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THIS IS US: Viewers Learn How Jack Died! Milo Ventimiglia On Justin’s Monologue: "There Was Such Beauty In That Scene"


Following Sunday’s Super Bowl, This Is Us aired it’s most highly-anticipated episode where viewers finally learn just how the best-dad-of-them-all Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) died leaving Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and the “Big Three” devastated for the last 20 years.

In story, while the crock pot that started the fire in the kitchen, eventually engulfed the Pearson’s entire home, Jack gets all the kids and Rebecca out of the house to safety, but Kate is desperate for their dog Louie who was left inside.  Heroically, Jack goes in to fetch the dog and bring the pooch to safety.  In that moment, the house goes deeper into flames.  However, in true Jack-fashion, he comes out of the burning house with the dog, and key mementos that mean so much to the family.

Now in the hospital for smoke inhalation, it looks like Jack is doing OK, when Rebecca goes to the phone to make hotel arrangements for the kids and her hubby.  Only while on the phone, Jack suffers a massive heart attack from all the inhalation in his lungs.  The doctor informs a disbelieving Rebecca what happened.

In the present day, each of Jack’s children are trying to cope with the 20-year anniversary of his death.  But perhaps the most touching moment was that of Kevin’s (Justin Hartley).  That is when Hartley delivered a hankie-inducing monologue sitting at the tree (he thinks) was Jack’s. Kevin in tears says:  “I’m sorry, Dad, that I wasn’t there that night (alluding to the fact that Kevin was out with Sophie and not home when the fire happened to the family) and I’m sorry that the last thing I ever said to you was awful.  I have had a really, a really bad year. I’ve had a bad couple of decades, actually.  And I haven’t turned out to be even close to the man that you … I just think you’d be really disappointed in me, you know? (Kevin admits he struggled with sobriety like his father did) I’m going to be a man, and I’m going to do better for you.  I’m going to make you proud of me.”


Milo Ventimiglia, in an new interview with Esquire, commented on Hartley’s performance in that monologue: “That was one take! He walks up and it’s just that profile shot, that was one piece. That moment speaks to how incredible Justin is, to be able to initially have a hard time walking up to that tree, and then have the presence to experience this moment with his father, and then have the levity at the end to say, ‘Oh yeah, and I worked with Rocky.’ There’s such beauty in that scene, I was blown away with Justin. Chrissy had a great moment, Sterling had one, and I tell you, next week: Mandy Moore. She really goes through it in the next episode.”

So, what did you think of how Jack ultimately died? What did you think of Justin Hartley’s monologue?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Although I am not a viewer of the show, as a long time viewer of Y&R, I loved Justin’s portrayal of Adam. From the moment I saw his first scene with Eric Braden,( I know I probably spelled his name wrong) I knew that Justin was destined for bigger and better things. He truly deserves everything he has.

First, I can’t even put into words how utterly excellent this show is. There is not one character whom I don’t love. It’s one of the most heartwarming, gut-wrenching, feel good/feel bad shows of all time.

For me there wasn’t one standout in this episode; all were fantastic. Each actor brought his/her A- game as they have done since the first episode. And, I feel the younger actors deserve all the credit as well; they’re never mentioned by anyone. The casting director couldn’t have picked better actors to portray the Big Three as both pre-teen and then as teenagers. They look like the older actors physically and their mannerisms, the way they speak (their inflection)…EVERYTHING is exactly on par to the older Kevin, Randall and Kate.

On a side note, I think it’s interesting that we got to see Miguel’s reaction to Jack’s death, too. Instead of being seen (perhaps by some) as the friend who swooped in to marry his best friend’s wife, we see the utter devastation on his face when he learns the news. One can only imagine that through their shared grief and already solidified friendship how he and Rebecca eventually became a couple.

As for Jack’s death, since we have always known he was dead, it was obvious that since he came out from the fire the smoke inhalation would be the cause; once the doctor said he’d taken in a lot of smoke…and Jack looked like he was struggling a bit to me…I knew he’d be gone by the time Rebecca got back to his room. Knowing and seeing are two different things; still crushed me.

I LOVE Milo! He plays the loving husband/dad to sheer perfection. I fall in love with Jack over and over again…

Over and over again…..what’s not to love.

I just had to pull back from the program. It was too painful and real. So well done.

Hi Tani…

I agree; incredibly well done and very painful and real for those of us who have suffered loss.

Not sure if you meant that you pulled back from that particular episode or the show in general. If the show, I hope you tune in again; it’s so excellent. And, I guess you know this but just in case…”Jack” will still be on the show. Nothing changes in that sense.

Thank you Rebecca1 for your response to me, and for your well written response to all. Don’t think I would consider a pull back from such a superior program, but his loss, even though made clear earlier that he had died, felt a hard hit; perhaps a bit too hard. However, in some professions it defines success — thus a sad ending with potential for the forward moves. Those moves are what interest me, not only the conclusions.

Thank you again.

Oh, you’re welcome, Tani. The forward moves will probably be just as riveting….

Fantastic! One of the Best shows on TV!

This show is just, well, everything! The characters are perfectly cast, the writing is sensational and true to heart, and the storylines are real and human. There is nothing “fluff” about this series. It depicts so many of the real life struggles that people go through-in such a beautiful and tragic way. I haven’t watched the episode yet; but I will soon!

Incredible episode! Amazing work by Justin this season! Hoping Melissa Claire Egan finds her way on to this fabulous show, as a love interest for Kevin or as a completely separate character. Went through a whole box of tissues last night. Awesome storytelling by all!!!

I lost my dad recently, and I cannot tell you how cathartic it was watching this ep even though I knew (or should have remembered) it was coming.

