When we last saw This Is Us‘ 1970s-era Rebecca, she was on the receiving end of a surprise kiss from a mustachioed mystery man — and unaware that nearby, a crestfallen Jack was witnessing the whole exchange.
This Tuesday’s episode (NBC, 9/8c) likely picks up from sometime during that same day (in promotional photos, Rebecca is wearing the same patterned dress she’s wearing when she opens the door to Mr. Question Mark), but series star Mandy Moore tells TVLine there’ll be even bigger conundrums for her character to solve in the weeks ahead.
First up: Is she doomed to become her mother?
“We delve a tiny bit into Rebecca’s childhood in Episode 3,” Moore says. “It gives you a clearer idea of the woman she wants to be. She struggles against how she was raised — her parents’ relationship was really dysfunctional. She rebelled against that. She doesn’t want to be that kind of wife or that kind of mother.”
But before that can even be a discussion for Rebecca and her Vietnam-veteran suitor, they’ve both got to figure out what they mean to each other — a task complicated by what Moore calls “the complicated place we find Jack in when he and Rebecca first meet.”
She previews that the series will “delve deeper into his life in Vietnam and what he saw and experienced. There’s so much of it he’s chosen not to share with her and his family that profoundly affected and changed him. It’s a part of him that he doesn’t show to anybody else.”
Moore adds: “That’s an interesting dynamic: of falling in love with somebody, but they don’t completely reveal who they are. It’s tricky territory.”
Last week’s hour saw new widow Rebecca admitting to Randall that she had no energy to try to make things right for her kids, who — like she — were lost in their grief over Jack’s unexpected death. “She’s also picking up the pieces of her life, post-Jack, and keeping her own grief under wraps or keeping a handle on it while she deals with three children who are coping in very different ways,” Moore says. “It’s a tough time for her.” — With reporting by Diane Gordon