This story contains spoilers from the series finale of “This Is Us”.

 

 

“This Is Us” took the simple route when it came time to close the books on six seasons — and it was all by design.

The series finale on Tuesday closed out a glorious six-season run with quiet moments of reflection. In the distant past, a young Pearson family — with Jack and Rebecca leading a little Big Three — enjoying a lazy Saturday, a culmination of small, insignificant moments that amounted to something more. In the present, a grown-up Big Three grieving the loss of their mother on the day of her funeral while looking ahead to their promising futures.

“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC
“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

The last images were simple in concept and execution — a young Randall watching his father, Jack, who was savoring every second with his family on that lazy weekend, and Jack and Rebecca coming back together on the train as they went to the great beyond.

“I thought that in that shot older Randall is indicative of the grown children or a child who has fully grown. And Milo [Ventimiglia] in that moment is representing a parent to his entire family. I just wanted the simplicity of the shot of a child taking in the parent at a moment when the parent is taking in something bigger and knowing that that child will carry forward in their own lives. It was less in that moment about these two men who have been cornerstones of our show… It was less about Randall and Jack and it was more about child and parent in that moment,” creator Dan Fogelman said of the poetic ending of “This Is Us”.

“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC
“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

And for him, it was always going to end with Jack and Rebecca, the catalyst for the life that came after, saying those final words of dialogue.

“In the back of my mind, I always thought that the final actual scripted spoken dialogue in the episode would be Jack and Rebecca just simply saying ‘I love you’ to one another. Technically there’s other dialogue in the background in the ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ game… but the show is always about family and time and the way the family loves one another. This original love story, sentiment-wise, was the right language to end on,” Fogelman said. “And the final shot would be some version of a child taking in their parent and carrying something forward from what they’re watching a parent watch. I kind of knew those two final things — the final word and the final image.”

“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC
“This Is Us”. Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

But writing those last scenes, which will forever be associated with the wrapping up of an era, was particularly difficult, Fogelman recalled. (Fun fact: Many of the scenes in the finale were filmed years in advance.)

“By the time I got to the end of the script, and I already had… ‘Interior living room. Jack is sitting down on the couch now, his family is laughing and wrestling and playing ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’. He’s taking them in as they pin the tail on the donkey.’ I’ve already got those words written two months ago as I’m writing the rest of it. As I started writing Jack and Rebecca’s final train scene dialogue into that document, in between the moment that had already been shot and scripted, that really started getting to me,” Fogelman revealed to ET.

“It was the moment when [Jack] says, ‘We did good. You did so good,'” he shared. “For me as a new parent and having had parents, the idea that at the end of the day you get to sit down and be told, ‘Job well done,’ it just got me in between the stuff that I already had a visual of.”

MORE FROM ET:

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‘This Is Us’ Prepares to Sign Off With Emotional Farewells to Rebecca