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THIS IS US Casts Michael Angarano As Jack’s Brother

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When NBC’s This Is Us journeys to Vietnam in its upcoming season three, the drama will look back at Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) time during the war.

There, we will also meet his brother, Nicky to be played by Michael Angarano (I’m Dying Up Here and Will and Grace) ). Angarano is set to recur throughout the season, according to EW.com

In story, Nicky was killed under circumstances that are not known to viewers as of yet.

Viewers first saw Jack as young boy in the season 2 episode of “Brothers” and later when Jack looked a photo of himself with Nicky in Vietnam.

This Is Us will tell this back-story, as well as the present day story of Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley), and his new girlfriend Zoe, in Vietnam to find out more about his father’s wartime history.

So what do you think about Angarano as Ventimigilia’s on-screen brother? Comment below.

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Michael Angarano is a wonderful, likeable actor who’ll be a great addition to an already brilliant cast. I still remember his terrific work as a very young actor in the classic film ALMOST FAMOUS. This show is on fire right now and I hope the high quality continues.

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A good reason to take a look and learn more about this series. He also was memorable in the short-lived “Summerland.”

Recaps

THIS IS US: Goodbyes and Connections; Rebecca Passes Away in Penultimate Episode

Tuesday night’s penultimate episode of This Is Us, brought the long-anticipated moment in the lives of the Pearson family, when their mother, Rebecca (Mandy Moore, the matriarch, the heart and soul of the family, dies due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  And, if come Emmy time, after all of the performances she gave this season, Mandy Moore, does not take home the Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize, something is amiss in the awards system.

That said, here we go.  I hope those who followed the Pearsons journey over six seasons had the hankies nearby for this.  In story, the focus was Rebecca’s passing, while meeting a new family, and then as viewers trying to figure out how this interconnects throughout the episode; something the show has stayed true to throughout its run; with a payoff of how they tell a themed-story when the sum of its parts is revealed.

Courtesy/NBC

As Rebecca takes her final turn on this earth, everyone is notified the end is near and to say their goodbyes. While Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin  (Justin Hartley) were present, Kate (Chrissy Metz) was in London trying to get back to her mom.  She then receives a devastating call from her brothers that Rebecca is running out of time.

When Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) goes to say her goodbye to Rebecca, in tears, she tells Rebecca that she does not have to worry.  She will take good care of her son, Randall.  While the family is gathered and trying to just hang and be with each other through tragedy, when all the noise stops and everyone leaves for the night, it’s just brothers Kevin and Randall who go sit with their mother in heartbreaking and realistic scenes for anyone who has gone through the death of a loved one due to this horrific disease.

Courtesy/NBC

To illustrate what is going on in the mind of Rebecca in her final hours, a younger version of herself is on a train, which brings into play how she loved train rides with her own father years ago. Taking her to the afterlife, Rebecca is guided through the cars by none other than William (Ron Cephas Jones).  She also spends time having a drink with the bartender, who turns out to be the doctor (Gerald McRaney) who saved her life and delivered her children. He recounted that fateful night, when Rebecca lost one of her triplets.  As Rebecca and William get to the caboose, back in the present, it’s morning.

Now, Rebecca is still alive but waiting for someone, which, of course, is her daughter, Kate.  As Randall and Kevin look on, an emotional Kate arrives and runs to her mother’s bedside, and holding Rebecca’s hand, tells her how much she loves her.  Cutting back to Rebecca’s journey on the train, she says to William, “This is quite sad, isn’t it, the end?” Willam replies: “That’s not the way I see it, if something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening. You will see that the end is not sad, Rebecca, it’s just the start of the next incredibly wonderful thing.”

Courtesy/NBC

It’s then, that Rebecca lets go and passes away with the Big Three all at her bedside.  Back to the train, Rebecca goes to the caboose lays down on a bed, and is met, in bed, by her beloved Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). In the present, Randall had whispered to his mom shortly before his death, “You tell him, hey”, and so when Rebecca lays down next to Jack, she says “hey”.

