(NBC) — Tuesday’s new episode of “This Is Us” puts the focus squarely on the show’s patriarch, Jack Pearson.

Star Milo Ventimiglia’s character has to cope with the sudden loss of his mother, an emotionally taxing episode for the actor.

“I have not lost a parent, but through the imagination of what we do as actors, the experience was very real,” said Ventimiglia. “It was very painful.”

The episode focuses on Jack’s solo journey home after his mother Marilyn’s passing.

“It was a heavy lift,” explained Ventimiglia. “It was a lot. Jack is not an emotional man. He’s a man of a certain era. So, to have to tap into a lot of that, thank God for Mandy Moore.”

The pivotal storyline was put in motion during the final moments of last week’s episode.

“I intentionally didn’t see my parents for the ten days when I was doing that episode,” revealed Ventimiglia. “And I remember having a meal with them, and I just watched my mom. I get emotional now just thinking about it.”

With the show’s final season building to the loss of the Pearson family matriarch, the episode carries similar devastation for Jack.

“To do it, really live through it as a performer, was satisfying as a performer, but terribly heartbreaking to experience,” Ventimiglia said.

“This Is Us” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m., right after new episodes of “American Auto” and “Grand Crew.”

About “This Is Us”

Everyone has a family. And every family has a story.

“This Is Us” chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their kids (the big three), Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day along with Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).

This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.