If you were surprised by This Is Us' surprise ending, you weren't alone – so was the cast

By Brittany King
Updated September 21, 2016 10:30 AM
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Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Tuesday’s premiere of This Is Us left fans stunned after the show wrapped up with a big twist at the end, but they weren’t the only ones.

Spoiler warning: For those who haven’t watched the season premiere of This Is Us, plot details will be revealed ahead.

Within minutes of the show ending on Tuesday, fans immediately took to Twitter to discuss the shocking twist ending – everyone in the show is related! But they weren’t the only ones who gasped over the big reveal.

“Reading [the script], it started to slowly dawn on me. I remember specifically reading the camera pulling back and seeing everybody was wearing ’70s-style clothes and lapels,” Sterling K. Brown (Randall) admitted to EW. “And then Kate says, ‘What’s that thing that Dad used to say to us… about lemons and lemonade?’ I think right around there was when I was like, ‘Oh my god… I’m the third kid?’ My jaw was on the ground. I was telling my wife, ‘Ryan, you’ve got to read this! You’ve got to read this!’ and she was like, ‘It’s pretty damn special.’ ”

“I think most people aren’t clicking until he offers the cigarette to [Jack] (Milo Ventimiglia),” Mandy Moore (Rebecca) said. “That’s the moment where you’re like, ‘Wait….’ Even when I was reading it for the first time, I was like, ‘You can’t smoke in… a hospital!’ That’s when I was like, ‘Oh, whoa!’ Then they pull back, and you really see the television and what’s on the news…. I didn’t see it coming at all.”

“Even seeing it for a fourth and fifth time – at this point when the reveal is about to happen, there’s that shot of him in the window, looking in the nursery, my adrenaline starts pumping and I start to feel this tingling in my body, oddly,” she added. “And I know it’s coming, I was a part of this, but I have a very emotional response to it.

As for Justin Hartley (Kevin), it didn’t quite add up for him until the very end.

“I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t washing over me at all, until… the end, when he offered him a cigarette. I mean, I’m not going to be one of those guys who’s like, ‘I have a sixth sense! I knew!’ … I was like, ‘Oh, damn!’ Now I want to know the whole story, not only going forward, but I want to know the story going back the other way as well. You feel like you’ve got the whole thing, and then at the very end you realize you were in the middle. And you want to hear all the in-between moments and what happened when they were kids.”

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Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate, admitted she caught on a bit sooner than her costars.

“It was when the paramedic came up to Jack at the window and he said, ‘Oh, we have a baby that was left at the fire station.’ And I was like, ‘Wait, wait. What are they going to do with the baby?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I got it!’ ” she revealed. “And of course then I was trying to be Magnum P.I., trying to figure it all out.”

“But that was the moment for me…. [It’s] about not letting a terrible situation affect you to the point where you are just handicapped for life,” she added. “You make lemonade out of lemons. Because things happen for a reason…. It’s so beautiful on so many different levels for me.”

One thing everyone can agree on is that the twist was very clever.

“A, it was clever. B, it was something that was truly unexpected,” Ventimiglia said. “I did not see that coming… When grown-up Kate says, ‘What was it that dad said about the lemons?’ and then it cuts right back to Jack standing at the nursery window looking at the babies, you go, ‘Oh, wow. It’s a family. They’re all connected. This is how the show is going to work.’ ”

“And knowing the lessons we learn as kids, the experiences that we have, the idea of having the parents the same age as the kids and that kind of mirror reflection of what they’re all going through, what they’re all experiencing, it’s a very genius move by Dan [Fogelman],” Ventimiglia continued. “I mean, he’s taking the most simple story – it’s a family – but then you’re going to see mom and dad the same age as all the kids, and then you’re going to see them at different ages.”

As for the creator, he admitted that the pilot did a great job keeping things “well-disguised.”

“It was always designed to be exactly where it is,” he told EW in a separate interview. “It was written as such. Looking back on the pilot, obviously the locations are very well-disguised… If you have no idea coming into the pilot that there’s a twist in it, it’s pretty much 100 percent that you will be surprised by it. I found very few people who hadn’t. And it comes to everybody at different places in the last minute and a half.”

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on NBC.