Of course it ended with tears. Mandy Moore broke down the “upsetting” This Is Us season finale that showed a “darker, uglier side” of Rebecca and Jack Pearson’s marriage.
The episode, which focused almost entirely on the couple, ended with a heartbreaking fight between the two. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) admitted he’d been drinking again, and Rebecca (Moore) expressed that she’s unhappy with her life as a housewife. She thinks Jack’s alcoholism is a convenient excuse that pops up right when she’s pursuing her own career, but Jack calls her musical ambitions “ridiculous,” saying that a 40-year-old woman singing covers in pubs is not a real career.
Moore, 32, revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she and Ventimiglia “figuratively and literally” kept their distance while filming the explosive fight. “The vibe on set the next day when we actually went to shoot it was like, I don’t know, it was unlike anything I’ve ever really felt before,” she said. “The crew was handling the scene with kid gloves, but it was also upsetting for everyone to see Jack and Rebecca in this place. Yeah, it was an uncomfortable situation all around for everybody, and I think that tension really permeated the entire set.”
The Walk to Remember actress added that she felt “way more empathy” for her character and found it hard to take Jack’s side. “I think [there’s] the underlying sentiment of her values and her desires not being viewed as valid. And from my perspective, Jack really has only seen her through the lens of mother and wife,” she told the magazine. “He wasn’t secure enough to be able to support this endeavor for her.”
The former pop star said that it will be difficult for the beloved couple to recover from the stinging words. “There is a way to find forgiveness, but you never forget those things,” she said, echoing Rebecca’s morning-after comments that they can’t take back what they said. “We’ve all been in those fights and sometimes things get said and there is no pulling back from it. And they both come to that conclusion the next day; he doesn’t fight for it and she doesn’t fight for it. That line has been crossed, and the only way that there will ever be understanding or some semblance of reconciliation is if they take a breath and get some air, because, oooh, the things that were said were just so ultimately devastating and detrimental to the fabric of a relationship.”
Another dagger to the heart for This Is Us fans: Jack doesn’t argue when Rebecca suggests that he stay at Miguel’s for a bit. “I think I wholeheartedly believed that he would fight for it,” she said. “And the fact that he didn’t only further solidified like, ‘OK — then this is truly what we need to be doing right now. The man that I knew would fight for this relationship, for his wife, for the marriage.’ And the fact that Rebecca’s suggestion is taken with such a seemingly agreeable same-page stance says everything.”
Although some fans were expecting to find out how Jack dies during the finale, now they’re left wondering whether Jack and Rebecca were together when he died. “I really think this is a turning point in the story of this family, and this is a fundamental rift in the foundation of their relationship, and it really shows that darker, uglier side,” Moore said. “I would say that it’s darker and uglier than any episode, but it settles on this bittersweet note of where these people find themselves in their lives and in their relationship, and I think it’s the perfect punctuation to the season, and it’s the perfect place to leave people. I think it’s going to be impactful, and it won’t sort of diminish over time.”
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