This Is Us delivered a powerful punch in the Season 2 premiere when it was revealed that the Pearson family home was ravaged in a house fire in the late 1990s. The revelation of the burned-out house strongly hinted that a fire was the cause of patriarch Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. Now, Milo Ventimiglia says This Is Us showrunner Dan Fogelman showed him the devastating reveal ahead of time so he could process it before it screened.
“It’s a painful moment,” Milo told the Hollywood Reporter of seeing the burned-down house.
“Everybody asks me how I personally feel about Jack’s death but I don’t know that there is a feeling other than sorrow for the rest of the Pearsons. It’s powerful and it’s only a piece of what happened to Jack, which still remains to be uncovered.”
While the Pearson house fire is only a “piece” of the puzzle surrounding Jack’s death, Ventimiglia admits it’s a relief that This is Us fans now know about it and he doesn’t have to keep that part of the storyline a secret anymore.
“I’m happy people have seen the burnt down house and that they know it has something to do with Jack’s death, but I’m still looking forward to that being completed at some point this season,” Milo told THR.
While the Pearson’s fire-ravaged house was shown at the end of the This Is Us Season 2 premiere, “A Father’s Advice,” the most recent episode of the hit NBC drama didn’t address the fire at all. Instead, much of the subsequent “A Manny-Splendored Thing” episode was a flashback to the 1980s and showed Jack Pearson dealing with his alcoholism. This Is Us viewers found out that Jack beat his alcohol problem by focusing on his family and taking out his frustrations on a boxing bag at the gym. Since the house fire happened in the late 1990s, some fans wonder if Jack’s alcohol relapse could have something to do with his death—or the fire. But Fogelman isn’t talking.
“As people have theorized that his problems with alcohol might have contributed to something that happened with the fire, I think by the time we get to the fire, people will know whether or not that was right, but I can’t say right now,” the This Is Us showrunner told Entertainment Weekly.
Still, viewers can expect a “slow build” as the mystery of the fire and Jack’s death storyline play out throughout Season 2.
“In terms of the Jack story line, this season is very much focused on how we get to what happened at the end of episode 1 — that fire,” the This Is Us showrunner added. “How did Jack die? And how does he deal with his treatment of alcoholism and how does it affect his relationships with his family and the Rebecca. That’s the focus of the season.”
Milo Ventimiglia has long told This Is Us fans that his character’s death is a secondary storyline and that they should focus on the man that Jack Pearson was when he was alive.
Take a look at the video below to see Jack Pearson telling his teen daughter Kate (Hannah Zeile) about his drinking problem.
The next episode of This Is Us, titled “Highs and Lows,” airs Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
[Featured Image by Ron Batzdorff/NBC]