This Is Us will air a special episode in NBC’s coveted post-Super Bowl slot, and it sounds like the losers of the big game won’t be the only ones crying. At NBC Universal’s TCA panel, network chairman Robert Greenblatt revealed that This Is Us will deliver a major tearjerker for the show’s special Super Bowl episode.
“It’s going to be an extraordinary and… very emotional episode of television.” Greenblatt told TV Line.
While the post-game slot will undoubtedly score This Is Us some new viewers, Greenblatt revealed it won’t be a standalone episode.
“It’s going to be the next episode of the show,” he confirmed. “But there will be a lot of new fans who have never seen it before, and they’ll have no trouble dropping in.”
The NBC exec went on to explain that This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman wants post-Super Bowl viewers to be able to come into the show without wondering what is going on. But he also wants the episode to “pay off things for the [existing] fans.”
There is no word if the episode set to air on Super Bowl Sunday will be Super Bowl themed, but This Is Us fans know that football—and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in particular—has been an integral part of the Pearson family’s connection. The This Is Us pilot featured Rebecca (Mandy Moore) giving her husband Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) a “Terrible Towel,” the rally towel long associated with the Steelers.
A few episodes later, viewers found out that Rebecca and Jack bonded over football after he taught her the rules of the game, and that the couple’s triplets were conceived the night that the Steelers won Super Bowl XIV in 1980. Teen Pearson sons Kevin and Randall (Logan Shroyer, Niles Fitch) both played football in high school—for rival schools.
In addition, Kate (Chrissy Metz) later explained her ritual of watching the Steelers on TV with her late father’s ashes by her side. In fact, that episode, “The Game Plan,” was the first time This Is Us viewers found out that Jack Pearson had died, a dreaded plotline that caught some fans off guard.
This Is Us showrunner Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly the episode was an important one for many reasons.
“Kate watches football and has a real ritual of watching the Steelers by herself — it’s something from her family and from her childhood that she likes to do,” Fogelman told EW. “Suddenly being in a real relationship means you can’t just hold Sundays to yourself anymore, and trying to let Toby (Chris Sullivan) into that relationship as she makes the next step forward.”
Fogelman also dished on the reaction he got at the end of the episode when Kate shows her new boyfriend, Toby, the urn holding her father’s ashes.
“The end of [the episode] — I’ve been pulling people into my office because I’m very proud of it, and people without context are crying so hard, it’s making me uncomfortable,” Fogelman revealed at the time. “It might be towards the highest level we’ve been at. I continue to be mystified by all the crying, but I’ve been showing people this episode and people are wailing.”
Wailing is part of the package when you sign up to watch This Is Us. Now, with an emotional Super Bowl episode looming, you might want to get some tissues to go along with your taco dip.
The This Is Us Super Bowl episode will air Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, immediately following the big game on NBC.
[Featured Image by John Salangsang/Invision/AP]