Emmy episode analysis: Milo Ventimiglia (‘This Is Us’) proves once again that he’s TV’s greatest dad in ‘The Car’

Once again, Milo Ventimiglia forced viewers to have tissues by their side during the second season of “This Is Us.” For his portrayal of family patriarch Jack Pearson, Ventimiglia has earned his second consecutive Emmy nomination for Best Drama Actor. He earned his first career bid last year in the same category for the show’s freshman season, which was unexpected yet a pleasant surprise. The episode he has chosen to submit to Emmy voters is “The Car,” the episode following Jack’s tragic death.

In his submission, we flash back to Jack, healthy and alive, and his family who are trying to find an affordable car at the dealership. Despite being out of their budget, Jack buys the Wagoneer because his children love it. In that car, we later see him drive his wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) to a tree and comfort her, as both nervously await her MRI results. After receiving good news, he predicts that he’ll be the one to die first and asks Rebecca to keep him outside, not bury him.

In another flashback, he teaches his son Randall (Niles Fitch) how to drive, who almost causes an accident because his brother Kevin (Logan Shroyer) starts a fight with him. As a punishment, Jack forces them to walk home, and upon arrival teaches them a lesson about the importance of brotherhood. When he spots Kate (Hannah Zeile) on a bench in town one morning, he encourages her to pursue music and takes her to see Alanis Morissette sign records instead of sending her to school.

In his final scene, we flash back to the moment where Jack sits down with the salesman to negotiate an affordable price. In a heartfelt speech, he explains the importance of having the Wagoneer to assure his family’s well-being. Will Jack’s emotional arc lead to an Emmy win for Ventimiglia? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons.


From his rehabilitation storyline to his tragic death, Jack Pearson was front and center in Season 2 of “This Is Us.” After receiving many clues throughout the first 31 episodes, viewers finally got to witness the events leading up to Jack’s death in “Super Bowl Sunday.” With all the hype leading up to it, it could have been underwhelming, but fortunately was the exact opposite. Voters might want to give Ventimiglia a hug for pouring his heart and soul into this role, especially with such a tragic and emotionally draining storyline in the second season. Also, Jack and the way Ventimiglia portrays him may be an inspiration to many fathers and husbands out there.

His surprise nomination last year and his return this year only prove that he’s beloved in the acting branch. Not to mention, “This Is Us” actors overall still have support from their peers with four acting nominations total – next to Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown in Lead Actor, Ron Cephas Jones and Gerald McRaney in Guest Actor. While Brown prevailed last year and is back in the running again, voters might want to spread the wealth by giving the statuette to Ventimiglia this time around.


Vote-splitting. While it didn’t affect Brown last year, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that it affects Ventimiglia this year. After all, Brown swept the awards circuit after his Emmy win, taking home the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG AwardS, while Ventimiglia was not nominated for a single one of those. Hence, it may be difficult for him to overcome his co-star and his other four co-nominees Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), Ed Harris (“Westworld”), Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) and Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”).

Overall, “This Is Us” under-performed in nominations this year, dropping from ten last year to eight this year. While the support in the acting branch is most certainly still there, it dropped from seven acting bids last year to four this year. Moore was also snubbed a second time in Best Drama Actress despite being Ventimiglia’s scene partner most of the time. Might this be an indication that Jack’s storyline was not in front and center for many voters?

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