Milo Ventimiglia said we’d meet his This is Us character, Jack Pearson, in the present day, but we didn’t think he meant it this way. The fifth episode of the NBC drama confirmed that Ventimiglia’s character is dead when his daughter Kate (Chrissy Metz) introduced her boyfriend Toby (Chris Sullivan) to her father’s ashes, which she keeps in an urn in her home.
While fans prepared for the fact that Milo’s character was dead, the revelation was still a game changer for fans of the show who had hoped for a happy ending for Jack and his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore).
“The thing that I keep saying to people is: We are going to meet Jack in the present day,” Ventimiglia told Entertainment Weekly ahead of Episode 5, “The Game Plan.”
“That’s been the biggest question: ‘Where’s Jack?’ At the same time, I think there’s a bigger discovery of the connection of a family, and what that particularly means. What that means before us, what that means after us.”
Now that the fate of the Pearson patriarch has been revealed, Milo Ventimiglia says he feels a sense of relief that he no longer has to keep the secret.
“I guess there is a bit of relief, but it’s also knowing that I’m never going to be with my kids in the present day,” Milo told EW.
“It’s a little bittersweet. I think it’s great that everybody understands where Jack is and what it means, but at the same time, I personally think about, ‘Well, that means that Jack isn’t around his kids in the present day. When did that happen? When did he pass? At what point did his lessons to those kids stop? Do they take him as just a memory?'”
The This is Us stars knew Jack’s fate early on, as a line about his passing was scrapped in the pilot, but that doesn’t mean “The Game Plan” episode was easy for them to swallow. Milo Ventimiglia gave the episode a “five tissue boxes” rating. Milo Ventimiglia also urged people “not worry too much about how and when” and just accept that the character has limited time, and “know that every moment he has with his kids, with his wife, is going to be the most important thing to him.”
“I think [show creator Dan Fogelman] absolutely hit the mark with where Jack ultimately does meet his end,” Ventimiglia said. “I think what we’re doing now, though, is again understanding the lesson that it’s a ticking clock for Jack. You know that he’s already passed, and I think people are going to be interested in seeing the moment where he actually dies.”
Still, Ventimiglia urged fans to try not to speculate on when and how his character meets his maker because the story will unfold on Fogelman’s timeline.
“There’s going to be all kinds of theories about when it actually happened and I know everybody’s talking about 2006,” Milo told Entertainment Tonight. “You know what? Don’t worry about it! All you have to know is Jack is not around in the present day and wherever he is, he is on Kate’s mantle wearing a Steelers hat.”
Milo added that he would rather think about how his character must have been as a father to impact his three kids to where they’re “still talking about him regularly in the present day or possibly how great he’d been as a husband to where Rebecca’s still wearing the necklace he gave her.”
Ventimiglia also teased that while he isn’t physically with his family in the present day, his character did age a bit before his demise. In other words, at some point, we’ll see Milo Ventimiglia in prosthetic makeup as an older version of Jack Pearson.
Sadly, Milo Ventimiglia’s character wasn’t the only person killed off in “The Game Plan.” The future death of William (Ron Cephas Jones) was also shown, so This is Us fans know they’re in for a rollercoaster of a ride as this time-traveling show takes us through the rest of the first season.
Following the show’s gut-wrenching fifth episode, This is Us stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, and Chrissy Metz hit social media to give a shout-out to co-star Justin Hartley, who closed out the episode with a poignant statement about life and death.
Le sigh, @justinhartley, Le sigh. What beautiful work!— Chrissy Metz (@ChrissyMetz) October 26, 2016
I can't begin to tell you what this episode has done to me #ThisIsUs— Chrissy Metz (@ChrissyMetz) October 26, 2016
Really proud of this show. Happy you all finally get to watch this episode.— Justin Hartley (@justinhartley) October 26, 2016
Hope you're okay, East Coast. What an incredible job by entire cast tonight. Love painting with you guys. #thisisus— Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) October 26, 2016
Take a look at the game-changing This is Us scene below.
You can see Milo Ventimiglia on This is Us Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
[Featured Image by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for GLSEN]