(Major spoiler alert: Do not read ahead if you have not seen the post-Super Bowl episode of “This Is Us” that aired on Sunday, appropriately named, “Super Bowl Sunday.”)
If you’re one of the many “This Is Us” fans who took to social media last night in a rage after learning Jack Pearson’s death possibly could have been prevented if he didn’t reenter a burning house to fetch his daughter’s dog and several family mementos, you’re not on the same team as Milo Ventimiglia.
In fact, Ventimiglia told TheWrap on Monday that he is “not at all” angry with Jack — even if his character’s decision was what led to his smoke inhalation and ultimate death due to cardiac arrest later that night.
“It’s at the core of who Jack is to, to not only protect his family and then be in service of his family, but sacrifice himself for his family,” Ventimiglia told TheWrap on a post-mortem conference call. “I think Jack, always the optimist, truly believed he was getting out of there. He was gonna be fine. You know?”
“Jack is not a fireman. He doesn’t understand oxygen regulation, I think, in that way,” Ventimiglia continued. “So he probably was acting off of a lot of just instinct, as well as a desire to grab those little moments that are so important to the fiber of who this family is. I mean when was the last time any of us thought about what we would grab if our home was burning down? Do we plan for that? Do we prep for that? Or are we just kind of complacent with, ‘Well, it’s just stuff. It’s just stuff.’ Even Jack says it in that moment on that bed in the hospital where Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is on him about running back into the house, and he says he has the only thing he’s ever needed, and that was her, and the family.”
As for whether or not you, the viewer, can forgive Jack, Ventimiglia hopes so. But he’s not gonna push it.
“That’s up to them,” Ventimiglia said of the hit show’s fans. “I think it’s really up to the viewer. I’m not upset with Jack. I think when those moments happen to us in life, many times we can’t think ahead and if we do think ahead, maybe we wouldn’t act. But in those moments, you’re either going to freeze or you’re going to move forward. And Jack is a man who moves forward. So I hope that the audiences can actually do the same and have a bit of reality and accept that this happened, and this is the way it is, and that’s how Jack meets his end. And let’s not be mad at the man for trying to do these things for his family. I don’t think Jack intended to die, no one intends to die. So that’s how Jack was when he was living.”
The next new episode of “This Is Us” airs Tuesday at 9/8c on NBC.