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Where does ‘This Is Us’ go after the big reveal about Jack’s death?

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OK, This Is Us fans. Sunday’s episode was a lot to absorb, as it resolved the long-running mystery of Jack Pearson’s death and provided a couple of surprises to propel the show forward. 

So, take it all in. Catch your breath, but do it quickly. There’s another episode of NBC’s hit drama Tuesday (9 ET/PT). And that raises the question: Where do we go from here?

First, wherever we go, Jack — despite his now-documented demise — will be there, too, says Milo Ventimiglia, who plays the Pearson patriarch.

“We’ve only known this man for a little over 30 hours. … Even though we’ve seen his end, I don’t think that impacts the storytelling of wanting to know about other aspects of his life, of his younger years, of being in the war in Vietnam, of being with his wife, Rebecca,” he says, adding that he hopes the show explores Jack’s relationship with his brother, Nicky. “There’s still a lot of story to mine and I’m looking forward to all of it.” 

With the next episode coming quickly, series creator Dan Fogelman offers some broad strokes about the final four episodes of Season 2 and hints about Season 3.  

More: Recap: ‘This Is Us’ (finally) explains exactly how Jack Pearson died

More: ‘This Is Us’ promises answers about Jack’s death, and surprises, after the Super Bowl

On Tuesday, the ramifications of Jack’s death will play out in “The Car,” which promises “the history of the Pearsons as told through the family car.”

“It’s not quite a to-be-continued, but it’s the next step in the process,” Fogelman tells USA TODAY. 

The episode also features an appearance by Dr. Katowski (Gerald McRaney), who delivered the Pearson children in the series premiere. 

Ventimiglia says Tuesday’s episode, which includes Jack’s funeral, will have heartbreaking moments but lighter ones, too. 

“As much as there is a somber tone (for) anyone experiencing a funeral, there is a lot of lightness that is balanced (into the episode) around the family in younger times,” he says. 

When the three final Season 2 episodes begin Feb. 27 (after a break for NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage), Jack remains a central figure, still alive in past timelines and an influence on his wife and children in the present day. 

“We are determined that the show continues moving forward with regular episodes that have nothing to do with Jack in terms of his death, but everything to do with Jack” in other respects, Fogelman says. “It’s not like we’ll completely ignore the story we just told over the last few episodes, but you will also see (this season) just continues moving forward.”

Teasing future story lines, Sunday’s episode also featured the surprise and welcome return of foster child Deja, who could be taking up residence permanently with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and his family. Viewers also took a trip into the future, seeing Randall’s daughter, Tess, as a social worker, placing a young boy with potential parents as an older Randall, himself adopted, looked on.

Fogelman says one upcoming episode focuses on Jack’s and Rebecca’s wedding anniversary when their three kids are 10; another on “a side character” and the March 13 season finale features “a big family” plot. 

Next season, This Is Us will check in on the children a year after the fire, weaving that and other time periods together with contemporary stories of the adult Big Three.

“Once you know all the details of what happened to Jack, it makes the story lines even richer,” Fogelman says. “And we’re excited to do that once the audience is no longer going, ‘How did he die?’ ”

Ventimiglia is confident about the family’s future.

 “Here’s a family that has lost a large part of who they are … but they are a strong family. That’s one thing Jack has given them,” he says. “Much like Jack, I don’t worry about the Pearsons at all.”

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Ventimiglia tells Esquire Magazine new details around the death of his character Jack Pearson
Time

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