Now That We Know How Jack Dies, This Is Us Is Fast-Forwarding Things
With one of it's most central mysteries finally solved, This Is Us is going back to the drawing board in a sense as it figures out ways to keep the drama and mystery of the show alive. Not that fans would stop watching without a mystery (because the lives of the Pearsons are way too interesting as is), but it never hurts to spice things up a little bit, right?
That's why things got very interesting when This Is Us fast-forwarded during Sunday's post-Super Bowl LII episode to reveal an older Randall and Tess. After Randall mentioned to Kevin in an earlier episode he was having trouble seeing himself as an old man, we actually got to confirm that Randall does live to be an old man, and he's closer than ever to his daughter, Tess. It's this glimpse into the future that suddenly throws the patented This Is Us playbook out the window and makes us wonder: Will This Is Us be fast-forwarding again anytime soon? Will this become a regular occurrence?
You've gotta admit the prospect is pretty exciting, and thankfully, we have the answer to those previous questions already. Yes, This Is Us will fast-forward again, and while it sounds like it will just be fast-forwarding for Randall for now, that doesn't mean we won't see future Kevin and Kate.
While speaking with Deadline after this big Super Bowl episode, creator Dan Fogelman made it clear that fast-forwarding is part of a bigger This Is Us storytelling plan. "We show a new timeline, in the future, which is extremely exciting for a show that plays in time and has till-now played in the past/present," he explained. "But there is other stuff coming, too… there is a plan for the show, there always has been, we aren't just shooting from the hip. [...] After Tuesday [Feb. 6] we only have three episodes left this season, and we still have a lot to resolve here first, but it's safe to say the future can play a big part in seasons to come." OK, you can officially count me all the way in for more older Randall, and I won't lie, I'm curious to see what's in the future for older Kate and older Kevin.
And there's a chance fast-forwarding might not be the only time travel-related trick up the This Is Us writers' sleeves. In a recent interview with Elle magazine, Milo Ventimiglia read out fan tweets and tried to answer as best he could without getting too spoilery, and there was one fan tweet in particular that seemed pretty darn interesting. While reading aloud a fan tweet wondering whether there would be an alternate timeline when Jack gets to be a cute grandpa hanging out with his family, Ventimiglia proceeded to just look up at the camera, purse his lips, raise his eyebrows and offer a small, "Hmm." It seemed a bit all knowing, which only makes us wonder if there's a chance This Is Us will explore alternate timelines too. Or at the very least, have one episode in which they go into an alternate timeline to see what would have happened if different choices had been made or events had taken place and redirected the Pearsons' lives?
There's also the possibility Kate will inherit her brother Randall's ability to see the ghost of Jack (which we know is brought on by stress, and there's no way Kate and Randall could genetically inherit the same kind of stress-related vision capability, but go with it). During an interview with Glamour magazine, Fogelman also hinted at the possibility of Kate seeing Jack and Jack in turn walking her down the aisle on her wedding day.
"We play with a lot of things around time and memory and what could have been, so I think [Jack walking Kate down the aisle is] definitely a possibility," Fogelman remarked. "There’s a lot of emotions [about that idea] because if you’ve lost someone tragically, you dream about them a lot. There’s a lot of different ways that can happen."
The idea of This Is Us exploring new time-bending ways to tell their story is certainly enough to get your heart racing, and the ideas presented here will no doubt make any die-hard fan of the show want to see more. If there are going to be new mysteries and questions raised in the wake of answering the big question about Jack's death, then switching up the timeline or playing around with alternate realities is certainly one heck of a way to do it.