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Inside Jack & Rebecca's Unforgettable "Explosive" Fight From the Season 1 Finale

For many fans the argument from This is Us' "Moonshadow" episode is one of the biggest moments of the series.

By Jackie Manno

This Is Us has seen some intense moments throughout its six-season run, but a particular heated argument during the end of Season 1 is one for the books.

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Season 1, Episode 15, titled "Jack Pearson's Son" saw the start of one of the most gut-wrenching fights between our favorite TV couple. Yes, we're talking Jack and Rebecca's infamous Valentine's Day confrontation.

It all began when Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) expresses desire to go on tour with her band, which her husband, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), reluctantly agrees to. However, her bandmate Ben later casually mentions to Jack that he and Rebecca used to date. Jack, already suspicious that Ben has feelings for Rebecca, becomes upset that Rebecca hid this information from him.

Rebecca explains that the reason she didn't tell Jack about her history with Ben was because it was a mere two-month fling when she was only 19 that didn't mean anything. She also chose not to tell Jack about the situation because she was worried about his angry reaction, and that he'd try to stop her from touring, and her prediction actually ended up being correct.

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However, this was just the first of two blowups between the couple in the first season.

Rebecca and Jack Pearson's harrowing fight in Season 1's finale "Moonshadow"

Jack and Rebecca fighting in front of a T.V on This Is Us on Season 1 episode 18

Then, in Season 1, Episode 18, "Moonshadow", things escalate even more when the subject of Rebecca touring comes up again. Neither Rebecca nor Jack seem to be able to let things go, and the same argument gets incredibly explosive.

Rebecca desperately declares that she has "no life" outside her family and feels unsupported by Jack, something that Jack takes great offense to. The two then begin to hurl emotionally charged, deep-cutting low-blows at each other. Jack insults Rebecca's career, while Rebecca compares Jack to his abusive father. 

The argument was so devastating, that Jack later has his first drink in years, relapsing as a recovering alcoholic. In the years since, the "Moonshadow" fight is repeatedly discussed amongst fans as one of the most heartbreaking scenes from the series that they'll never forget.

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In an interview with EW in 2017, the show's creator Dan Fogelman reflected on the episode.

"When we have these moments of crises in our marriages and our relationships, no one person is all the time right or wrong," he said. "It’s very complicated, and whenever we’ve been in this time period with Jack and Rebecca, there’s been an undercurrent of age in the marriage. This marriage has aged, and you feel it specifically when it butts up against the younger versions of themselves."

He continued, "Time can exacerbate the small problems and allow for a really bad misstep like the one Jack makes here to lead to something more explosive."

Dan Fogelman talks about Jack and Rebecca's painful Season 1 finale argument

Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) And Rebecca (Mandy Moore) on This Is Us

Fogelman further explained what made the scene different from other face-offs we'd seen on the show at that time. 

"I find that moment of the fight really unsettling and also really just interesting, and all the things we’ve spent the first season of this show showing is very much at the crux of what they’re fighting about. From the moment they started talk of a family that Rebecca wasn’t quite ready — she didn’t want it — to her relationship with her mother and her career has been a complicatedly fraught one throughout," he told the outlet. 

Mandy Moore discusses the infamous "Moonshadow" episode

In a 2017 interview with People, Moore described how the distressing argument changed Rebecca and Jack's marriage permanently. 

Jack and Rebecca Embark on an Adventure

"I think [there’s] the underlying sentiment of her values and her desires not being viewed as valid," she explained. "And from my perspective, Jack really has only seen her through the lens of mother and wife. That was the deal that they struck when they got married and ultimately he wasn’t able to see past it. He wasn’t secure enough to be able to support this endeavor for her."

She continued: "If we’re really going to distill it down, you can’t take that stuff back. There is a way to find forgiveness, but you never forget those things. We’ve all been in those fights and sometimes things get said and there is no pulling back from it. And they both come to that conclusion the next day; he doesn’t fight for it and she doesn’t fight for it. That line has been crossed, and the only way that there will ever be understanding or some semblance of reconciliation is if they take a breath and get some air, because, oooh, the things that were said were just so ultimately devastating and detrimental to the fabric of a relationship."