While This Is Us may seem like a family drama, twists and turns that could rival any science fiction or fantasy series have been built into the series from the start — particularly when it comes to Jack Pearson's mysterious death. In an interview with Bustle, Milo Ventimiglia talked This Is Us Season 2 at the "We Are Timex" event that he hosted for the Fall/Winter 2017 Collection. Ventimiglia previewed how the new season of the NBC series will make us feel — and, spoiler alert, things aren't getting any happier.
Should we emotionally prepare for more laughter or more crying in Season 2? "Everything" says Ventimiglia. "Prepare for more life. You will cry, you will laugh — but the good news is, I think everybody can agree, they’re tears that don’t leave you despondent. They actually fill you up." Sad things may happen to the Pearson family, but there's a lot of joy on This Is Us as well, and even the tragedy is told from a place of love and caring rather than apathy or pessimism.
"That was always something I appreciated about the writing," Ventimiglia says. "You’re feeling an emotion but you’re not broken by it. You feel like you want to go and share the experience with your family, your friends, things like that, and, I don’t know, have a good cry."
He says that, with regards to Jack theories, "No one’s gotten it right yet," but also admits that he hasn't read that much speculation and doesn't have a favorite theory. "I’ve heard a bunch of them but I haven't really paid too much attention," he says, "because I know what happened."
Just the fact that folks are so invested in this mystery is proof that "people were responding to the stories that we were telling" says Ventimiglia. "It also meant that we were on the right track," he adds.
That said, he did offer some theory detective advice to the audience. "I think what people should do in watching the first part of this season is pay attention," Ventimiglia says. "Pay attention to the clues and the things that are happening to understand a little more of how this happened, why this happened, when this happened."
In the grander scheme of things, there's probably more to Jack's death than just a cause — don't you think? The circumstances are just as interesting and worth investigating.
This season will also explore more of who Jack is and how he got to be the way that he is. "Dan Fogelman created [a style of storytelling] that really makes you invest in who these people are," the actor says, "who the Pearsons are, who their extensions are. But now that we know them, now we get to go a little deeper."
Just because the patriarch is dead in the present day timeline doesn't mean that the character is going anywhere. We'll see plenty more of Jack in Season 2, and learn more about him as well. "Jack is a good man," says Ventimiglia. "Why is he a good man? We get to see the things that impacted him that made him this great father and great husband."
The Season 2 premiere is titled "A Father's Advice," which should already give you the feels. Do you think you'll be able to figure out how Jack dies before it is ultimately revealed? The show has shocked audiences so many times that we shouldn't really bet on anything. And, maybe everyone will be too busy hugging their loved ones or getting caught up in the emotional storytelling to take pause for any kind of clue gathering — but try to spot them through your tears, because Ventimiglia's advice should be taken to heart.
Additional reporting by Samantha Rullo.