(WCMH) – Sunday’s episode of This is Us started out hard, and only got harder as it went along.
The episode started out with the house fire, an event that many believed going in would kill Jack.
“Jack is a man of action. Meaning, if his kids are dealing with something, his wife is dealing with something, he dives right in. He acts off heart, he acts off instinct,” Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack said. “The moment when we see Jack standing in front of this wall of flames, is definitely a moment where Jack jumps right into action.”
“There’s no time to think. Fire doesn’t think, the fire just moves.”
Jack quickly springs into action, getting his family to safety.
“Jack’s immediate response of course, is wake Rebecca up, get the kids up, make sure Kevin is out of the house.” Ventimiglia said. “Until everyone is safely on the sidewalk. That is the goal.”
“And then there’s also the moment where Jack goes back into the house, because you can’t leave anyone behind, or anything.”
“Here’s this family who’s just been through probably the most devastating, stressful experience that anybody could think to live through. And they feel like they’ve come through unscathed,” said Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca. “She feels such a tremendous semblance of relief, that they’re out of the woods, that it’s the furthest thing from her mind.”
But, they weren’t out of the woods. Jack dies from a sudden heart attack while at the hospital.
“We really love this episode, because this episode in many ways is the culmination of those conversations that we had with Dan while shooting the pilot,” said Executive Producer/Director John Requa. “This is sort of the last bit of those conversations.”
“We always knew he was going to be dead. But we always also knew that we were never going to reveal when,” said Executive Producer/Director Glenn Ficarra. “We thought we could extend it over multiple seasons, which is what ended up happening. But, I remember thinking, ‘Oh this gonna be great,’ because we could do things in episodes where we think he’s going to die, and he doesn’t.”
“I think people were so expecting his death and the circumstances around it to be so cinematic,” said Mandy Moore. “When in reality, it’s really ordinary.”
“The last thing her husband says to her alive is like ‘You’re standing in front of the TV.’ And they have this cute little exchange where I stick my tongue at him, and that’s it,” said Moore. “There’s no impassioned speech about how much they mean to one another. Like, it’s so ordinary. That makes it 100 times sadder that that’s their last exchange.”
“The idea that Jack’s presence is still felt, that there are these little reminders that Rebecca picks up on every year following his death,” “Reminds her that he’s still there. He’s always with her. He’s always gonna be with her.”