‘This Is Us’ season 3 the start of Miguel’s redemption story, actor says

“This Is Us” fans may start to feel a tad guilty for labeling Jon Huertas’ Miguel as one of the heartbreaker series’ least-likable characters once they tune into season 3.

“Miguel’s objective is to be accepted by the rest of the Pearson family. So, it’s kind of a similar situation with me as an actor,” Huertas says. “You want to be likable, but it’s rewarding to take on the challenge of having a character that is not received very well and turning that around.”

The actor, who stars opposite Mandy Moore as the Big Three’s stepfather, got a bad rep for swooping in and marrying his late best friend’s wife, Rebecca. The series’ upcoming season will give fans the answers they’ve been waiting for when it comes to Miguel and Rebecca’s scrutinized relationship. Well, some of them, at least.

“We’re going to see why there was so much distance between the time Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died and when Miguel reaches out to Rebecca on Facebook,” he explains. “We’ve shot things that will tease how the relationship might start to be different after Jack passes away.”

He adds: “Jack and Rebecca, that couple, essentially, was Miguel’s best friend, because to him, there was no Jack and there’s no Rebecca. There’s only Jack and Rebecca.”

Fans took a breath after the second-season reveal that their relationship shifted into romantic territory about 10 years after Jack’s death, but knowing Miguel slid into Rebecca’s DMs didn’t totally put inquiring minds at ease. Did Miguel’s loyalty to his friend ever quaver? If so, when?

Huertas is confident this season’s storyline will kick off Miguel’s redemption by filling in those blanks and more.

“Miguel is still a strong character. There’s a reason he was Jack’s best friend!” Huertas says. “We’ll see more of what made their bond so tight. I love the long lead on this storyline.”

Below, Huertas teases what else is in store for “This Is Us” fans in the third season, and whether or not they’ll need to stock up on Kleenex.

Seasons 1 and 2 didn’t hold back on the tearjerker moments. How does season 3 compare?

I personally don’t think it’s going to be as sad. There’s definitely gonna be room for some tears. But I think a lot of the tears from the last two seasons were surrounding Jack’s passing and how it happened. This season, we’re going to have to deal with the aftermath of that a bit. But the family also needs to move forward. So, it won’t be quite as sad . . . it’s going to be a different type of season. We’re going to celebrate a little bit: Toby and Kate’s marriage and the impending possibility of them having a baby. There are plenty of happy things we can talk about.

The network has announced special episodes devoted to the spouses: Toby (Chris Sullivan), Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Miguel are expected to get the chance to tell their own stories in future seasons. Will Miguel’s air this season?

I’m not sure. I mean, I think just the way the show is designed, at some point, every character gets a centric episode. I don’t know if mine will air this season or next season. But it will answer so many questions that the audience members will want to know once we dive into the love story of Rebecca and Miguel this season.

What cliffhangers will we be left with after finding out more about how Miguel and Rebecca reconnected?

They’ll want to know: where are Miguel’s kids? How were they affected? Shelly and Rebecca were best friends. Is she going to come back into the picture? How is she going to feel about Miguel now being with her best friend? There are going to be these types of questions that will need to be played with (in that episode).

It isn’t often we get to see the spouses interact with each other. Will we get to see more of Toby, Beth and Miguel — or “the new Big Three” as you’ve called it?

We’ll see a little bit of Toby and Miguel going forward. That’s a really fun relationship, but you know, they live on the East Coast and Kate and Toby live in Los Angeles, so, it’s kinda tough to do too many scenes with them.

But working with Beth and Toby — I think Susan is such a phenomenal actress. Her performances are so real and grounded and, and understated. They’re just so, so, so good. Beth is funny, and Susan is funnier than Beth is. And then, of course, Chris Sullivan is amazing. So, the day that we shot the scene together in that bar, I was so surprised we got anything done because we were just having too much fun.

The season 2 finale left us with another burning question. Assuming you know who the mysterious “her” is that future Randall and Tess are visiting, were you surprised by the outcome?

No, in the context — well, I don’t try to get answers from the writers. I like to be surprised. But I have my own theory and part of it has been corroborated by other actors. I think I know who it is, yeah, and I wasn’t surprised, based on the context of what’s going on in that situation.