After the faulty slow cooker ignited the house fire, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) sprung into action, securing Rebecca (Mandy Moore), teen Randall (Niles Fitch) and teen Kate (Hannah Zeile) from harm. Jack even went back in for the dog and secured some key family memories too, but it proved too much. All the smoke inhalation caught up with them and he suffered a widow-maker heart attack at the hospital while Rebecca retrieved them a snack. What followed was Mandy Moore's Emmy-worthy performance, you can see that above.
"Jack is a man of action, meaning if his kids are dealing with something, his wife is dealing with something, he dives right in. He acts off of heart, he acts off of instinct. And so the moment we see Jack standing in front of this wall of flames is definitely a moment Jack jumps right into action," Ventimiglia said in behind-the-scenes video. "There's no time to. Think, the fire doesn't think, the fire just moves."
The plan was for Jack to always be dead, but executive producers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa said they thought the big reveal would come later. "We always knew he was going to be dead, but we always also knew that we were never going to reveal when. We thought maybe we could extend it over multiple seasons, which is what ended up happening, but I remember thinking ‘Oh this is going to be great, because we can do in episodes where he think he's going to die, and he doesn't,'" Ficarra said.
Viewers have known Kate (Chrissy Metz) blames herself for Jack's death because he went back in for the dog.
"I know a lot of people, particularly even Kate, really feel that Jack went back in for the dog. 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, the collected pieces, that Jack ultimately brings out of the house."
After the house fire was revealed as the cause of Jack's death, many assumed Jack would perish helping everyone out. Moore said, "I think people are so expecting his death and the circumstances around it to be so cinematic when in reality it's so ordinary. Jack and Rebecca have this very ordinary conversation about blaming one another for forgetting batteries for the smoke detector and the last thing her husband says to her alive is, ‘You're standing in front of the TV'…Like, there's no impassioned speech about how much they mean to one another, it's so ordinary and that makes it 100 times sadder that that's their last exchange."
The scene where Moore's Rebecca sees Jack's body is the first take the show did. She did not know Ventimiglia had stuck around. "I didn't know he was going to be there, so it was all the more jarring and upsetting and just indescribably sad. All of it felt so otherworldly 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 more in the This Is Us after show above.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.
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