‘This Is Us’ Season 6: Why ‘The Train’ Made Mandy Moore Sick

The second to last This Is Us Season 6 episode, “The Train,” was emotional to watch. Now, imagine how it must have been for Mandy Moore to film it. After “The Train” aired, Moore shared her thoughts, including how the episode made her physically sick. 

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for the This Is Us episode “The Train”.]

'This Is Us' Season 6: 'The Train' -- Justin Hartley watches Mandy Moore sleep in an episode that made Moore physically sick
Justin Hartley and Mandy Moore | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Moore spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published May 17. Moore confirmed to reporter Jackie Strause that she did indeed have physical symptoms from reading “The Train” and explained why. The final episode of This Is Us airs May 24 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

‘This Is Us’ Season 6 episode ‘The Train’ was too much for Mandy Moore at once 

Moore knew “The Train” was coming in This Is Us Season 6. At least, she knew the episode with Rebecca’s death was coming. The script for the episode overwhelmed her even by This Is Us standards. 

“I think it was just the combination of everything,” Moore told THR. “It was saying goodbye to this character and in a way that I didn’t expect. I was so blown away by the beauty of this script and Dan’s writing, and just this general idea and theme of being on a train.”

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Moore already felt ill from the emotions of reading “The Train.” Then she still had to steel herself to perform it. Of all the emotional moments in the penultimate This Is Us Season 6 episode, Moore singled out a few. 

“I read the script four or five times and every time, my eyes were puffy and I couldn’t catch my breath,” Moore said. “It shouldn’t affect Rebecca quite as much. I think there is real levity to the sort of mystic quality to her being on the train. She’s excited to be there, she’s surprised at all of these people who are sort of making appearances. I didn’t want to portray my own emotions as Mandy. So I allowed myself to feel, to listen and be present and have some tears. And once I got a take or two out of the way I was like, ‘OK, I got that out of my system, and now I can do what I need to do!’ I was surprised that I felt that way about pretty much everything in this episode.”

‘The Train’ was the trippiest episode of ‘This Is Us’ Season 6

Moore also attributed her psychosomatic reaction to “The Train” a bit to the episode’s surreal qualities. While Rebecca lies on her deathbed in the future, she imagines being on a train. On the train, William (Ron Cephas Jones) guides her and reunites her with past This Is Us characters. 

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“There is something so almost psychedelic about this idea at the end of our lives to be able to have the opportunity to see different iterations of the people that we love,” Moore said. “I was so moved by that concept and the idea that, maybe that’s how it can be for some of us in the end. And for this woman to be given this gift to be able to go out the way that she does. Maybe there is this silver lining of her brain placing her on this train with the only thing that mattered in her life, which were the people that she loved. And this is really her legacy, it’s her family. And how she helped form them.”

The most emotional scenes on the set 

Moore said all of “The Train” was emotional, but could single out her interactions with William and Dr. K (Gerald McRaney).

He was part of something monumental that was a gigantic fracture and fissure in her life that she carried around for the rest of her life, losing a child in childbirth. And he was there, and he saved her life, more or less, and the lives of her two other children. Being able to see him and for her to tell him, ‘You always mattered to me.’ And for him then to reveal, ‘I thought I was going to lose you [in labor], and I think you knew that too.’ And also, to give her permission, to say, ‘Look at this beautiful, messy, crazy thing you made out of life. Even though you were handed such a dose of tragedy, you made something really beautiful out of it and now it’s OK, it’s time for you to rest. You really deserve that.” That just really punched me in the gut.

Mandy Moore, The Hollywood Reporter, 5/17/22

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