"I think we've checked the boxes," Dan Fogelman tells EW. "I think you're going to feel a lot of resolution."
This Is Us - Season 3

Tonight, the Pearson family lays to rest their matriarch. And creator Dan Fogelman lays to rest This Is Us.

That sounds rather funereal and somber, and, sure, there is some requisite mourning that will need to be done by the Big Three after Rebecca's exquisite train ride into the afterlife last week. (Sterling K. Brown's Randall is certainly having trouble writing a eulogy for his mother.) But if you've been watching NBC's time-jumping family drama over the years — and if you've been paying attention to the message of the show — you know that in some ways, the end is the beginning. (Except that the show is ending. You really do have to accept that part.)

"This one was borne out of the simple thing of — which has always been the principle of the show — you live on through your children and those who you've touched long after your death," Fogelman tells EW of the series finale. "That was the simplicity of the message."

"Simple." You're going to hear that word a lot when Fogelman and the cast talk about this final installment. "It will just be a very simple, quiet episode of after a very big, loud one," the creator says. "You're going to sit and live with this family on a really simple day in the past, and a really special, really important day in the future, which is the day of their mother's funeral."

This is Us series finale
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca
| Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

More specifically, the storyline in the past will take you back to the early '90s, when Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) spend the day at home with a pre-teen version of the Big Three. A large swath of the episode was filmed years ago, as Fogelman wanted to capture the young actors at a very particular moment in time. "The finale feels like a time capsule of a family; it feels purposefully a little different in a really good way," Fogelman says. "Especially because the way we shot it, it feels like found footage of a family that you really know, and there's something very nostalgic about it. I think it's going to be very rewarding and very fulfilling."

Fogelman offers up another an analogy to sum up the experience awaiting viewers in the wake of that overwhelming "Train" journey. "It's a real epilogue of a family," he sums up. "I've always loved when I read these sprawling family novels and there's that final chapter that gives you that feeling of closing the book and feeling warm, and feeling like you got a sense of closure for this family that you've just spent hundreds of years with. I think we've checked the boxes. I think you're going to feel a lot of resolution. I don't think you're going to get to the end of it and feel that you have missed anything."

Don't miss "Us," which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Say goodbye to the Pearsons with EW's special This Is Us edition, available to purchase online or wherever magazines are sold.

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Episode Recaps

This Is Us - Season 3
This Is Us

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • Tuesdays at 09:00 PM
stream service