Immediately after the first episode aired last September, This Is Us became the must-watch new show of the fall #TV schedule. The NBC drama follows the Pearson family spanning over multiple decades, jumping back and forth from past to present. There are twists, there are turns, and there is no shortage of heart-wrenching storytelling. The writing and star-studded cast gives the series a unique and raw take on familial relationships.
At the core we have Jack and Rebecca, played by #MiloVentimiglia and #MandyMoore, as they navigate life with their three children. Due to present-day storylines involving the kids being in their mid-thirties, viewers quickly learned that super-dad, Jack, had passed away at some point. We as viewers continued to get bits of pieces to a much larger puzzle explaining Jack's passing, but it turned into a hunt for answers and far-fetched theories from fans.
There were indications towards the end of the season hinting that the death involved drinking and driving, but that setup seemed too obvious. Due to the timeline we know that it happens sooner rather than later, with the kids being in their teens during the funeral revelation. Many expected that more details of Jack's death would be given in the season finale, and that was certainly not the case causing some disappointment. Maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but why do we as viewers need to know all the details this early in the series?
The structure of the show proves that little details have greater meaning in the long run. Think of it as the journey being more important than the destination. Knowing the how and the when will affect the way we see Jack's story going forward, and there are still at least two more confirmed seasons of that story to tell.
We had this image of Jack being the perfect father and husband, but the last few episodes unveiled some of his struggles. In the season finale, titled "Moonshadow," the audience saw dark moments in Jack's past during the 1970s, how meeting Rebecca saved him, and how their relationship hit a low point with a monumental fight. The petulant scene ended with Jack agreeing to move out so they can each "get some air," but now there is a bigger question: what is the state of their marriage moving forward?
Milo Ventimiglia understands the frustration the fans might have, but defended the show's creator, Dan Fogelman, and his decision to slow the story down, explaining to EW:
"I may have just shot myself in the foot teasing it out, and the audience not getting the answer that they were looking for. I’ll have to hold strong with that answer until Dan wants to tell that story. But I’ve been saying, and I feel very strongly about this lately: Everybody’s concerned with the death, how it happened, when it happened. I think people should be more concerned with his life. How did this man live his life? How did he embrace his family, even in disrepair? How did he fight for his family when it looked like things were broken and going away? 'How did this man live his life?' is more important than when he died, in my mind."
There is still so much to learn about the Pearson family, but focusing on Jack's death puts a hamper on those stories. There is already an eerie feeling hanging over the flashback scenes, knowing his inevitable fate. The larger details will only escalate that feeling, distracting from the life he still has left.
The truth will eventually be told, and I guarantee it will rip our hearts out, but maybe it is easier to let this wild tale unravel with time.