and Ron Cephas Jones as William on This Is Us.
Sterling K. Brown as Randall and Ron Cephas Jones as William on ‘This Is Us.’ Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Henry, who admits his scenes were “lighthearted” compared to the tear-jerking scenes, found it to be “inspiring” to see his pals Brown and Jones act so well together.

“I’ve known Ron and Sterling for quite some years, and to watch them on this show and on this set, the development they made for these characters, it was really beautiful to watch them work together,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a relationship between father and son, especially an African American father and son, captured in such a way. I’ve never seen anything like that before, and they do it with such finesse that it’s so refreshing.”

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With Emmy buzz already surrounding the gut-wrenching episode, both actors have Henry in their corner.

“They deserve everything,” he says of Cephas and Brown, who won an Emmy last year for his role in The People vs. O.J. Simpson. “They deserve it all.”

This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET. 

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