This Is Us fans witnessed beloved father Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death on Super Bowl Sunday, but the heartbreak is far from over.
During the gut-wrenching episode, viewers learned that Jack survived the family’s house fire only to die hours later from a heart attack caused by smoke inhalation. While the scenes are difficult to accept, actress Mandy Moore, who played Rebecca Pearson, said she is “tremendously relieved” now that the events have finally played out.
“Milo and I, for one, have known since the very beginning — not all of the specifics around how he passes away, but it’s just nice to sort of pop that bubble a little bit,” she said during an interview on Today on Monday. “Now we can move forward with the show and answer more pressing questions, as well.”
Moore said she and the This Is Us cast understand the pain fans are feeling as they also found themselves sobbing while watching the episode together at creator Dan Fogelman’s house last week.
“None of us could speak afterwards. We were sort of speechless,” she said. “And then we were recounting some of our favorite parts of the episode and favorite lines, and we would all start crying again. So it affects us, too. Pretty much all of the episodes affect all of us. We all cry!”
Unfortunately, Moore said Tuesday’s follow-up episode will be just as emotional, if not more: “I dare say, it’s even more heartbreaking.”
Aside from the tears, though, the actress praised the way the NBC drama has found a way to connect so deeply with its audience.
“It’s incredible,” Moore said. “All of us were at the Super Bowl [Sunday] before the episode, here in Minneapolis, and just meeting people, everywhere we went, that were just as excited about the show or to talk about the show as they were about the game — it’s pretty mind-blowing to feel people’s direct connection to this family.”
“They always want to have in depth conversations with you, as well,” she added. “They don’t want to just sort of give a compliment in passing, they want to really connect with you and talk about what draws them in, and what family member reminds them of what character on the show — it’s really just remarkable.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.