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In what promises to be a tearjerker episode of the NBC drama, Laura Niemi returns to This Is Us as Marilyn Pearson, Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) mom. After a three-season absence, the character returns in an installment to explore Jack’s complicated relationship with Marilyn upon learning of her death. Niemi relates to her character’s “tough” journey and claims she “tapped into personal experience” to play the role.

Laura Niemi and Milo Ventimiglia on the set of This Is Us.
Laura Niemi and Milo Ventimiglia on the set of ‘This Is Us’ | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Why does the character of Marilyn return to ‘This Is Us’?

In a special episode titled “Don’t Let Me Keep You,” Marilyn returns to the forefront as the original Pearson family matriarch. She reclaims her space as the woman Jack loves the most in the world. Viewers will get the opportunity to learn even more about thier relationship. How it evolved once Jack moved Marilyn out of the abusive home she shared with her husband, Jack’s father Stanley (Peter Onorati).

According to an official NBC synopsis, the episode will feature a story central to the main character of Jack as he returns to his childhood home, where he handled his mother’s affairs after her death.

At the end of episode 3, Jack looks around his childhood home in a teaser clip. A woman answers the door, telling Jack, “it only took you 13 years.”

Another older gentleman addresses the Pearson patriarch, stating, “nothing was more important to her than your Sunday calls. You were her hero Jack.”

Jack is also seen standing in a church, ready to address the mourners who attended Marilyn’s funeral.

This chain of events will likely open up a Pandora’s Box of information regarding even more of Jack’s backstory.

Laure Niemi relates to Marilyn Pearson’s ‘tough’ journey

In a 2018 interview with People Magazine, Niemi said she relates to Marilyn’s journey.

The actor admitted digging deep to play the Pearson family matriarch.

“I tapped into some personal experience,” she explained.

“I was in a relationship that was pretty toxic and just wanting to be able to get out and not having a voice. It was just a dark place — I think a place a lot of women have been in. I could relate to wearing those shoes when it came to Marilyn’s marriage to Stanley. Also, the subject of alcoholism was relatable. I’ve seen what it does, and the hostages are taken under that disease. I knew her journey was going to be a tough one.”

Neimi calls co-star Milo Ventimiglia ‘a lovely and wonderful man’

Laura Niemi and Milo Ventimiglia on the set of This Is Us.
Laura Niemi and Milo Ventimiglia on the set of This Is Us | Ron Batzdorff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

‘This Is Us’ Writers Tease ‘Just You Wait’ For Episode 4 ‘Don’t Let Me Keep You’

Niemi said of her co-star, “Milo is my boy and such a lovely and wonderful man. He makes my job so easy, is such a lovable guy, and sets the bar so high with this character.”

Also appearing in this episode will be Camryn Manheim.  

The actor will play Debby, an old family friend of Marilyn’s. But based on the teaser promo for the installment, she’s not a significant fan of Jack’s.

In returning to face his past, Jack will have to deal with decisions made regarding his past and how these events will forever change his future.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.