[Warning: This article contains This Is Us Season 1 finale spoilers]
The season finale of This Is Us proved to be as harrowing and heartrending as promised. It played on the fans’ expectations for a bit, making them think that the final episode will reveal the manner of Jack Pearson’s death. The episode, entitled “Moonshadow,” felt organic in such a way that it perfectly captured the struggles of a marriage festering with underlying issues that inevitably bubbled to the surface. This struggle culminated in an intense fight scene between Jack and Rebecca.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) March 15, 2017
This Is Us fans, who were advised by the stars themselves to bring tissues in preparation for the finale, saw Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) confront each other in what is now dubbed by many as one of the most heartbreaking and realistic couple fights on TV. The buildup to the fight started when Jack showed up drunk to Rebecca’s show and consequently spoiled the band’s tour. This led to a heated verbal exchange that ended with Rebecca asking Jack to leave their home the following morning. Both agreed that it’s probably for the best that they go their separate ways for a little while.
Despite This Is Us‘s depressing ending, viewers are left with the subtle impression that all is not lost between the two. Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore share the same sentiment, as has been revealed when The Hollywood Reporter asked for their perspectives on the season finale, particularly their thoughts and experiences in filming the fight scene.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) March 15, 2017
Ventimiglia and Moore talked at length about their preparation for the fight scene — how they spent a great deal of time talking about it and the intense rehearsals they had to undergo to get it right. Knowing that the season finale of This Is Us has so much more emotional gravity than previous episodes (Ventimiglia’s reaction after reading the script for Tuesday’s episode is very telling, as reported by Huffington Post), Milo and Mandy got into some method acting to better capture the depth of emotion the scene requires.
“We definitely spent a good amount of time talking about the scene, and then a little rehearsing of the scene. But when it came time to film the scene we both knew it wasn’t going to be the same day of work that we’d had in the past. It was a completely different day of work,” Ventimiglia said. “I picked my chair up out of the room that Mandy and I usually share and I walked out. When the cameras were up on shoulders and action was called we both came out swinging. I had to remove myself and go walk around the house to take in the memories of what Jack knows his home to be so that when it all came crashing down I could remember it all.”
“It was kind of torture,” Mandy said. “I love Milo and it’s not fun not sitting next to each other and asking each other questions. Our rapport is so easy and familiar and comfortable, so to have to keep ourselves apart from each another throughout this entire episode, the tension was palpable. The crew felt it and we felt it. Milo and I got together on a weekend and read through it a couple of times. And then got together again on set and read through it a couple of more times just to familiarize ourselves with it. And then the day before we actually shot it, we rehearsed it with our DP Yasu Tanida and with Ken Olin and the camera department and a couple of other department heads just so we could nail the choreography. Dan Fogelman was really adamant about shooting the entire scene in one take, which we did. It was really draining, and taxing and not particularly fun. It was like climbing a mountain but once that was off our plate the rest of the episode felt like smooth sailing.”
When asked if they have some words of comfort for Jack and Rebecca fans in preparation for the second season of This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore were both initially stumped for answers. Both actors eventually gave fans some reassuring words and left piercing insights about Jack and Rebecca’s relationship.
“Maybe they’ll want to go watch some repeats of happier times?” Ventimiglia said. “They’re a human couple. They’re a couple just like anyone else. They’re going to have their struggles and we’re now seeing the absolute toughest moments that they’re faced with. But if we learn anything from this show, it’s that there is light in a dark room. So take that in and hopefully we see them come together… With the ticking clock of Jack’s death.”
“I need some words of comfort, too!” Moore revealed. “Ultimately, I love that this show forces people to hold a mirror up to their own lives and the choices that they’ve made. I love that it really pushes that nostalgia button in a way; it’s the perfect note to end the season on. It gives people a lot of time to think and I don’t think the impact of what happens at the end diminishes in time. I don’t know what to say to comfort people… She wears her necklace! She still wears the moon necklace so that has to mean something, right?”
The second season of This Is Us is expected to debut in the fall.
What did you think of the season finale? Were you impressed by Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore’s respective performances? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]