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October 09, 2018 at 10:01 PM EDT

Beth fiddles with the wedding ring, seemingly remembering their conversation, and then she musters up the courage to push forward and tell him in that tough moment that she got fired. Is it a plausible theory that Beth will wind up running for that position instead of him, and he will play bass while she plays trumpet?
APTAKER: That’s a cool theory. Maybe. Yeah, sure, anything’s plausible. So much of the first two seasons, we’ve seen Beth is so incredible and is so solid. She’s unflappable. She’s Randall’s rock. The Beth we’ve known is so unflappable and solid, and she’s held down this job for such a long time, and she’s really been Randall’s support system and Randall’s rock as he’s had a pretty tumultuous two years with William and leaving his job. And now there’s a shift in the dynamic where Beth has had something happen that has really rattled her confidence and turned her world upside down, and we’re going to see whether or not Randall can rise to the occasion and be that support for her while simultaneously embarking on a very ambitious new path.

We learned that Kevin feels guilt for never asking his dad about the war when he was growing up. What was it about their relationship that Kevin felt that he couldn’t explore that with him? Jack did open the door one time, but as we know, Jack was a closed-off man when it came to that.
APTAKER: It was a combination of two things. Jack was not an easy person to ask questions about parts of life that he didn’t want to talk about. Rebecca, who was a full-grown woman, had great difficulty approaching those topics. And then Kevin was a bit of a selfish kid, especially as a teenager. [Laughs] He had a lot going on. He was very much all about Kevin, the football star, and then Kevin with the broken leg. He was very wrapped up in himself and not necessarily thinking, “Oh, I wonder what my dad’s backstory is.”

With Kevin’s curiosity piqued about Vietnam, and him sending an email to Robinson, we now know that we are headed toward the flash-forward with Kevin and Zoey going to Vietnam. How much more do we have to learn before they actually get on that plane?
A bit more. I don’t think that the first thing you do is instantly get on a plane and go to Vietnam. There’s a bit of the story and a mystery for Kevin to explore stateside, but they’re certainly heading there quickly.

BERGER: By the time he gets on that plane, we wanted him to be armed with enough specific questions that really makes this journey satisfying and still worthwhile to him.

APTAKER: When we were breaking these stories, we always came to it from a place of, what would you do if you were wondering this about your parents? How would you go about it with very limited resources and very limited leads answering the questions? So we did a lot of, “Well, if it was us, first we’d probably hit Google because you’re not just buying a ticket to nowhere.” So it’s a very practical approach to investigating a parent’s origin story.

We’ve seen Jack interact with the adult Big Three, but this was even more trippy than what happened with Randall and the mushroom smoothieHow long have you been playing around with that device — and what was it like to shoot that?
APTAKER: Oh, it was so cool to shoot it. Our team built the hospital nursery right off our kitchen set, so that moment where they walk from that room where Kate was delivered into the kitchen was real. It was so surreal to walk down to that house that we’ve been filming in for three years and all of a sudden there’s a hospital to connected to it. You felt like you were in a dream. And then Hannah [Zeile] and Mackenzie [Hancsicsak] and Chrissy are all there, they’re never together on set. The whole thing was just very like, “Wait, what show is this?”

BERGER: We went to the rehearsal and we were surprised how moving it was to see them all together, just because it isn’t a combination that we ever get t see together because why would we? And we’re always looking for those combinations we haven’t seen before and looking to find ways to put them on screen. And it felt like this dream would be such a natural time to do it that it unfolded origanically from there.

APTAKER: And then for Chrissy to get to work with Milo — she’s only gotten to do it with him in old-age makeup, so she’s never really gotten a scene with classic Jack. And putting them in that iconic ice cream parlor together — the whole thing was really exciting for us.

It’s poignant to see the wide-eyed enthusiasm of 9-year-old Kate for her life juxtaposed with how hurt and jaded and angry teenage Kate is — and an interesting dynamic to play out.
APTAKER: Putting them side by side, you really realize, “Wow, the death of her father really turned her into such a different person.” And then you look at adult Kate, and in a lot of ways, she really was able to overcome it and bounce back from that. I think that Chrissy and Mackenzie’s characters — little Kate and adult Kate — are a lot more similar than that teen Kate, because that’s the true essence of her.

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