In what could be marked as one of the most unexpected endings for NBC’s This Is Us, the creator and stars of the series talked about Jack Pearson’s death being highlighted just moments before the end of the episode.
“You’ve seen a lot of pieces – this was always the plan for the Big Three,” Dan Fogelman, creator of the series said at a season 2 premiere party with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly. “We had talked about the fire and what happened from day 1 of starting. This has always been the plan. You’re seeing a lot of things that are going to reveal themselves over the course of the season…The writers have sat and analyzed every bit of minutiae. A lot of the little things are going to come into play over the course of this season. All the answers about how Jack died, it’s all going to happen this season.”
Mandy Moore, who plays the matriarch of the family, Rebecca Pearson, added, “We don’t know the full story. We’ll just say that. That’s just a big piece of the puzzle.
Her TV husband Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack Pearson, continued with, “A big piece. This helps. It’s like a pressure valve released a little bit. But as Dan has always said, ‘With this answer there’s still a lot of questions.’ I think people are going to have to pay attention over the course of the season, and each episode, and understand what our medium Big Three are experiencing and where they happen to be in the moments that are an influence to Jack’s death.”
This Is Us is known for pulling on our heart strings. The end of the season 2 premiere shows Rebecca Pearson going to get Jack and telling him to come home after their ugly fight. He gives her a huge speech that really deserved a standing ovation, but he ends up getting in the car.
In the next scene Rebecca is driving but the passenger seat is empty and two of their three kids, Randall and Kate in a living room crying in devastation. Kate then decides she should be the one to tell Kevin what happened.
After what looks like a time jump, Rebecca pulls up to the Pearson home that has now been destroyed by a fire. She can’t contain her emotions and has a breakdown in the car.
Fogelman said in the interview that Moore filmed Rebecca’s emotional moment in one take just a week and a half ago.
“Mandy came to set and they put her in the car and what you see is literally her first take. After all that planning, it was like 30 seconds and then we were done.”
Moore also pointed out “clues” like Kate having a dog in her lap, Randall having a girlfriend, and Kevin’s leg being broken.
“These are all things that I think people are going to see sort of the origin of in the next couple of episodes, leading up to figuring out a bigger piece of the puzzle.”
So, did Jack die in the fire?
Fogelman answered the question all of us want to know.
“Did he die in the fire? Did he get out of the fire? But we’re not misdirecting – he didn’t die four years later. Did he start the fire? Did Toby start the fire?...It was Miguel. Sully is still convinced it’s Miguel – he won’t give up on it.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Be sure to keep up with the latest.