The other element to the episode was the new family we had never met before.  After a car accident, one of the sons, Marcus. is taken to the hospital in critical condition.  In the present, we think Marcus is the grown-up boyfriend of Deja, especially after she reveals to Randall that she is pregnant.

In the flashback, Marcus’ father, Kenny played by Dulé Hill, bumps into Jack at a vending machine at the hospital and we realize we are back in time when Jack went to the hospital following the Pearson family home fire.  Turns out, that Jack and Marcus were being treated by the same doctor, Dr. Spencer (Bill Irwin).  While Marcus survived after flatlining, that is when Jack suddenly didn’t, and died.  We later learn Malik turns out to be Deja’s baby daddy and boyfriend, and Marcus grows up to become a top researcher in Alzheimer’s disease and wins an award for his accomplishments.  The person who handed him the award was none other than This Is Us director and executive producer, Ken Olin.

So, what did you think of the penultimate episode of This Is Us? Did you reach for the hankies? Comment below.

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Recaps

THIS IS US: Kevin’s Romantic Match Finally Revealed

As This Is Us heads towards its last episodes of the series, every single show has been filled with emotional moments that tug at our heartstrings, and Tuesday’s night installment was no exception, exact for one thing – you may have been crying happy tears!

In the episode entitled ‘The Night Before the Wedding”, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is front and center as we pick up what happened with three women who were circulating that evening.  If you recall, Madison and Beth were trying to find out who actually slept with Kevin that night in his hotel room.  However, as it turns out, Kevin slept alone!  What leads to this are key moments that collide and ultimately bring about the revelation he needed.

First, his childhood girlfriend who then became his wife, who then became his ex, Sophie, (Alexandra Breckinridge) reveals on a walk through a vineyard that she is divorced now. Things didn’t work out between her and her husband, Grant. This comes as a surprise to Kevin, but Sophie says she has never been happier.  Kevin opens up that his relationships with women haven’t worked out.  Sophie talks on how Kevin’s mom, Rebecca, thinks of the two of them are still together due to Rebecca’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease and her declining health.

Later that night, Kevin follows Sophie to the elevator. She follows him to his room, they start to make out and undress and Kevin makes a comment on how Sophie’s hair smells different, which flips her out and she stops everything right then and there.  An upset Sophie yells, “You should like how my hair smells now, not how it smelled in the past.”  Things go south and we are left to wonder … sooo … is that the end of Kevin and Sophie?

A dazed and confused Kevin wonders down to the bar where Ariel, the band singer, is having a drink snd writing song lyrics.  She tells Kevin she loves people-watching and came up with a lyric about him, which turns out to be profound. He leaves the bar alone to his hotel room and puts the paper napkin containing the lyrics down (this is the napkin that Beth and Madison read in last week’s episode while they were snooping around trying to figure out who Kev slept with).

Next, Cassidy shows up at Kevin’s room needing help with her dress – she’s stuck in it and needs the back unzipped.  Kevin helps, and she changes in the bathroom, and you think maybe they will hit the sheets, but no.  Cassidy shuts down anything from happening.  She reminds Kevin that they are good friends and to put the nail in the coffin, shares: “You’re not my person, and I’m not yours, and you know that.”   Kevin agrees, they hug, she exits.  Ultimately, Kevin wakes up alone, gets dressed to attend Kate and Phillip’s wedding and is seen rehearsing his speech in the mirror from the Princess Bride – the one that Sophie laughed at during the wedding reception.

Now, we are at the actual reception again, and Sophie speaks with Rebecca.  Kevin’s mom, who still thinks Kevin and Rebecca are in their 20’s says, “I love my son, but he is an idiot.  The timing is just off right now. He isn’t ready for you. He will be, but it’s going to take a while. And I don’t know if you can wait around for that. Personally, I don’t know if I could. But when the timing is right, he’s going to be so great.”  It was those words that clued Sophie in and confirmed that Kevin is the right choice for her, right now.

