Culture


It happened. The This Is Us Super Bowl episode came and went, and it proved to be what everyone expected: upsetting, overwhelming, and quietly beautiful.

Right after the evening’s shocking episode, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore sat down with NBC for the This Is Us Aftershow, where the two discussed the details surrounding the night’s more emotional scenes.

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For Moore, this was the episode where we saw her character learn Jack (played by Ventimiglia) had died, all due to a heart attack caused by smoke inhalation. In the scene itself, you see Moore approach the hospital room, convinced the doctor who told her Jack had died is wrong, only to watch her face fall as she sees Jack’s body through the window.

“No one told me that Milo had stuck around,” Moore explains in the aftershow. “We had shot all of our other scenes there at the hospital together, but no one had told me he had stuck around, so I had no idea. And apparently that was the first take that they used, when I see him, when I see his body. And I didn’t know he was going to be there. So it was all the more jarring and upsetting and just indescribably sad.”

Ventimiglia also goes on to talk about the terrifying moment when his character goes back inside the family’s burning house to save his daughter’s dog and returns with a pillowcase full of their most treasured items. It’s assumed that this prolonged time in the smoke is what caused Jack’s heart attack. “I know a lot of people, particularly Kate, feel that Jack went back in for the dog,” Ventimiglia said. “I think it was more than that. This home, what this home represents to this family is much larger than just the space they inhabit. It’s the memories, it’s the things, it’s the collected pieces that Jack ultimately brings out of the house.”

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Moore then explained why she thought the scenes in the hospital were particularly sad and why it was difficult for her to film the episode: “I think people were so expecting his death and the circumstances around it to be so cinematic, when in reality, it’s really ordinary… There’s no impassioned speech about how much they mean to one other. It’s so ordinary and that makes it one hundred times sadder that that’s their last exchange… All of it felt so other worldly to shoot… because we’ve built the lives of these characters together for two years… When it came down to really doing it, it was hard to let go.”

Watch the entire aftershow special, here.



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