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Major spoilers below for This Is Us' midseason finale, so be sure to watch the timeline-jumping episode before reading on.
Another big This Is Us question has been answered, with "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning" finally cluing viewers in that the "Her" of recent speculation is actually family matriarch Rebecca Pearson herself. As it goes with the NBC drama, though, having one piece of the puzzle does not necessarily solve it. Creator Dan Fogelman explained that this Rebecca storyline is definitely not one that'll be wrapped up easily.
In terms of where they're going [to see her, in the future], and what's going on there, I think other stories move forward and center, and some of those answers will spread out towards the end of this season and into the next ones. This is all part of very long, complex, complicated plan that we've really had since go.
That's probably not the explanation that some fans were hoping for, seeing as how it took the show an entire full season just to cement the fact that Randall, Toby and Beth are going to see Rebecca in the future. At this rate, we might learn in the Season 4 finale the name of the road they're all taking to get there.
That long and winding road ahead wasn't something that Dan Fogelman and the writers lazily threw together in the spur of the moment, though. The creator told Deadline that this is all part of This Is Us's grand design.
It's one of those situations where it's not just been cooked up overnight; it's part of the premise of this entire thing, so sometimes things get teased [in the future], but there are other answers being given in the present day that inform those things when you get to them. So a certain amount of things need to happen before you get there, to fully understand it.
Dan Fogelman presumably does have a point there. If he just plainly stated what the situation was -- for instance: "Rebecca is trapped inside of a whale's stomach" -- that wouldn't exactly give audiences the full context needed to grasp it all.
So through its naturally progressing story in the present, which will now feature Toby and Kate gearing up for a baby boy, This Is Us will continue dropping the breadcrumbs that fans will need to reach full enlightenment later on.
Anyone looking for other clues throughout the rest of the episode may have found reason to suspect Rebecca's conversation with Tess to be portending her own fate. But Dan Fogelberg appears to shoot down thoughts that Rebecca's comments about aches and pains are indicative of her own future. He said:
I don't think we were thinking of it in that way. I think the most important connection in this particular episode is the deep conversation and connection that Tess as a growing young woman starts developing with her grandmother. That scene was more specifically speaking to Tess' story in the episode.
Still, I don't think Dan Fogelman can look anyone in the eye and say that Rebecca definitely doesn't have any secrets left to hide from both her family and from viewers. She's got secrets, even if she doesn't ache from having them.
While waiting to find out what happens next, check out what's happening with that other Pearson family reveal, involving the news that Jack's brother Nicky never actually died in the Vietnam War. Note that I Love Dick actor Griffin Dunne will be playing current-day Nicky whenever the show returns.
With its ratings situation more uneven than it used to be, This Is Us will return to NBC for the rest of Season 3 on Tuesday, January 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Dates for new fall TV shows and midseason premieres are never far away, either.