Warning: “This Is Us” spoilers below.
“This Is Us” has captivated TV viewers since its premiere, debuting to rave reviews and great ratings. But there’s one thing fans have been waiting for all season long: the truth about Jack Pearson’s unknown death.
Will we finally learn what happened to Milo Ventimiglia’s beloved character on the season finale?
During a recent Build Series interview with The Huffington Post, Ventimiglia advised fans to make a tissue run before March 14.
“Get ready,” he said of the Season 1 finale. “Get yourself a watching buddy, get some food, which you probably won’t eat. I don’t know, maybe you want a warm blanket or a puppy. Kleenex, probably mandatory. And yeah, get ready, it’s going to be a little stressful.”
Ventimiglia said that although “we all know something has happened to Jack,” Papa Pearson will remain on the show for the foreseeable future.
“Dan Fogelman, our creator, said to me that no matter what, even though Jack is dead in the present day, that I’m not going anywhere,” he explained. “I think the idea that Fogelman really wanted to do was open up the story so that the characters you guys grow to love have a life beyond actual life. Even though when you do find out how and when and why Jack died, it doesn’t mean that the character is gone or I’m gone, its just you shift direction and tell a different story. He equates it to having a family album ― you open up to a random page and you just start telling a story based on that photo.”
Ahead of the finale, Jack and his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), have been facing some ups and downs. After Rebecca reveals her plans to go out on the road to tour with her band ― and her ex Ben ― Jack gets discouraged and seemingly heads down a darker path.
“Jack loves his wife and loves his kids, it’s very simple. Those two things are his life ... Those two things are two screws holding him together ― [if] one gets loose or one falls out or one just kind of goes away, his life would start to unravel,” Ventimiglia shared. “They’re a real-life couple. Sure, they’re romantic and they have a storybook romance and life together, but they’re human. They’re flawed. They can break.”
Jack’s drinking will also become a problem, Ventimiglia said, if he lets it affect his family unit.
“It’s not that he’s a bad man when he’s drinking ― he’s not abusive, he’s not verbal ― he’s just not quite present. And I think when you really plug that into the cracks that are starting to form with Jack and Rebecca, that’s just going to make it worse.”
At the end of Episode 17, “What Now?,” we see a seemingly inebriated Jack get into his car and drive off after watching a present-day Kate (Chrissy Metz) tell Toby (Chris Sullivan), “It’s my fault. I’m the reason that he’s dead.”
Fogelman told Variety in a cover story this week that the finale is “definitely the darkest place we’ve been.”
“There is a scene with Milo and Mandy that I have not seen on television,” he said. “I think it’s going to rock people.”
Mandy Moore agreed.
“We’re going to destroy America by the end of the season,” she said. “As if they don’t have enough to be upset about at this point in time anyway. But they’re going to be upset for a completely different set of reasons.”
Despite what happens in the final episode, Ventimiglia feels so lucky to be a part of a show that reaches a large demographic of people and equates the success of “This Is Us” to the fact that it mirrors real families and their personal situations.
“It’s a show that’s built for everyone,” he said, “and then it’s also available to everyone, you know, if you have a TV and bunny ears. It’s very important to me to make sure I show up, I’m present, and I do the best possible job with Jack I can. Just make him a real man.”
Watch the full Build Series interview with Milo Ventimiglia below. The “This Is Us” finale airs Tuesday, March 14, at 9 p.m. on NBC.