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Deja and Malik’s Relationship Is Headed for Trouble

This Is Us Season 6, Episode 2, “One Giant Leap” shows Malik and Deja’s relationship closer than ever, but some red flags raise some concerns.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for This Is Us Season 6, Episode 2, “One Giant Leap,” which aired Tuesday January 11th on NBC.

Deja and Malik get major screen time in the This Is Us Season 6, Episode 2, “One Giant Leap” as they take a giant step forward in their relationship. Malik has moved to Boston so that he can attend Harvard. Meanwhile, Deja lies to her parents — not her adopted sister Tess — about going to a sleepover at a friend’s house and instead gets on a bus and travels to visit Malik for the first time since he moved away. While their relationship seems stronger than ever during the episode, there are also a few red flags that pop up which could spell trouble for the young couple in love.

When Deja arrives at the bus station, Malik and his daughter, Janelle, are there to pick her up and take her back to Malik’s humble apartment. When they arrive, they meet up with red flag number one. Jennifer — Malik’s ex and Janelle’s mother, who is waiting to pick up Janelle and take her, so Malik and Deja have some time to themselves. Jennifer is polite to Deja, but she and Malik have serious hostile tension and their relationship is strained.

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However, Jennifer is always going to be around because she is Janelle’s mother, and Malik is a very dedicated father. If push comes to shove, Malik will always choose Janelle first. While Deja loves Malik and Janelle, there is potential for their relationship with Jennifer to cause friction in Deja’s relationship with them. The cracks are already starting to show when Malik explains how difficult it is finding balancing school, work and fatherhood. Deja fixed it this time by sacrificing two hours of their trip so he could work on a paper, but in the future, the solutions may not be quite so simple.

this is us season 6 episode 2 deja

Another red flag is that Deja lied about visiting Malik. She told Randall and Beth she was going to a sleepover with her friend Tiffany. It seems like a small detail, something all teenagers do, but likely there will be consequences to this behavior. Deja doesn’t lie only once, but at least twice. While on the bus riding home from Boston, Randall texts her to check in about her sleepover. She lies by omission, telling him she had a life changing time, which she technically did that night with Malik, but that’s not what Randall was asking about.

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The tension with Jennifer and the lying to Randall and Beth are big red flags for Deja and Malik’s relationship. While in this episode they seem stronger and closer than ever, the threat of the outside world interfering with their relationship seems inevitable. There is only so long these two young people can live in a bubble of just the two of them before they have to face the consequences of their actions, and their responsibilities to other people.

It is nice to see Deja and Malik so happy and seeing Deja start to become the woman she is going to be when we finally catch up with the flashforward. However, there is still likely a difficult road ahead for her and Malik as a couple, and he is yet to be seen in those flashforwards, should he show up in them at all. Audiences are probably happy that Deja at least had one perfect trip before things get too difficult for her and Malik.

Created by Dan Fogelman, This Is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Chris Sullivan and Susan Kelechi Watson. New episodes air Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT on NBC.

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