A few thoughts on last night’s This Is Us premiere coming up just as soon as Ron Howard gives me a cake with my face on it…
Well, at least we know Jack died in a fire.
Okay, probably not.
At the TV critics summer press tour, I asked Dan Fogelman if he ever worried that the show’s mysteries — and particularly the matter of when and how Jack died — would wind up undercutting the emotions and character beats that are meant to be at the heart of the series, so that viewers spend too much time trying to solve the show rather than engaging with it.
“The attention (Jack’s death) gets catches one a little off guard,” he admitted, “and the Internet changes things in a way where the conversation happens so quickly and so intensely for a show that’s become really popular. You have to be cognizant of it.”
He called the situation “a balancing act,” and said he didn’t want to change his own plans for the series because some corner of fandom has started to treat the show like it’s Serial season 3.
“I think our first episode will feed the beast enough,” he added, “and our plan that we’ve always had will fulfill people and not get overweighted one way or the other.”
In theory, ending the season two premiere with what seems to be teen Kate and teen Randall crying over Jack’s death, and Kate vowing to go tell Kevin about what just happened — a conversation the adult Kate described to Toby earlier in the episode — followed by a tearful Rebecca driving past the burned-out wreckage of their house, would seem to be filling in most of the remaining blanks. But This Is Us isn’t done teasing out this macabre mystery just yet, as Fogelman and the cast appeared after a screening of the premiere last night to talk about how this was just part of the puzzle. Per EW:
Moore wants you to pay attention to some of the clues planted in that final sequence. “There were some clues I don’t know if people picked up on — Kate was holding a dog, Randall’s got a girlfriend, and Kevin has a broken leg,” she says. “These are all things that I think people are going to see sort of the origin of in the next couple of episodes, leading up to figuring out a bigger piece of the puzzle.”