Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) is going to die on This Is Us sooner rather than later. As the show prepares to reveal how the patriarch of the Pearson family leaves this earth, it is also moving another father figure closer to center stage.
Miguel (Jon Huertas) has been a troublesome figure for This Is Us fans since Episode 2, until the sophomore season revealed that he and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) didn't actually start their mid-life courtship until a decade after Jack's death. As Miguel pointed out in last Tuesday's episode, "Fifth Wheel," he's been on the outside of the Pearson family since the moment he entered it. Well, he might finally be getting a foot in the door.
Tuesday's episode, "Clooney," saw Kevin (Justin Hartley) moving in with Rebecca and Miguel to establish a routine and settle his life post-rehab before returning to the pressures of Los Angeles and fame. Kevin has always given Miguel the cold shoulder, and it seems that not much had changed when he first entered the house. The icy tension eventually turned into a blunt conversation where Kevin finally asked Miguel if he always had feelings for Rebecca — even when Jack was alive — and Miguel explained that he didn't. He also pronounced that he does love Rebecca now and he wasn't going to stand for Kevin laying into her the way he did in his therapy session.
Later, Rebecca described her relationship with Miguel as "older" and "quieter" than what she had with Jack, but she's happy and Miguel "makes her laugh so much." Kevin has matured enough to see that Rebecca is genuinely happy and his relationship with Miguel was gotten stronger after a tough start. As Kevin's warms up to Miguel, so too can the audience to embrace Miguel as a legitimate part of the family.
It's been a slow burn for This Is Us to bring Miguel into the family, but the move to make him a more central figure comes as the reveal of Jack's death looms closer. The final scene of the episode flashed back to reveal that Jack and Rebecca forgot to pick up batteries from the mall — batteries for the smoke detecter in the hallway of their home. It's another small clue of what went wrong the night the Pearson family home burned down and how Jack died.
The audience will never see Miguel as a replacement for Jack, and Miguel would never want them to. The family and the audience will have to figure out a way to move on once Jack passes though, and Miguel might be an integral part of how they do that.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.