The 36-year-old actress was so overcome with emotion that she chose not to have anyone over while watching the episode, something she’s frequently practiced. “Because I’m so close to Ron, and I love him as a human being and an actor, and I’m sobbing out loud … yeah, I’m going to watch it by myself,” Metz said.
Her TV brother, Hartley, had a similar reaction to the episode, titled “Memphis,” and he understood why fans wished William stuck around longer in the present day.
“We all love him,” the 40-year-oldactor told ET at John’s Oscars party, reminding viewers that his death doesn’t mean the end. “Here's the thing about our show that's kind of cool. We go back in time, so he's not out of our story.”
In a recent episode, Hartley’s character, Kevin, shared a bonding moment with Miguel (Jon Huertas), Jack’s best friend and Rebecca’s current husband. It was a pivotal moment for the two characters, who haven’t had the best relationship up to this point -- the reason still remains unclear, but it’s most likely connected to Kevin’s late father Jack.
“I think that's why people related to our show so much because I think it's very much based on real life is and things take time,” Hartley explained. “Healing takes time and there's no quick fix. You can put a band aid and I'll help him through, but hopefully that's what they're gonna do. They're on their way to healing their relationship, or at least, get on better terms. It's an odd situation.”
With This Is Us easily the season’s most talked-about new show and already receiving a two-season renewal in January, Metz and Hartley reflected on why the show is having a huge effect on its viewers.
“When you read something that touches you -- it's hard to explain to be honest with you -- just gives you a certain feeling in your soul. You just feel like something you have to do,” Hartley added. “To me, it was the character; I understood him. I felt like the show spoke to me personally. For me it was just how do I get this job?”
“It was like, ‘Did you see what I just saw?’” he said. “It was that feeling of there’s something special here and I’m not sure if this is real or not. It was that moment of frightening horror and extreme excitement all in one.”
This Is Us returns next Tuesday at 9 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.
For more on last week’s heartbreaking episode, watch the video below.