‘This Is Us’ Season 2 Will Explore Darker Side of Jack Before His Death

After a freshman season that took the critical world, consumer audience, and TV Academy (11 nominations!) by storm, NBC’s multi-generational, multiple time period drama “This Is Us” is prepping for a highly anticipated second season — and the highly anticipated answer to exactly when and how patriarch Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) dies.

“The present day story is the story of the big three kids. A little bit of time has passed, so we’re kind of catching up with them a month or two later, on their birthday — their 37th. The pilot started on their 36th, and we’re picking it up on their 37th,” series showrunner Dan Fogelman says. “You’re catching up with Randall and Beth as they proceed on this adoption quest, and Kate as she proceeds on a singing career, and Kevin as he’s doing his film and kind og working on his romantic relationship with his ex-wife.”

The storyline set in the past with Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack will pick up immediately from where the season finale left them — the morning after their big fight. Fogelman also promises that the premiere will feature “a big, giant piece of the puzzle” of how Jack died.

“[It] will potentially set the internet abuzz but also hopefully push that storyline’s momentum,” Fogelman says. “I always talk about Jack’s death as this hinge upon which the family swings, and there’s a kind of before that and the after [of] that. And that’s very much what this season is about. It’s about that hinge, and that’s what we’re watching. There’s a lot of healing to be done. There’s a lot we’re going to do with Jack this season. We’ve painted the picture of the world’s perfect dad, man, husband, everything. And now we’re going to show not the dark side of that, but what the struggle is of being that guy too and ultimately, I think, bring him to a kind of fully realized place.”

Fogelman notes Jack’s death was always going to be a “big part” of the show and a key moment for the Pearson family. Despite so much of the audience focusing heavily on the mystery of exactly how and when Jack died, Fogelman and his writers have not changed the plan regarding the reveal.

“The way Jack’s death is going to play out is how it was always going to play out as we planned,” Fogelman says. “You do have to be cognizant that it doesn’t become a soap opera or one story starts taking over, [but] it’s fun to have a little bit of plot and intrigue, too. It’s a balancing act. It’s all a balancing act.”

Further complicating the dynamic is Miguel (Jon Huertas), who was Jack’s best friend in the past and Rebecca’s new husband in the present. Though the character has been polarizing to some viewers, who don’t want to see Jack replaced in the family, Fogelman notes that Huertas i “such a likable actor” that he plans to explore more of the character, and hopefully he will come to grow on the audience. “It’s not just this season, but it’s future seasons that we have planned out where Miguel’s place in the story become bigger and bigger and bigger. I think we can get him to become this beloved character that you’re rooting for in a really big way. But it’s going to take a moment. It’s not going to happen in one night,” Fogelman says, noting it’s like any step-parent/step-child relationship.

The nature of “This Is Us” is to deal in how the past informs the present, so the second season will continue the theme, perhaps most notably with the return of Ron Cephas Jones’ William, who will “very much open” the show in the premiere and appear throughout the season in both the past and present storyline. Characters can see and talk to ghosts, both literally and figuratively, on “This Is Us” (as previously seen perhaps most infamously in first season episode “The Trip”). Though people may be physically gone from lives, they are certainly not forgotten, and their influence continues to reign over important moments and decisions.

“My mom passed away almost 10 years ago now, and it hits that time where it’s far enough away that it’s not really present in your gut, but it’s still a huge part of mine and my sister’s life,” Fogelman says, noting a main inspiration for the show is to aid in healing. “To get somebody to laugh at a scene and then be moved by something, it’s a really hard thing to execute. I’ve been chasing it my whole career.”

The second season of “This Is Us” premieres on Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

More TV

  • An Emmy statue stands outside the

    How to Watch the 2019 Emmy Nominations

    Ken Jeong and D’Arcy Carden are gearing up to present 71st Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, and cord cutters can still tune in to find out who might take home TV’s top honors. The nomination ceremony will begin on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. PT/ 11:30 a.m. ET from the Saban Media Center in Los Angeles. Jeong [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News to Produce Two Daily Shows for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi

    NBC News has joined Quibi’s ambitious bid to build a mobile subscription TV service. NBCUniversal’s news division plans to build a custom set at 30 Rock where it will produce daily morning and evening newscasts, seven days per week, for Quibi, the well-funded mobile video startup from chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman. The [...]

  • David Harbour Comedy Special 2019

    TV Review: 'Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein'

    One thing the new mockumentary “Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein” does quite well is prove that there are perks to appearing on a streaming service’s signature hit. David Harbour, the stolid and familiar presence from Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” is given the opportunity to cut loose here with a broad, loopy half-hour that feels a bit like [...]

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Picture shows: MAKING OF - Underwater

    Netflix Orders 'Oceans' Natural History Series From 'Blue Planet II' Creator

    Netflix has ordered a multi-part natural history series on the world’s oceans from Freeborne Media, the production outfit of acclaimed natural-history producer James Honeyborne, who created “Blue Planet II.” Each of the series’ episodes will focus on a different ocean, “combining the disciplines of oceanography, geography and earth sciences to experience these characteristics in new [...]


    Netflix Revises Controversial '13 Reasons Why' Suicide Scene

    Netflix has edited the controversial suicide scene from “Thirteen Reasons Why” two years after the show originally premiered. “We’ve heard from many young people that ’13 Reasons Why’ encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help—often for the first time,” Netflix said in a statement Monday. “As we [...]

  • Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and

    Russell Tovey on His 'Arrogant and Heroic' 'Years and Years' Character

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the fourth episode of “Years and Years.” Russell T. Davies’ limited series “Years and Years” began with a birth, but it did not wait until the finale to book-end the story with a death. In the fourth episode of the multi-year spanning family drama, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content