The This Is Us creator has been threatening since basically Season 1 that he was going to make us fall in love with Miguel, and now it seems the time has come. In the Oct. 23 episode, viewers got to see Miguel and Rebecca's backstory on This Is Us, and it's so much more complicated than you'd have thought. Miguel didn't just swoop in and steal his dead best friend's vulnerable widow. Actually, it was Jack who asked Miguel to take care of his family if something ever happened to him. And that's exactly what Miguel started doing in the time the followed Jack's tragic death.
Rebecca and Miguel's romance didn't start as that. It started as her, grieving and trying to take care of her three grieving kids, and being super super overwhelmed. That's when Miguel stepped in, having once promised a half-joking Jack that Miguel would look out for Rebecca and the kids if Jack ever died. So Miguel brought Kate a piano to try to get her back into music. He took care of a too-drunk Kevin. He tried to connect with Randall about feeling different. And he fixed Rebecca's fridge. He wasn't trying to replace Jack, he was just trying to make sure the Pearson family didn't sink. You know Jack would respect him for that.
This Season 3 arc for Miguel is part of creator Dan Fogelman's attempt to get audiences on Miguel's side once and for all. "You’re seeing the beginning of a storyline where Miguel starts trying to help this family along," Fogelman said to Deadline. "We’re going to dive deeper into that this season and begin this long play of making people actually start rooting for Miguel in a serious way ... which I think will be really exciting when we pull it off."
Jon Huertas, who plays Miguel, told People magazine that Fogelman once conveyed to him that "get people to love Miguel" was one of the writers' goals. "I’m really excited," Huertas said of the potential for fans to not hate his character so much anymore. Even Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack, wants fans to climb onto the pro-Miguel train. "You shouldn't be mad at Miguel," the actor said on the Today show. "He will earn [your love]."
Jack's now told fans twice — as an actor and as a character — that Miguel is not the bad guy here. He's just someone who is also heartbroken about Jack's death and trying to honor his memory in the best way possible by looking out for the people Jack loved.
But if you're still looking for a reason to hate Miguel, I have one for you. In Season 2, we learned that Miguel and Rebecca reconnected on Facebook in 2008 — meaning they didn't start their romance right out of the gate post-Jack's death. Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca, told Entertainment Weekly that this meant fans should stop finally hating Miguel. "Can the world like him now? I feel like this is a clear indication that the world can slowly start to embrace Miguel," she said.
But, since Miguel asked Rebecca what she'd been up to for the last eight years, that means they'd lost touch in 2000 — two years after Jack's death in 1998. If he promised to take care of Rebecca and the kids, why did Miguel fall off the map for nearly a decade just two years after Jack's passing?
Sorry, Fogelman. It's not going to be that easy to get us fans on Team Miguel. But we'll wait to see what backstory explanations you give next. After all, nothing is ever as it seems on This Is Us, and fans will just have to see if the rest of Season 3 will give Miguel the redemption that the cast has been looking for since Season 1.