So…how about that This Is Us twist? Or should we say twists? The fall finale of NBC’s hit family drama finally answered a mystery about the flashforward, while also dropping a present-day revelation about a character long-thought dead. Warning, spoilers ahead!
Let’s start in present day. No, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) isn’t secretly alive, but his brother Nicky is! Played by Will & Grace veteran Michael Angarano in the past and Griffin Dunne of Damages and House of Lies fame in the present, Nicky was revealed to be alive, living in Pennsylvania. Jack also said his brother died in the war. In the past scenes, a boat exploded in Vietnam leading Jack to believe his brother also went with it. But “The Beginning Is the End is the Beginning” changed all that.
Creator Dan Fogelman told EW everything will be explored when the show returns in January. “In terms of getting his brother back, there’s a story to come in the back half of the season, and we’ll see what that looks like and what that entails. But you can never have enough Pearson men, is what we say around here,” he said.
But did Jack know his brother was alive all this time? The writers are keeping mum.
“What I can say is that there’s a complicated story that’s going to be told very quickly when we come back on the air, and it’s a story about what happened between Nicky and Jack. It’s very complicated. There’s a lot more to be told and it’s coming very soon,” Fogelman told Deadline.
Some of those stories to be explored are, what really happened to Nicky, what has Jack been hiding and why, Fogelman said. “Psychologically it’s a big part of what we get into in the back half of the season pretty quickly,” Fogelman told EW. “Which is, not just what happened, not just where is and what happened to Nicky, but also, what was going on with Jack all of this time? What did Jack know — or not know? And then, the last component of it is: In the present day, as some stuff starts coming to light to their family, what is the reaction of family members who learn that something might have been kept from them for a very long time?”
As for “her,” it was revealed that Rebecca (Mandy Moore ) is the “her” in question in the flashforwards. Viewers saw an old lady Beth—who owns a dance school apparently!—as the family gathered to go see Rebecca.
But is Rebecca alive? She’d be in her 80s at that point.
“The only thing that is made clear at the end of this episode is that they’re going to see her. We certainly answered the question about who everyone was going to see, who everyone’s been talking about. Exactly what that looks like and what that is — it takes a lot more present-day story to fill in the gaps to understand the future,” Fogelman told EW.
However, don’t expect to find out the deal with Rebecca in the flashforwards immediately.
“In terms of where they’re going [to see her, in the future], and what’s going on there, I think other stories move forward and center, and some of those answers will spread out towards the end of this season and into the next ones. This is all part of very long, complex, complicated plan that we’ve really had since go,” Fogelman told Deadline. “It’s one of those situations where it’s not just been cooked up overnight; it’s part of the premise of this entire thing, so sometimes things get teased [in the future], but there are other answers being given in the present day that inform those things when you get to them. So a certain amount of things need to happen before you get there, to fully understand it.”
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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