Major spoilers ahead for the Super Bowl episode of This Is Us (series writing: Kay Oyegun). The long awaited TV moment has finally arrived, and viewers certainly aren't the only ones affected by this heartbreak. The cast of This Is Us reacted to Jack's death on Twitter and social media to join the ranks of heartbroken viewers on Tuesday night. A long and winding road has brought us here, and the cast has been along for the ride almost as much as us fans have. Even though they've been much more in on the secrets than us, they're certainly no less affected by it, and perhaps even more so, because they're right in the thick of it in the moment.
The cast has been trying to warn us, too. Mandy Moore's Instagram story is frequently filled with weepy video of her after she comes away from a particularly emotional scene, and that's no surprise — especially with episodes like tonight's. Despite the emotional turmoil it likely puts these actors through, they get the job done, and they do it with purpose.
“[Jack's death is] certainly gonna be heavy, but I’m excited to just continue watching this story unfold because clearly, an unbelievably traumatic event like that has consequences and ramifications for the rest of their lives, the lives of these characters and ultimately the choices that they make down the road, so I think that it’s important to answer those questions now," Moore told Us Weekly earlier in the season.
Throughout the episode and after the credits began to roll, the This Is Us cast shared their thoughts on the episode, and it was clearly just as emotionally taxing for them as it was for all of us. Many of them applauded Mandy Moore's stunning performance, as well as expressing their excitement and sadness provoked by other aspects of the episode.
Sterling K. Brown Had A Lot To Say
He loves to live tweet.
Mandy Moore & Chrissy Metz Felt Heartbroken, Too
Justin Hartley Twisted The Knife
Milo Ventimiglia himself also had some words of comfort after his character's death, showing that in addition to an incredible actor, he's also truly all of our dads.
The show's creator, Dan Fogelman, kept fans on their toes all day ahead of the post-Super Bowl episode by tweeting cheeky jokes throughout the game and offering some real insight on the story of Jack's death.
Other stars like Chris Sullivan (Toby) and Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth) teased the episode too, sharing sad GIFs and saying that viewers "weren't ready," and yeah, they were spot on.
It's been a long time coming, with the show dropping clue after clue for the past two seasons, hinting at what factors could play into Jack's death. While not all of them were hard hitters, they certainly all told a piece of the story relating to the timeline. Randall's girlfriend, Allison, Kate's dog, and Kevin's cast were all early clues given to audiences, so every time one of them showed up onscreen, all of our stomachs tightened. The anticipation was so ramped up that the heartbreak was bound to be severe, and the charm with which Ventimiglia plays this part certainly doesn't make it any easier. He has become America's dad, and nobody wants to say goodbye to family.
"I saw the same heart in Jack that was in my father. He was a man who was passionate about his family, wanting to give to them, not just roof and clothes, but give them lessons to be learned for our success,' Ventimiglia told Deadline. "My father was in the printing business, grew up in Chicago, went into service in Vietnam, and coached little league teams. Every Friday night, he was always around and present."
Ugh. Ventimiglia brings such a love to Jack's character that we'll all be happy to know that even though this moment has passed, he's going to be sticking around. "Going into this show I knew that my character was always going to be past and I was OK with it,” Ventimiglia told Entertainment Tonight in 2016. "Dan Fogelman, our creator, he was like, 'Milo, you're not going anywhere.' I'm like, OK, great!'"
We've got some closure in that we finally know what Jack's final moments were like, but there's still plenty more to explore in the gut-wrenching aftermath. This Is Us hasn't failed its viewers yet, and the cast is going to be along for the ride as long as it takes.