Mandy Moore responds to backlash over “dark” and “disappointing” This Is Us finale

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Kayleigh Dray
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Fair warning, This Is Us fans: this article contains spoilers. Big, fat, juicy spoilers. We suggest that you leave now if you’re not up to date with the hit NBC show.

If you’ve chosen to continue reading, it’s time to talk about the emotional season finale of This Is Us.

When viewers tuned in to watch the episode – titled Moonshadow – they came armed with tissues. Lots and lots of tissues. But, though they may have shed plenty of tears throughout the devastating episode, fans couldn’t help but express their disappointment over those all-important final scenes.

Why? Because, despite the series seemingly leading up to the moment Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died, writers decided to hold this information back.

The frustration is understandable – and, no, they’re not just being morbid. As the series takes place over two timelines, we already know that Jack is dead in the future – we just don’t know how. Because nobody will tell us.

However Moore has now responded to fans’ disappointment.

Sharing a selfie of herself and Ventimiglia to Instagram, Moore began by discussing how honoured she had been to work alongside her fictional husband – before going on to explain why the This Is Us finale was “fundamental to the bigger picture”.

“I stand in awe of this friend of mine,” she wrote. “He is the ultimate partner in crime and he absolutely knocked it out of the park on every level in last night's finale. I am the luckiest. Can't believe we have 18 behind us and at least 36 ahead, Mi. Wow.”

She continued: “And for those somehow frustrated with the finale not revealing how Jack passed, I would encourage patience," she continued. "Otherwise you might be watching the wrong show. Last night was fundamental to the bigger picture. The story deviated and ultimately landed on (I think) a more compelling question... what was the state of this relationship in the end? And as Milo so eloquently stated, let's focus on how the man lived! Stay tuned cause it's all leading somewhere and we're just getting started.”

As she says, despite refusing to tell us how Jack’s life ends, the writers of Moonshadow did decide to explore another emotionally charged topic.

During the episode, they delved into the weathered marriage of Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), taking us way back to the beginning, when they first met in 1972 – and showing us the beginning of the end of their fraught relationship.

We watched as a drunken Jack put his life at risk by driving to watch Rebecca perform at a local bar, only to wind up in a fight with her bandmate and cause her big debut to be ruined. Rather than apologise, though, he berated his wife for being “a 40-year-old woman singing covers in a pub” and slammed her “ridiculous” career.

She responded by challenging him to name one thing he still loved about her – and, when he fell silent, she said: “Next time that you tell me that you love me, make sure you’re not just doing it out of habit.”

The pair decided to take a break from one another, with Jack moving into his best friend’s house to give him and his wife some space. But, before he went, he had one last thing to say.

“You’re not just my great love story, you are my big break,” he said. “And our love story, I know it may not feel like it right now, I promise you it’s just getting started.”


Speaking about the finale, show creator Dan Fogelman told People recently that the finale (which he described as the “darkest” place he’s ever taken viewers) has perfectly set up the next series.

“We have a marriage at a crossroads and a real low point, and we’re leaving the audience questioning a number of things, the main one being: We know at some point in this time period, Jack passes away, and what state is Jack and Rebecca’s marriage in when that happens?” he said.

Fogelman added: “We know that Jack has died, we know that it happened roughly in this time period – exactly when we’re not sure – we know that Kate feels responsible and carries in some ways the heaviest burden. We know that Rebecca in present day still wears the moon necklace [which Jack gave to her], which we have to consider, so there’s a lot of information given.”

He finished by saying: “For people who watch the how, based off the ending and Jack walking away and Rebecca clearly touching that necklace and thinking of him, I think there’s a reason to be hopeful even as we’re sad, which I think is a good mantra for the show: Hopeful, but sad.”

Images: This Is Us


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.