Post Mortems
This Is Us Jack Dies Milo Ventimiliga

This Is Us' Milo Ventimiglia on the Big Death, the Return of Jack's Brother and the Moment You Might Have Missed

Dead man talking!

Fresh off Sunday’s post-Super Bowl This Is Us, series star Milo Ventimiglia spoke with Esquire about the monumental episode. “He sacrificed himself without even knowing that he was doing it,” Ventimiglia said of the hour, referring to Jack’s decision to re-enter the Pearson’s burning house to save Kate’s dog and some family mementos.

Though Jack didn’t perish in the fire as expected, he died hours later, when complications from smoke inhalation led to him having a fatal heart attack at the hospital. The news was a shock to Rebecca, who didn’t believe her husband had passed away so suddenly until she ran back to his hospital room and saw his lifeless body laid out on the bed. (Read our recap here.)

“This is not the end of Jack,” Ventimigilia said, reminding fans that his character has been dead “from the get-go” and that Papa Pearson will continue to be part of the action, thanks to the NBC drama’s storytelling over multiple timelines.

Some other highlights from the interview:

WHEN HE FOUND OUT | Ventimiglia tells Esquire he learned how Jack died in the middle of Season 1, noting that guarding against story leaks led to “Fort Knox secrecy” on set.

JACK’S FINAL GOODBYE | Though you might’ve missed it, Jack’s voice says “Bec?” while Mandy Moore’s Rebecca is standing at the hospital’s vending machine. “You’ll have to ask [series creator] Dan [Fogelman], but my belief is that it’s a presence,” Ventimiglia says.

WHAT ABOUT JACK’S BROTHER? | As promised, many questions were answered by the series’ Super Bowl ep. But so many remain, Ventimiglia notes, including what Jack’s life was like after he returned from serving in the Vietnam War but before he met Rebecca. Also important: “His brother, I think is something that’s going to come up relatively quickly, and play out over the next season or so.”

REBECCA’S PLIGHT | The actor attributes Jack’s popularity, in part, to co-star and frequent scene partnerMandy Moore (“Any love that anyone wants to give for my playing of Jack, I just want to move it over to her”). He also teases that a grieving Rebecca “really goes through it” in Tuesday’s episode (9/8c).

WHAT A CROCK | Ventimiglia reports that he does own a Crock-Pot. “Is it unplugged?” he adds. “Yes, it is.”