Photo: NBC

Across the room, Randall gives Kevin some major and convoluted advice about Buffalo Bills Super Bowl merch. Randall gives Kevin a big push to go to Sophie saying, “The world is friggin’ insane. It makes no sense. But you and Sophie together, now that makes more sense than most things.”

Next, Kevin walks over to Sophie and starts to talk, but she stops him. “You don’t get to give a speech this time. It’s my turn,” she says. It is then she tells him he is now the man she always hoped he would become, and that she was sorry she freaked out the other night. She just does not want to fall back into the old versions of themselves.  However she adds,  “I want to fall in love with the man that you’ve become.”

As both Kevin and Sophie are fighting back the tears, Kevin takes out his wallet and shows Sophie the Valentine he wrote for her the first day he saw her in  elementary school.  We go to a heart-tugging flashback.  Back at the wedding reception, Kevin says “I’ve always carried you with me, Soph.”  The two share a kiss to the thunderous applause of the wedding party.  We bring out the hankies!

Wonderful work from Justin Hartley and Alexandra Breckinridge who’s on-screen chemistry as Kevin and Sophie has been undeniable from the start.

So, were you happy to find out that Kevin and Sophie reunited? Comment below.

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Recaps

THIS IS US: Mandy Moore Breaks Hearts As Rebecca Sings at Kate and Phillip’s Wedding

As This Is Us comes to its conclusion, the NBC drama series is continuing to bring all the feels each episode.  Tuesday’s night’s episode was no exception.

Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) battle with Alzheimer’s disease has now made a very visible difference to her family.  Throughout the episode, which at its epicenter was the highly-anticipated wedding of Kate to Phillip, her children and Miguel are concerned that she may forget the words, or how to play the song she has been preparing to perform at the wedding reception.

At one point, Rebecca thinks Kevin is her beloved Jack, and another she thinks Jack is coming to the wedding, at another point she does not know why she is getting her done and for what special occasion.

All of this is taking a toll on Miguel as it is revealed that he also is battling health issues he’s kept under wraps – tremors in his hand and medication are revealed.

Photo: NBC

Although Kate and Phillip’s nuptials go off without a hitch, everyone is continuing to be concerned for Rebecca. When we get to the reception, Kevin does his bomb-of-a Princess Bride toast to the newlyweds, Randall’s toast speaks to how time marches on quicker than you think, and then he introduces his mom and asks her to come to the piano to perform. At that point, it appears Rebecca seems lost.

However, as predicted by Phillip, once she gets to the piano, finds the key and starts playing, the music will just come out of her.  It is at that moment, that in a beautiful performance by Moore, Rebecca sings and remembers the song as her children and everyone else is crying.

The song Moore performed was actually the theme song to This Is Us that is played in the closing credits called “Forever Now”.

In a heartfelt post on Instagram, Mandy expressed: “You’ve heard this song before if you’ve watched the end credits of #ThisIsUs and now, you can hear it paired with words (thanks to @siddkhoslamusic and @taylordawesgoldsmith). This is “Forever Now”….I’m holding these past 6 years and all the memories that come with it forever close to my heart. We love you all for joining us on this journey! 5 more eps! Xoxo”

On Wednesday, “Forever Now” co-writer Siddhartsa Kosla took to Twitter and shared about Moore’s performance of the song:A fact about this performance by Mandy Moore.  Usually we prerecord a vocal in studio to which the actor fake sings to make it seem like they actually sang it on set. But here, this is Mandy singing live on set, a single perfect vocal into that mic you see here.”

Watch Mandy’s performance below, followed by the social media dance party clip, released by the show featuring all the wedding participants sans Kevin (Justin Hartley), who sat this one out, partying up a storm.

Now let us know, what did you think of last night’s This Is Us? Did Mandy’s performance make you reach for the hankies? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm)

 

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A post shared by Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm)

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