The Old Jack Scene In The 'This Is Us' Season 2 Finale Had Viewers Everywhere Sobbing
This Is Us Season 2 finale spoilers ahead. When it comes to Jack Pearson, there are a lot of "should haves." He should have seen his kids grow up, offering them his signature fatherly life lessons as they soldier on through life. He should have been able to meet his grandkids, and maybe bond with Randall's birth father over a cup of morning coffee. He should have been able to hold Kate's arm as he walked her down the aisle at her wedding. And, perhaps most importantly, he should have been able to spend his golden years with Rebecca. So when Old Jack and Rebecca renewed their vows on This Is Us, we as viewers were thrown into all kinds of feelings.
We knew it was coming — promos for the season finale showed a glimpse of a brand new Jack Pearson, complete with wrinkles, smile lines and grey hair, exactly as you imagined he might look had he been given the opportunity to grow old. Rumors about what he was doing there had swirled for days, but seeing it all play out on Kate's wedding day was something no one could have prepared for. Not only did Jack appear in the show — he lingered throughout as an old man, renewing his vows with Rebecca in Kate's dream sequences peppered into Kate's real-life wedding day.
While this miraculous present-day appearance might hint that it's something viewers can expect as the series continues, it doesn't seem like that's the case according to Milo Ventimiglia — at least not as things stand right now. "I feel like that's maybe a one-time thing. It's only once in your life, like a particular blooming flower," he told Entertainment Tonight of Old Jack's appearance. That makes sense, too, given the fact that we later found out these sequences were parts of dreams Kate had been having of her parents in the weeks leading up to her wedding. Though it surely won't be the last time any of the Pearsons dream about Jack or picture him as the grandfatherly figure that might have been, this seemed like an emotional plot point that the show wouldn't casually throw into episodes for the sake of doing so.
Even if it was just a one-time deal, the experience gave Ventimiglia a first-hand look at how involved the aging process is in the makeup trailer — those of us who are devoted followers of Moore's Instagram stories have gotten an up close view at the elaborate cosmetic techniques that transform her into a 60-something, and it's only fair that Ventimiglia would have to go through that one day, too. "It's a lot, but you can't help but feel like you're in your 70ish years when you're in it," he told ET of the makeup process. "We were in between scenes and I was talking to someone and how [I was] standing, I couldn't get out of 70-year-old Jack."
Ventimiglia also said that he thinks it's important that the pasts, presents, and futures of all the characters on This Is Us are investigated, whether or not they actually are still around. "[Creator Dan] Fogelman's intention was always to jump into the future and that was something we all knew going in. When we saw them jump into adult Tess and older Randall, that was where he always wanted to go," he said in the same interview. "I don't know if the show always lives there, but I think understanding that we do exist in the past, it makes sense that we'd exist in the future as well."
And that makes sense in the scheme of This Is Us — viewers are reminded every single week how even people like Jack and William who have passed away still have a knack for affecting the realities of the people who loved them. Even Jack himself had a similar figure in his brother, influencing his life even after he apparently had been killed in Vietnam. Fans can take some solace in the fact that these strands will continue to be explored, and even if they can't expect Grandpa Jack back on their screens anytime soon, his spirit carried heavily through Kate's wedding, and isn't going anywhere as long as the Pearsons have anything to say about it.