Great acting, grounded story, beautiful moments along with the tragic. That’s This is Us and I love it. It has become my one go-to show every week since it has been on.

Sorry about your loss.

To be honest I don’t watch this show. But I wanted to see this epi to see epic acting on everyone’s part. I was blown away what a great job everyone did. Yes I cried thru most of it because this show was a true great piece of writing and acting by everyone. Congrat’s to everyone who worked on this episode.

I was hoping he would be saved in the end!! We have been watching most of this show knowing he is dead, it’s still sad to know he is really dead, if that makes any sense!!!

This show is just excellent. Each actor plays their part to perfection, including, yes, the wonderful younger actors who play the adults.

What wonderful writing! The writers do so wonderfully what writers are supposed to do: make you care, really care, about the character. In this show that is spot on! Wonderful actors, excellent writing. I knew Justin Hartley from watching him on The Young and the Restless, and to be honest, that is really the only reason I began to watch this show. But I stayed for many reasons, for Justin and for the entire cast. Superb!

There are not enough superlatives!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is Us, is the King of soaps..
It makes the soaps look like a B movie.

I want to add..
I can’t imagine the show without Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) He will remain as always, I hope..
And, Justin he is so great on This is Us and he made the right move of getting out of a soap to explore a brighter future and he found it.
The whole cast is phenomenal, each and every one is outstanding..

Well said!

He didn’t get out of soaps and find stardom (so to speak)/. He had already done primetime way before This Is Us; he was in Smallville for five years, Revenge for a year, Mistresses for two years and assorted other spots on Castle, Cold Case, CSI and assorted other primetime shows. What I DIDN’T know was that he got his start on the daytime show, Passions, which I’ve never watched.

I did Revenge; he was great in that, too.

Justin Hartley was able to do the monologue in one take because of his daytime experience. Kudos to the entire cast. They all did a great job. I was in tears when Rebecca was talking to Kevin on the phone aboute eating a candy bar. If you lost a parent at a young age as I did it brought up feelings I didn’t expect. Grief is like that.

Daytime doesnt get enough credit for the skill that is involved, day in and day out!

Hartley was a daytime gem that came and went due to his overwhelming talent. I love good guys and he is a good guy and I wish for everything good he wants in life. What a talent! I see him doing some kind of Tom Cruise Mission Impossible type movies that becomes a franchise.

I lost my father suddenly at the tender age of sixteen. Sixty years later I still struggle. Mr. Hartley’s performance was jaw-dropping.

It all STARTS with the WRITING….then ALL these standout actors
bring/breathe them to light/life. Outstanding tearjerker of a show…

hmmm everyone comments about Justin Hartley time on Y&R… but even before that he was wonderful on Smallville as the Green Arrow…. no one ever seems to mention this…

and lets not forget his wonderful portrayal as a gay man on Revenge.

I mentioned it, Brian, in my comment above to Su000. I think some people just think he started on Y&R and then got his big break, not realizing he was on quite a bit of primetime before This Is Us.

Well, Rebecca, I didn’t think they could top the Kevin and family therapy episode–that one had the most powerful effect on me. But I’m so glad Jack didn’t burn to death…that would have been too much to take. And isn’t it nice to see a positive father image on television? On sitcoms, dads are often dummies and in drama they’re unfaithful, abusive, or just “weekend” parents by choice. Jack is a refreshing change. Now, on a non-artistic level, Milo is even hotter now than on GILMORE GIRLS, where I didn’t even like his character, Jess. His range has really increased, similar to wonderful Justin Hartley.

Hi Soaphound…

I think Justin’s been great in everything I’ve seen him in (haven’t seen all his work). The episode that absolutely broke my heart in This Is Us and had me in tears was the one on the night of his high school reunion when he realized he’d left his father’s necklace in that woman’s room…when he got down on the lawn and begged for someone to help him. That despair…uggggg..his plea for help…I just felt it to my core. Really powerful, completely devastating. I honestly think that was one of the most powerful scenes I’d ever seen on any show or film.

I’m a big Milo fan and actually liked him in Gilmore Girls. But this is obviously his “adult” role and I agree, Jack couldn’t be a more perfect father. The writers have outdone themselves in creating an earnest, truly dedicated, loving father and husband and Milo has nailed it. On a looks level, Milo and Justin couldn’t be more different…but both are extremely good-looking. Looks like we’re going to see a young Jack in the next few episodes…when he was in the war with his brother. From the coming attractions it almost looks like he hasn’t aged a year since his Gilmore Girl days! I guess shaving off his beard and stache shaved off the years!

Hey Rebecca1

yes, you did, all I can say is your comment was not there when I posted mine, have you ever noticed you can click on a story and see no comments, but then re-click the story 10 minutes later and it then has plenty of comments ? I think it is due to the comments being moderated first. so my apologies, I would not have posted mine had of yours shown when I first read the article.

Hi Brian…don’t be silly…of course you should post your comment regardless…I totally understand! And, yes, that happens all the time on this site. I’ve posted many times when there are zero comments and then suddenly mine and so many others appear…so there’s bound to be numerous times when we don’t know while we’re writing our own post that someone’s said the same thing.

Actually, I was happy to read your comment; I’ve seen several posts on different pages about Justin where some think Y&R “discovered” Justin and now he’s on to bigger/better, etc so it was nice that someone else pointed it out. Never a negative to contribute information!

Absolutely no apology necessary! 😉

I absolutely love this show ,of course it helps that Justin Hartley is on the show,This young man is such a talented actor.I don’t miss an episode.I was moved by his performance .Great show and a great casts

Reading these comments made me remember the scenes and cry.


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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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Airdate: 4-12-2024