Plus, the actress on her breakthrough scene with Kate and where Rebecca might be 20 years into the future

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March 14, 2018 at 05:41 PM EDT

It’s been such a journey for Kate to forgive herself for Jack’s death, and this episode seems to take the biggest step toward that, with her conversation with the urn on the stump. But her two-steps-forward, one-step-back relationship with Rebecca also really moves forward here. When she tells Rebecca, “You’re not in my way. You are my way”…
Forget it! That makes me tear up thinking about it. I feel like Rebecca has waited her whole life to hear that, and never expected to. But what a beautiful sentiment. All she’s been doing is walking on eggshells, especially knowing how much weight this particular wedding carries. To hear that, especially during the wedding, I think is too much. In a good way.

Rebecca has heard her express this frustration of trying to live up to her mother before, but she’s growing and telescopes it in a new way that Rebecca’s never heard, and it’s transformative.
It is a transformative redirection, absolutely. It’s everything she’s always wanted to hear from her daughter.

Before that moment, though, you feel for Rebecca. In what should be this completely joyous day, she’s having to tiptoe around her daughter, even worrying about what to wear so as not to overshadow her. When Rebecca’s trying to bond with Kate over the dream and then asks the Toby question, which silences Kate, she’s just so crestfallen. 
I know, poor thing. I really hope that there’s some more redemption and that we do a deeper dive into their relationship next season.

Rebecca leaves this season in a good place with her children. What can we look forward to in season 3? Will we see the seeds of Rebecca and Miguel’s romance? What would you hint about the origins of their romantic relationship?
I think you would have to ask Dan [Fogelman, the show’s creator] that, because I don’t know all of the seeds. I do know that we are going to examine a lot more of Jack and Rebecca’s origin story. Then I think the time directly after his passing, what happens to the family, and what happens with the kids, and where the real disconnect is in their relationship between mom and certainly Kevin and Kate. Because not too long after, the kids move to Los Angeles.

I’m really interested in that 10-year time period between after he passes away and that little sliver of time that we saw earlier this season, in 2008, when she reconnects with Miguel. I want to know how did they lose touch, her and Miguel specifically? And then obviously what happened with the kids that made them make that decision to move across the country and away from her. I have a feeling that the Miguel/Rebecca relationship present day — or at least 2008 moving forward — may not be something until season 4.

What other clues about season 3 can you drop? You can be as cryptic as you want to be.
I’m terrible at being cryptic. I think what we saw with Zoe and Kevin at the end of this episode is a pretty big indication of a story that we’re going to be exploring — the Vietnam era of Jack…. They’ve had the whole season mapped out. [Dan] said it looks like A Beautiful Mind in the writers’ room right now. I hope that I can find some time in the next couple weeks to at least pop my head in there and see what’s going on…. I feel like season 3 is going to be the most ambitious yet. You know Dan. He’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

Any hints about who the “her” is in that old Randall-adult Tess scene?
Oh, I know! We all know, but I think that’s something that’s going to be teased out throughout the season as well.

There’s Beth, Deja, Annie, someone we don’t even know yet. There’s a lot of possibilities.
Exactly. I know, there’s a lot of ladies in our cast that it could possibly be. Maybe it could be Zoe. Maybe it could be Annie. There’s a lot of possibilities.

The show has introduced this new timeline of about 20 years into the future. What do you imagine that Rebecca is doing then? That would place her in her 80s. She’s still around… right?
Late 80s. Yeah, I would imagine she is. I hope so. I feel like she’s taken good care of herself. I can’t imagine what those prosthetics would look like. [Laughs] Oh, man! That’s a whole other conversation. But I hope she’s happy and healthy and, I don’t know, maybe with great grandkids. I’m sure Dan has that all plotted out.

To read what Chrissy Metz had to say about the finale — and the Jack-Kate scene that you didn’t see — click here.

To read Milo Ventimiglia’s thoughts on playing old Jack at his 40th wedding anniversary, click here.

To see what TIU executive producer Elizabeth Berger revealed about the finale’s time-jumping cliffhangers, click here. 

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