Brace yourselves. A This Is Us mini-drought is upon us. NBC gave us the gift of a post-Super Bowl episode that will go down in history as one of the most gut-wrenching hours of TV on Sunday, and Tuesday, Feb. 6 will serve up another helping of Pearson trials and tribulations. But you're probably wondering, will This Is Us be on during the Olympics? It's time to take up an interest in speed skating, guys. After tonight's episode, viewers will have to wait a couple weeks until they're reunited with the Big Three and company.
This Is Us is basically considered the olympics of crying, though the official Olympic Winter Games are coming to primetime on NBC from Feb. 8 until Feb. 25. That means the majority of regularly-scheduled evening programming will get bumped for a brief break. Think of this as an emotional vacation, This Is Us fans. A sadness sabbatical, if you will. Sunday broke our hearts into a million pieces and Tuesday night's episode, "The Car," is bound to push our sentimental buttons now that Jack's passing has unfolded. "We have another episode on Tuesday," Mandy Moore teased to the Today Show on Monday. "I dare say it's even more heartbreaking." Is that even possible?
Just don't let Jack's death fool you in to think Milo Ventimiglia is going anywhere. There are more tales to tell when it comes to World's Greatest Dad (or at least Pittsburgh's?). Milo spoke to USA Today about his future on the show, explaining that there is so much more behind the revered Pearson patriarch:
We've only known this man for a little over 30 hours ... Even though we've seen his end, I don't think that impacts the storytelling of wanting to know about other aspects of his life, of his younger years, of being in the war in Vietnam, of being with his wife, Rebecca ... There's still a lot of story to mine and I'm looking forward to all of it.
This season opened the door to two interwoven parts of Jack's history that contribute to his complex narrative. We discovered his time in Vietnam affected him more than he had previously let on, and that he lost his brother. It will be interesting to see young Jack deal with that in real time via flashbacks, if the producers decide to go that route eventually.
“We are determined that the show continues moving forward with regular episodes that have nothing to do with Jack in terms of his death, but everything to do with Jack,” creator Dan Fogelman said of the upcoming installments. It's also been reported that Season 3 will jump to a year following the fire that devastated the Pearson home and ultimately led to Jack's death.
Speaking of time jumps, about that skipping ahead twist... We're talking, of course, about how This Is Us took us to a place it's never brought us to before — the future! We got a glimpse at adult social worker Tess and older, grey-haired Randall, but will exploring that chapter in their lives become a regular thing? Fogelman divulged to Deadline:
We didn’t do it as a one-off. After Tuesday 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.
It's hard to come to grips with the possibility of the audience seeing the Pearsons living in an era that doesn't even exist yet. So many questions... Will there be robots? Who is president? Is everyone OK? If the show allows us to peek what's in store for the family beyond present day, it somewhat reminds of us a drawn-out version of Six Feet Under's devastating finale. Spoilers ahead if you somehow never watched Six Feet Under, which ended in 2005. The last six minutes of the show showed the fate of the characters, right up until the moments of their deaths. This Is Us probably won't take it that far, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to see how they end up years from now. That's a lot to take in.
But who are we to complain? Any This Is Us is a gift and we'll miss it while it's gone.
After Tuesday, Feb. 6's "The Car," This Is Us returns to NBC for all-new episodes on Tuesday, Feb. 27.