SPOIL ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched "The beginning is the end is the beginning", the finale of season 3 of "This Is Us".
The third season of "This Is Us" has entered her vacation hiatus but, true to form, she has not come out without another big hit.
Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Zoe (Melanie Liburd) traveled to Vietnam to learn about his father's past during the war. They learned that while Jack was still saying that his brother Nicky (Michael Angarano) had died during the war, his name was not on the list of fallen soldiers. But the series did not leave her there, but rather in a new house, with an older man lying in the background and envelopes addressed to Nicholas Pearson stacked on a table.
Thus, not only did Jack's younger brother not die in the war, as the patriarch Pearson had suggested to his family: he did not die at all.
"We loved the fact that Kevin goes to Vietnam in search of one thing: his father's war history and his father's relationship with the woman wearing the necklace on the pictures. He ended up answering a question that he did not even know he should ask. , who talks about the unexpected nature of life, "says co-host Isaac Aptaker Variety.
Nicky's story is not the only one in which the mid-season finale titled "The Beginning is the end is the beginning" provided insight. The flash forward sequence with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Tess (Iantha Richardson) was also extended to allow Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) to be glimpsed, revealing that the three would all see "Randall's mother". is still unknown at the moment, but Aptaker confirms that it is Rebecca (Mandy Moore) they are visiting, not her "biological mother who has long passed away" despite the vague word choice.
Here, Aptaker and co-host Elizabeth Berger discuss with Variety about the revelations learned in "The beginning is the end is the beginning", including when Kevin learns what the public has learned about his uncle, why they chose to reveal the future Beth in this episode and how they wrote the speech from Randall's debate.
When did you decide that Nicky would not be dead after all and why did you think this story was more convincing?
Aptaker: It was still part of the plan, almost since we designed the character going to Vietnam and all the rest. Jack has always been a guy who has had those secrets and those parts of his life that he can not talk about, so we always felt that there was something big here.
Shepherd: We loved the idea of finding a story where something so complex is happening in Vietnam, because of the fracture of this relationship between brothers, and we look forward to telling this part of the story to our return.
Did you tell Michael the complete plan when he signed for the role?
Aptaker: We told him all about Nicky's story, pretty much from the moment we called him and offered him the role. We wanted him to understand the trajectory of this guy and the way he interferes with the lives of the Pearsons.
The show often stated that Nicky had "lost" during the war, but that comes from Jack's point of view. Are there any elements of his behavior in Vietnam that you believe revealed the real Nicky without being embarrassed by his father or even Jack?
Shepherd: We always saw this as this very sensitive kid found himself plunged into a really terrible situation that he could not stand. That's the kid [Jack] always knew, and that's the kid who's been sent to war, and it's the kid who breaks up when he's out. I think we believe that the real Nicky was really that kind innocent boy, and the war destroyed him.
Nicky's death is not the only thing Jack has lied about in Vietnam, but it's much more important to keep his family.
Shepherd: Jack has such a high moral compass, and he has the sense of the true and the false. When the situation becomes a little cloudy, it is sometimes the most difficult situations for him, and obviously everything that comes out of Vietnam and the war is cloudy. , so it plays directly in that part of him that really struggles with that kind of uncertainty. This is obviously a very complicated thing to keep from your family, but at the same time, it was very similar to Jack's character.
The public knows more about Nicky than Kevin. Is the plan to keep the audience in advance by flashbacks for a while or catch up quickly?
Aptaker: We're pretty much going to live with Kevin from now on, except for that little teasing you have at the end. And we're going to get down to it immediately when we come back – that's the essence of the half-season of the season. Kevin, after receiving this little nugget of information when leaving Vietnam, what will he do with it? This is the vaguest of tracks, but how will he use it to learn more about his uncle? By the end of this year, we will certainly have all the answers regarding what happened to Nicky.
To what extent are the scenes of the chronology spent in the final editing of this episode closely related to the future? Is it fair to draw a direct parallel between seeing Jack dive into the water when he fears Nicky is hurt to have seen Nicky alone in the future? , as well as Beth forcing Randall to sleep on the couch, to see them physically separated in their future?
Aptaker: Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that's what I always think, it's the pleasure of the puzzle and the mysterious nature of the series. Sometimes what we are seeing in the present is a major moment that will affect the future and have a huge impact on the future. Sometimes it's a little argument that will be resolved. I think that, just like life, you never know which ones will waver and change the trajectory of your entire life until you can step back in the end and think. In the past, when Jack jumps into this water, it's a major moment in their lives, and it's a moment that will be explored in the second half of the season. It's not something we're going to keep waiting months and years; we will address these issues as soon as possible.
As for the future, how did you decide that Beth would be the next character shown?
Aptaker: We have this master plan showing where everyone ends up and how the whole series ends. We do not discuss this in the writers' room anymore. What we discuss for hours and hours, is how and when to analyze this information: when is the most exciting, when is the most impactful, when is the most dramatic? There was a lot of speculation that Beth was dead or was in some kind of physical danger in the future, and this has never been part of our plan for the series. We want people to take advantage of these stories of Beth without wondering if she will meet this untimely death. It was therefore important for us to show that she was fine. But at the same time, it was a packed scene and there is a lot of information here that raises a lot of new questions.
What were your inspirations for Randall's speech during the debate?
Aptaker: This scene of debate was what we wanted to do with the season and was part of the reason we wanted to tell this story. [We knew] See Sterling in this room and with his incredible acting skills would be so exciting. And what we also find exciting about this race is that it's this guy with incredible charisma, but who has never done it before fighting against this career politician who had 8,000 debates , to see if Randall will be able to exploit What makes us all love him in this very specific circumstance against this guy who knows exactly how to turn things around and give him love at first sight. It's a disruptive, which is very interesting in politics right now, where people come from all walks of life. Randall is this outsider, will he be able to win this community?
Will he fight to know how to really keep his promises? Is it more interesting to see him really fight?
Shepherd: It was interesting to see Sterling and Randall in a situation where he is uncomfortable because he is a natural connector. And then, it was so satisfying for us to see him take a moment, realizing, "OK, it's not when I'm at my best, when I'm behind this podium. I am at my best when I sit on the stage and connect with people. And yes, even if he's a disrupter, I'll call him a connector. He spreads us in many ways and we had the impression that he was born to do that.
Aptaker: The most immediate thing he's faced with at the end of this episode is that Randall has not really considered the consequences for his family and the sacrifices he will have to make as a husband and father for this devastating campaign , two hours drive from home. We are already starting to see the cracks in a really scary way at the end of this mid-season finale.
Shepherd: They will definitely be tested. Their daughters – at least two of them – are at an age when things are going to get complicated, Randall will get busier whether in politics or whatever, Beth has to guess what she wants to do. There are a lot of things in this household, so it will be a pressure cooker.
Speaking of Randall's family, Tess told her parents that she thought she loved girls. How much do you really want to explore his romantic relationship at this point in history?
Shepherd: I think children are a little more savvy about this from a young age than I think even we grew up, and that is more naturally a topic of conversation in their lives. Now that we've talked about it, it's definitely something we're going to see it manage slowly throughout this season and the seasons to come.
"This Is Us" airs Tuesdays at 9pm. on NBC.