This Is Us takes us a world away and decades into the past, for what Milo Ventimiglia calls “the first real journey” into the Vietnam days for Jack.
But the new episode also includes a disturbing look at Jack’s childhood with an abusive father, challenging Venitmiglia into, “Playing that against other things that are happening in his life or have happened. It’s a challenge because, war is such an excessive, horrible circumstance.”
The Vietnam storyline begins a sobering look at the turbulent 70s, through the eyes of young men who are sent to the front line by the chance draw of a birthdate lottery.
Ventimiglia’s own father is a veteran.
“I was trying to put a little bit of what I heard from my father, of his experience, his view on the war. It kind of runs parallel to what Jack experiences,” said Ventimiglia.
But the episode leaves questions unanswered. How did Jack’s father turn from a caring man into a drunken abuser? What happened to Jack’s younger brother during his time at war? And, how did Jack resist the cycle of alcohol and abuse? It’s an all new and promising story, that Ventimiglia is eager to share.
“How Jack was raised, and the household he was raised in, I think is one of those important reminders that we don’t have to become parts of our history that we don’t like. I think Jack loves his kids more because maybe he didn’t quite feel that from his family. But also, I feel like that’s who Jack is. He had to defend himself, defend his mom and his brother and everybody. But, really, just who Jack is, he’s a very loving, caring man,” said Ventimiglia.