NBC’s groundbreaking family drama This is UsThe sixth and final season of the intergenerational family drama is ending and we are truly sad. While there are no amount of tissues in the world to hold in our feelings about the intergenerational family saga’s last goodbye, we’ve still got plenty of loose ends to tie up — like who is actor Griffin Dunne’s Uncle Nicky Pearson married to in the future? Social media was initially obsessed with trying to find clues throughout the seasons, and first hinting at a relationship during the Season 4 finale when fans saw him with a wedding band. However, audiences were shown tonight that nothing is what it seems. One chance encounter can change your whole life. [Spoilers are ahead for Season 6, Episode 2: “One Giant Leap.”]
Dunne talks exclusively to PopCulture.com regarding the second episode of Season 6 entitled “One Giant Leap.” Dunne discusses the Nicky-centric chapter which finds his character on a roadtrip with Rebecca (Mandy Moore), and Miguel (Jon Huertas). Nicky is determined to confront his ex-love, Sally, after initially refusing to join the Vietnam War. He soon learns that Sally is married, but unhappily. She has let go of her photography dreams and expresses feelings of being trapped in a strained relationship with her husband, Eric — something she mentions during the “most awkward meal of all-time” between the Pearsons and Eric. It seems that Nicky, Sally, and Eric might rekindle their 50-year-old relationship, but they reminisce with a moonlit sky and go their separate ways, sharing mutual love and respect, and teasing that they’ll meet again in half a century.
The most significant reveal of Nicky’s chapter is when he is seated in a plane. He has just told Rebecca and Miguel that he will be traveling east to finish the Pearson cabin Jack Ventimiglia (Milo Ventimiglia), had wanted to build. It is then audiences see him flirting with a vivacious flight attendant named Edie, who just so happens to also be — surprise, surprise — his wife, who we see in the flash-forward pulls up to the Pearson home as they all gather round for Rebecca’s last moments. After exchanging a few words, she turns to Nicky and shares a kiss with him.
Nicky’s huge love affair with Nicky
PopCulture hears from Dunne that the revelation was also a surprise to him, but one that he was pleased with. “I didn’t see that coming. Dunne said, “I just got to smile big.” “We’re kept in suspense about what happens. They really love to surprise us. I was thinking of a massive Sally arc. That would have to be a long-running thing. I love being challenged in my expectations. When I read it for the first time, I felt a chill and a smile when I saw that they had connected on that plane. It was quite a surprise.
Dunne says it’s a tease of a romantic relationship full of sweet, flirtatious banter. “I think also it is so beautifully laid out in that he has just low expectations and doesn’t believe that his time will arrive, and those around him who are passionate about him try to dissuade that notion. And he punishes himself for not following through with his unrequited love for someone from 30 years ago or more,” he said, adding how all those around Nicky, including Rebecca, believes “there’s something bigger at work” for him — an element that plays true to real life. “You’re not looking to find love, and you’re not looking at each face on every dating date. You’re asking yourself, ‘Is it the one?’ Is this the right one? You are imbuing your own neuroses, expectations, and desires on someone. It’s a way of expecting the worst. It was not something I planned. That’s how it should go. That’s how it should be.
Dunne tells PopCulture that Nicky and Edie’s relationship is one that is “deserved”. “It’s been fought for and won, and possible that people — I play a character in his seventies, and that there’s a chance for everyone to find someone,” he said. “There is something incredibly beautiful about a man meeting the right woman in August years. I think that’s a trait that I can confidently say, without giving away anything, that Nicky deserves a chance at life.”
Nicky’s evolving relationship to Rebecca
Many fans will credit Rebecca for encouraging Nicky to meet Sally so that he could get on a plane to meet the love of their lives. However, Dunne believes the dynamic between Moore and Moore’s maternal grandmother will only grow stronger as Moore’s health declines. As her Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the plaque buildup will cause her memory loss. Nicky will lose a part of Jack he never knew. Dunne said that the on-screen relationship between Nicky & Rebecca is very personal to him due to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. aunt Joan Didion’s death last month. “I was very, very close” [her]… She was very ill, and she had Parkinson’s. When her husband died suddenly a decade back, my father took over to be her protector. My father died, and I became her protector. I think that about Nicky — that he is the next in line,” he said, sharing how in the flash-forwards we see Nicky by Rebecca’s bedside, alluding to a much deeper relationship between the two.
He stated that despite his problems with alcoholism and PTSD, they are being sidelined by Rebecca giving the love back. While I don’t know the details of what brought him to that bedside but I do believe that he stepped up to be the one in her generation to be beside her. “I cannot wait to see how that happens. But if you ask how I think that happens, it was his turn in this line of life. It just — Jack died and then whatever happened to her husband after that, it’s just there was Nicky, ready and available.”
PopCulture hears from Moore and Dunne about their amazing chemistry, which makes their on-screen relationship all the more admirable. This is UsThe final season of the series will highlight the deeper relationship between the two. “I’m hoping because Mandy and I — we really, really do enjoy working together. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that has existed since the beginning. “It’s so fun to work with someone young and beautiful like Mandy, playing a tier in senior citizen,” he stated. “That’s all I’ve ever seen of her and so every time she appears at a public event or I meet her at a restaurant I have to adjust my vision. ‘Wait a minute. God, you are so beautiful and young. My God.
Moore admits that he has the “earliest calls ever” on set due to Rebecca’s dramatic makeover. He goes on about how every time Moore sees her, it reminds him of Ellen Griffin, his mother. He exclaimed in amazement, “I can’t tell you.” “I loved my mother, their vibe is so identical, and the warmth. So I always feel — whenever I see Mandy and she’s in that makeup — a part of my heart always melts.”
As This is Us Dunne most effectively relates the wonders of kismet or destiny to PopCulture, a timeless theme on television that is rarely seen today. Dunne tells PopCulture it is one of his biggest draws to the show’s strong emotional appeal. “I think that’s a favorite thing about the show and being a part of the show. He said that they aren’t trying to force it into the ground, but rather rely on kismet. “I am at a point in my life where I can see my parents from a different perspective. I picture them as young people. I couldn’t do that when I was younger. I am aware of their struggles as young parents raising children and I can see how that affects how I have been as a father, whether it’s for good or bad.
Griffin explains how he lives a life where coincidences and things make sense later. He also recalls a time when he received a “signal” that pointed to certain aspects of his life. “The connections I have and the coincidences — things happen. This is something that I think everyone feels, but it seems to be me more than usual. He said that he was open to it because he noticed it. “Kismet has been a familiar theme in my life and that’s why it’s so beautiful to see it on the show.”
Griffin says he responds to stories that have heartfelt performances and compelling writing, which intertwine such universal themes of fate and serendipity. He said, “I think we all love being surprised by their scripts as they come in. I arrived at the show halfway through, so they were already a welloiled machine, but I just fitted right in the first ten minutes of being there.” “I think that we all look at our characters and know who we are. There’s very little self-doubt and questioning about how we relate to each other and to our characters. It feels like a family within the family. Everyone sees the same vision as Dan. [Fogelman]When he first created this show, he had a lot of fun.”
Looking back This is Us
Looking back on his own journey with This is UsGriffin is more interested in how he feels next than what he is doing. “I feel like I have this. He laughed, “I have more members of this family on TV than I do in my real life.” “I will miss you all terribly and it gets more emotional as we get closer.” It’s important that we all just enjoy the moment and not look ahead. It’ll be very heavy when it’s over.