Jack has been lying about part of his past on “This Is Us,” but the truth will come out
Warning: Spoilers from Season 2, Episode 2 of This Is Us, “A Manny-Splendored Thing” lie ahead!
Blink and you could have missed it, but this week’s episode of This Is Us had a brief flashback to Jack in Vietnam. He’s getting off a helicopter with a machine gun in hand, and very much looks like a soldier.
But he had previously told Mrs. Peabody that he was only a mechanic during the war.
That raises questions about what his role in Vietnam actually was and what he could have experienced as an aftermath of that role. Thankfully, creator Dan Fogelman shed some insight into all that in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"The casual fan of the show might just think as they’re watching the 'Landslide' montage with Jack, 'Oh, wow, some of what happened to Jack in Vietnam clearly had a bigger effect on his life and history than we realized.' I think the closer fans would say, 'Huh, this is very different than what he had [said] his experience in Vietnam was.’ And it’s something where if you’re watching like that, it’s intentional."
Remember: Everything is loaded with meaning on This Is Us.
Looking ahead, Fogelman says the show will dig deeper into the war and the toll it took on Jack.
“Obviously all war is horrific and tricky, but Vietnam was a very tricky war at a very tricky time, and the things that people experienced are often buried within families for many years is something we’ve found,” Fogelman detailed.
“Jack has clearly packed a lot of stuff down and part of his journey, through the steps of AA moving forward, is [he’s] going to have to, as he says in the next episode, sit in some of the stuff that he’s avoided for so long. Which is a scary thing for Jack.”
In fact, Fogelman says that we’ll learn a lot about Jack’s experience in Vietnam, but “it’s going to be a slow build.”
Why? Well, there’s still the question of exactly how Jack dies to address.
"In terms of the Jack storyline, this season is very much focused on how we get to what happened at the end of Episode 1 — that fire," Fogelman teased. "How did Jack die? And how does he deal with his treatment of alcoholism and how does it affect his relationships with his family and Rebecca. That’s the focus of the season."
That said, “You can’t explore this man without understanding what happened to him, very specifically in Vietnam,” Fogelman continued. “So that’s going to be a longer story that we’ll slowly start embarking on this season — and really will be a bigger part of the future of the show.”
While we’re sad to hear that Jack has clearly gone through it, we’re certainly excited to find out more about his backstory.
This Is Us airs on NBC on Tuesdays.