Apparently, there’s a lot more to Jack Pearson’s time in the military than he initially let on. Viewers learned last week that the This Is Us character wasn’t just a mechanic in the military (like he said in Season 1) but a full-fledged soldier who fought in Vietnam. And now, fans are wondering if his time in the armed forces contributed to his alcoholism and possibly, his death.
“Jack is holding onto a lot,” Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack) told Entertainment Weekly. “So only getting a glimpse of Jack hopping out of a helicopter with an M16 rifle, looking like he’s in the s–t, he wasn’t just a mechanic. Or he was just a mechanic. But also, I think Jack in his younger years saying he was just a mechanic is just a way to put off other questions, because Jack had adjusted his own perspective on life post-war and moved forward.”
Okay, so Jack was trying to put his experiences from war behind him. But, did his family know about what he’d been through? Or did he keep it a secret from them as well? Learning this about Jack means that there’s probably a lot more that fans don’t know about the character. Hopefully, by the end of Season 2, we will have an even better insight into his psyche.
“We’ve heard about it, but now we actually get a glimpse of it,” he continued. “We’re ultimately going to spend some time in that world understanding what had gone on there. I won’t say for certain when it will happen, but knowing that we’ve caught a glimpse of Jack and especially as he’s wailing away on a bag trying to beat the demons that are bubbling up from underneath, his father’s drinking, the things that are making him want to break bad — that’s part of it. That’s a side of Jack that we’re going to know a lot about and spend some time with.”
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In the meantime, fans will continue to speculate what the flashbacks mean for Jack’s fate. “Okay I’m starting to believe Jack died in the military,” one fan shared on Twitter. Another tweeted, “I thought it was weird that they skipped over Jack being in the military, clearly they are going back to it.”
“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,” creator Dan Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly. “Jack has clearly packed a lot of stuff down and part of his journey, through the steps of AA moving forward, is 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. But you can’t explore this man without understanding what happened to him, very specifically in Vietnam, 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.”