(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not seen the Season 1 finale of “This Is Us,” titled “Moonshadow.”)
Well, all that speculation over Jack’s fate was for naught – at least for now. The Season 1 finale of “This Is Us” didn’t touch the Pearson patriarch’s eventual demise at all, and instead focused on more pressing issues.
Specifically, the episode called “Moonshadow” chronicled the marriage of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as it begins to unravel, despite a season full of romantic gestures and signs of how much the two genuinely loved each other.
In an episode featuring just the two characters for the bulk of the hour, we are treated to flashbacks that go back to the months right before Jack and Rebecca met. He was a war veteran struggling to make a few bucks any way he could, and she was focused on becoming a singer — both were constantly dogged by requests to set them up with potential romantic partners.
One fateful night, as Rebecca finally gives in to a boring blind date after yet another rejection of her music, and Jack finally snaps and decides to rob a bar after having some poker winnings beaten out of him, the two finally meet. He hears her voice as he’s rounding his way to the register, and rather than go down a path of criminal activity, starts on the road to becoming the great father we know starting in 1981.
And speaking of the more recent flashback scenes, the Jack and Rebecca who have been married for over a decade and have three teenage children aren’t doing so hot. Despite Jack’s noble decision to drive two hours to see Rebecca in concert, he gets into a drunken fight with her bandmate Ben (Sam Trammell) instead.
She’s rightfully upset, and he doesn’t do so well with the anger either when she confesses Ben tried to kiss her before the concert, and before you know it, an all-out screaming match is going down, and it’s just. so. uncomfortable to watch, given how many loving and happy scenes these two have shared over the season.
In the light of day the following morning, they’re both sorry, but they also both acknowledge they meant what they said in their fight, and he should probably go stay with Miguel for a while. Uh oh.
Jack leaves, but not before one last epic, romantic speech to Rebecca — and perhaps to the audience as well, as he promises that this is not the end of their story, but the beginning.
Meanwhile, in a brief glimpse of present day, Kate (Chrissy Metz) has finally chosen a career path: She wants to be a singer, like her mother; Kevin (Justin Hartley) decides to go audition for a movie that could take him away from Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) for months on end; and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) tells Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) they should adopt a baby.
There’s so many strands left hanging for the Pearson family, so it’s a good thing “This Is Us” has already been renewed for two more seasons by NBC.