(Beware: This post contains major spoilers for Jack's death on This Is Us.)
There aren't many things as painful as realizing that the This Is Us family patriarch is well and truly dead — at least until you realize that Milo Ventimiglia surprised Mandy Moore by being his own body double in that scene where Rebecca walks in to find his dead body.
Mandy Moore told Entertainment Weekly that she assumed she'd be walking into an empty room, since the shot was just supposed to be her and Rebekah's reaction when faced with Jack's dead body. Moore called it "jarring," but to Ventimiglia, it was important that he be there in that moment.
"I know how I am with regards to moments of experience, especially moments of experience between Jack and Rebecca, and I wanted to - not throw a curveball at Mandy, but I wanted to be there," Ventimiglia told reporters today. "You know, it's one thing to have to act alone, it's another thing to take the history that she and I have worked on for two years and be a still lifeless body there in front of her. I was ultimately hearing her just break and fall to a million pieces, and that might have been the hardest thing to film, not because I had to lay still, but because I was listening to my friend crumbling."
We'll just let you sit with that for second.
All cried out? It sounds like the perfect time to move on to filming the final scene between Jack and Rebecca before that, and how it felt to film it knowing that it was this couple's last moment together.
"Mandy and I, over the course of filming this show, have grown to appreciate the time that we get together, but knowing that that was the last time for Jack and Rebecca was especially painful," Ventimiglia says. "We had to keep and eye on ourselves - that we weren't, I guess, playing too much into it — because the truth is Jack and Rebecca made it out of the fire, and to all their knowledge the hard part was done... so we didn't want to put too much into the body language or the way they responded to one another. It was just Jack and Rebecca sitting there as they have in the past, reflecting on what that hospital means to them or getting beyond the event that they just pretty much walked away from. We were doing our best to just be Jack and Rebecca at any given moment, dealing with any given thing."
There may not have been an epic goodbye or a tearful this is the end type of moment, but ultimately the way it played out rings truer (and more painfully) than any epic parting. Jack's last words to Rebecca were a joke about how she was blocking the TV, and if laughter and lightheartedness doesn't doesn't define this couple, then nothing else really can.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.