Flashbacks are already a quintessential part of This Is Us but Tuesday’s stand-alone prequel episode, “The Big Day,” gave fans a chance to revisit the pilot from a different angle. Not only did the show put the spotlight on Dr. K and firefighter Joe, viewers also learned a lot about Rebecca and Jack’s relationship.
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According to series creator Dan Fogelman, it was always his intention to produce a stand-alone episode like “The Big Day” — which was supposed to serve as the winter premiere but was postponed to a later air date to reveal Toby’s fate following his heart attack in the fall finale.
“The hope is that if we start with the pilot as a starting point and then broke the rules of time as we jump all over the place, how interesting would it be to go back to where we met these people and see them in that timeline before we entered watching,” Fogelman told reporters. “It was always something I thought would be interesting. I always had the idea of Dr. K and the fireman coming back and seeing how they got there that day — the sliding doors of life that way.”
“Honestly, I thought at first it would be our first episode back because it would kind of be like restarting the pilot again and catching up an audience, but then the response to Toby was so strong. If I came back and don’t do an episode answering what happened one way or another, there would be a revolt,” he continued. “People would be so mad at the episode. I thought it would give people an opportunity to re-enter the show. Also, in our first episode back, which is really strong, Milo and Mandy’s storyline starts five months before this so it leads to this one naturally.”
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You can get all the details of “The Big Day” in our recap but essentially the episode sheds light on how awesome Jack is as a father while showing Rebecca’s doubts and fears as a mother.
“This is a woman that we found out in the fifth episode wasn’t sure she even wanted to be a mother,” said Mandy Moore, who plays the Pearson matriarch. “Then suddenly, to be a mother of three and to have to come to terms with that and how utterly life changing that is in the span of nine or eight months. That’s a lot. It feels like she’s drowning in her fears and her expectations and anxiety.”
On the other hand, Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia, reminds fans that his character is far from perfect. “I think for all the praise that Jack gets from his wife, from his kids or even people on the audience side about what a great father or husband he is, Jack is still a flawed man. We will see that,” Ventimiglia said. “He has his demons. He has his battles, but he loves his wife and he loves his kids. He’s very simple in his life. He’s a very simple man in his life. He loves his wife and his kids and that’s his world.”
Meanwhile, Fogelman reveals to The Hollywood Reporter whether we’ll be seeing more of Dr. K now that we’ve learned about his backstory and what’s in store for the show going forward.
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“That’s it for now,” Fogelman says of Dr. K’s story, “but there’s a lot of possibility and it’s always been a little bit a part of the show, this idea that we’re all together — especially the family and things that touch the family. We’re all in this singular, gigantic life as a whole. Our lives touch others and that’s generational. There’s a real opportunity that one day deeper into this series, we’ll not only be exploring more of Dr. K, but what he was like as a young man. People would be interested in going back 30, 40 years and seeing what Dr. K was like when he was 30 years old, and met his wife. That’s a really interesting thing about this series, is our ability to be able to do that as we move forward.”
Speaking of moving forward, the show is also gearing up for more Miguel in the coming episodes. The character isn’t exactly a fan favorite but, as previously reported, Ventimiglia and Moore are urging viewers to give him a chance.
“We’re getting a lot of Miguel coming up actually,” Fogelman revealed. “I’m editing right now and I’m editing a ton of Miguel in upcoming episodes. You’re going to learn a lot more about Miguel, about his relationship with Jack, about his own marriage. So yes. There’s a lot of Miguel stuff coming.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Facebook Page!
(Image courtesy of NBC)