This post contains spoilers for This Is Us Season 2, Episode 13, “That’ll Be the Day.”[hhmc]
Almost ever since fans found out the main secret at the center of This Is Us—that it’s actually the story of one family, told through parallel storylines that run in both the past and the present—they’ve naturally wanted to know the answer to another open question: how, exactly, Milo Ventimiglia’s lovable character Jack, the patriarch of the family, died. The series has dropped hints over the past few months, but the exact cause of Jack’s death remained a well kept secret—until Tuesday night, when the ordeal unfolded in painful detail during a gut-wrenching episode. Yes, a box of Kleenex is usually an advisable viewing partner for This Is Us, but this installment went above and beyond the tearful call of duty.
Most savvy fans had an inkling that this was coming, since last week’s episode revealed that the Pearsons of the past had forgotten a vital item on their shopping list: a battery for the smoke detector. On Tuesday night, Chekov’s faulty alarm went off—or, well, didn’t. One by one during the episode, Jack and Rebecca’s three kids opted out of family Super Bowl festivities, leaving Rebecca and Jack home alone. Kate went to her friend’s house, Randall had his first date with Alison, and Kevin went to Sophie’s house in a huff after a fight with Jack and Rebecca; only Randall came home that night. As Jack went to bed, he put away food, turned off an ominously lit crockpot, and left a note for Kevin saying that if he didn’t see him before work, he and Rebecca love him, and he owes them an apology. Unfortunately, the crockpot—which Rebecca and Jack, we found out, got from the family from whom they bought the house—caught fire, setting the kitchen ablaze. (As the old couple they got it from warned them, you have to fiddle with the switch to properly turn it off.)
That’s right: a faulty crockpot killed Jack Pearson. But there’s still one more question: what, exactly, is the deal with Kate’s dog? As we found out Tuesday night, dogs are a “sensitive subject” for Kate. Could it be that Jack died trying to save the little furball from the blaze? That, unfortunately, will have to wait for next week’s episode—which will air after the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4.
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