In speaking with This Is Us’ Dan Fogelman about the NBC/Fox series Golden Globe nominations this morning for Drama Series, Lead Actor Sterling K. Brown and Supporting Actress Chrissy Metz, the series creator teased a slew of intel regarding the second half of Season 2.
Or, as Fogelman puts it, “We have big episodes in short order.”
When This Is Us returns on January 2, fans immediately will be thrust back into the fallout of Kevin Pearson’s DUI. Does he go to jail? That’s still TBD, but what Fogelman did let on was that there’s an intense 12-minute dramatic scene between mom and the grown Pearson kids played by Brown, Metz, Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley.
“They just go at it in an interesting way that I had to call of them into my office because there’s some really serious acting going on,” says Fogelman. “We find Kevin in rehab, and the family has arrived to hash things out in a therapy session. It’s very loaded.”
In addition, there’s a small child we see at the end of the previous episode before the break, “Number Three” — a young boy who Brown hinted could be destined for Randall’s family. But is he? Kate just miscarried, and she and Toby would like a child. Could the young boy be headed their way instead? Fogelman was blown away by our question but remained mum on whether the child goes to Kate or Randall.
Then, of course, there’s the never-ending details surrounding Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death. We learned this season that Jack potentially perishes in a fire. But did he set it? Was he in the house? Does he smoke? “We promised answers in Season 2 and we have eight episodes left, and it’s all coming in short order. It will really be a heartbreaking surprise,” adds Fogelman. However, it’s the series’ plan to have other danglers in the older Pearson children’s lives take the front seat to the story surrounding Jack’s death mystery. That said, the enigma around the patriarch’s life will continue to evolve.
Fogelman further confirmed what Brown told us: that Randall ultimately will return to Memphis and develop a relationship with his extended birth family there. A second Memphis story was the original concept for the Thanksgiving episode before the This Is Us writers went with a three-episode arc centered on each Pearson child. “We have a lot of real estate from Memphis, and we’ll find our way back there,” says Fogelman.
Fogelman also spoke about the mystery surrounding Randall’s mother, Laurel. William informed him that she died during childbirth, and if she didn’t, “It would mean that William lied,” says Fogelman. However, regarding whether Randall visits her grave and dives into learning more about her, Fogelman says such events “aren’t happening this season. But the construct of the show is that if we want to explore her back history, we don’t have have to send Randall to do it. We can just go into the story about his mother by going back in time and see how she met William (Ron Cephas Jones).”
Fogelman is in the middle of production on Episodes 14 and 15 of This Is Us‘ 18-episode sophomore season.