***THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE EPISODE “THE BIG DAY” (AIR DATE 1/17/17)***
The all-flashback episode of “This Is Us” goes back to the day the Pearson triplets were born. Focusing on just the 24-hours surrounding Jack’s birthday (which Rebecca forgot!) and the triplets’ arrival was a departure for the show, which usually fluctuates between flashbacks and present-day events.
One thing we learned from Mandy Moore (in an interview with Entertainment Weekly) is that those scenes we’ve seen before – the sexy birthday dance and the hospital scenes – were reshot for the new episode. The reshoot came with new information on her character, Rebecca, and she said that it was a backstory that she was unaware of while shooting the pilot. Moore said it was difficult to reshoot the scenes, because they were already 12 episodes into the season, but more difficult was trying to get the same scenes right:
It was trippier shooting the other side of what we didn’t see in the pilot of me getting ready with the lingerie and the cupcakes. It was definitely weirder. First of all, which you could never tell in this episode, but the way that our bedroom is configured in the house is diametrically opposite to what the bedroom was in the pilot. I just remember thinking, like, “I don’t know how this is going to match! I don’t know how this is going to match!” I have bangs that are growing out and we’re going to need to clip them back so it looks like my hair did in the pilot. And I was really, really freaked out about the bedroom and the way the bathroom’s situated, and how I come out. But they managed to make it pretty seamless, which I was impressed by. But it was déjà vu, like, “Wow! Here we were like nine, ten months ago shooting this, and we’ve come so far.”
The viewers get much more of the back story behind what was going on in Rebecca’s mind the day she gives birth. Not to mention that speech to the unborn Big Three…definitely a 5-tissue moment in the show. Mandy says she didn’t cry over her scenes, but she cried twice during the episode, and both moments involved Dr. K (played by Gerald McRaney), who spend the episode trying to come to terms with his wife’s death 14 months prior.
In speaking with the Television Critics Association this week, Mandy also discussed the physical transformation of her character, saying, “All the shades of pregnancy — from it being fun to being miserable. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.” The latest episode is more miserable than fun, as it usually is toward the end of an uncomfortable pregnancy, especially being pregnant with triplets. We see Rebecca duck tape Jack’s flip-flops to her feet, since none of her shoes fit anymore, as she walks to the corner store to make Jack his traditional birthday cake (and settles on a banana muffin frosted with Twinkie frosting). Mandy wore many prosthetics playing a pregnant Pearson, but tells the TCA it wasn’t just her belly:
I think I had four different sets of boobs. Seriously….There was like progression of like, this size boob, this size boob and then, like, gigantic. I was like, ‘This is insanity.’ And different pregnancy pads, yes. I was most interested in the different-sized cutlets that I had to put on.
Each episode of “This Is Us” seems to reveal another layer of dimension to this family. Mandy said there’s one more Big Three moment we’ll see before the end of the year, and she’s most looking forward to showing what Jack and Rebecca were like before they met.