After more than five seasons of Jack Pearson being the center of This Is Us, the show officially moved on from its narrative focus on the character.

NBC has officially ended This Is Us’ obsession with Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia). The family drama debuted its sixth and final season later than usual after it was pushed to a winter premiere. But This Is Us season 6 is proving to be worth the wait as it delves quickly into the show’s lingering plotlines, and it’s clear that be to able to move on, it needs to let go of This Is Us’ fixation with Jack.

This Is Us follows the Pearson family. Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) were gifted with three kids, all born on the same day. Given the show’s non-linear storytelling, it jumps back and forth in time; the timeline of the past follows the Pearson parents as they raise their family. The past timeline is how the show is able to continue incorporating Jack in its plot despite his death more than two decades ago. In the present timeline, This Is Us’ narrative continues via Jack and Rebecca’s kids, Kate (Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) who are all going through their respective struggles. Together, however, their biggest challenge is navigating Rebecca’s worsening Alzheimer’s.

For the most part of This Is Us’ run, Jack has been at the center of its storytelling. He’s been depicted as a flawed but great father, making him more relatable to a lot of people. Initially, the biggest mystery of This Is Us was Jack’s death, namely, where and how he died. Once that was resolved, the show introduced another mystery that revolved around his time in Vietnam, which involved his falling out with his brother, Nicky (Griffin Dunne). That was also properly tackled, with Nicky Pearson now spending time with Rebecca and the kids. After that the show continued to make Jack relevant in smaller ways. But This Is Us season 6, episode 2, “One Giant Leap” signals that it’s ready to move on from the Pearson patriarch. The episode signaled this by finally shifting its focus to Miguel (Jon Huertas) as Rebecca’s current and devoted husband. The pair’s sweet conversation in the car about preparing for a difficult road ahead was heartwarming and exactly what audiences love about This Is Us.

This Is Us Officially Ends Its Obsession With Jack
This Is Us Officially Ends Its Obsession With Jack

This isn’t a knock on Pearson patriarch whatsoever. Jack was a great husband to Rebecca and a committed father to the kids. It’s understandably still a struggle for some audiences to accept the idea that Jack is almost inconsequential to the series’ story now. After all, he’s a great character, and in an ideal world, he and Rebecca would still be together. More, it’s potentially still a struggle for some characters, as well. Miguel was Jack’s best friend, and it’s a bit awkward, particularly for people outside the Pearson clan.

Even so, it feels weird to continue bringing Jack up and connecting him to what’s happening in the present, especially when the Pearson matriarch has since been happily married to Miguel for years. This Is Us is tackling Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s, and to do so, it needs to fully embrace her current situation. It’s a tragedy that Jack died, but he did, and Rebecca found a second great love. It’s unfair for This Is Us to always cast Miguel aside when he’s also a great husband; he just needs the opportunity to show that.

Jack will always be a big part of This Is Us. He was the heart of the show, especially since he’s had a massive impact on the Big Three. It’s natural that his widow and kids would still carry his memory with them. But he’s no longer around and he can’t be of help to Rebecca or his kids now as Rebecca worsens. So while Jack will always be important to the narrative, he will and can no longer be the center of it.

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