“This Is Us” reveals inevitable death


The long-anticipated momentteased since episode five of season one finally allowed fans to have closure this past Sunday. From that episode, viewers learned beloved husband and father, Jack Pearson, would not be joining the rest of his family in the present.
Last season, viewers learned that at some inevitable point Jack’s presence would dwindle and only live through the flashbacks of his children’s childhoods and younger years of his wife, Rebecca.
Through hints given out like crumbs, fans slowly started to piece his fate together. Whether it’s the flashback where we see his children, Kate, Kevin and Randall standing above his coffin as teenagers or Kevin in a cast from his career-ending football injury.
More so in season two than one, the timeline started to catch up to his ultimate demise, clueing fans in that it was bound to happen at any time. The opening scene of season two had Rebecca standing in front of their charred house holding a box of belongings, wearing her Steelers jersey, foreshadowing his death that would fall on their favorite day of the year: The Super Bowl.
Not only did they zero in on Jack’s final moments, but they also developed Kate, Kevin and Randall in their adult years, continuing to highlight how they coped with loss of Jack, or lack of coping, and how it affected them 20 years later.
In the present, Randall is throwing a huge Super Bowl party in his father’s honor. However, twins Kate and Kevin have a different approach. Kate continues to watch the tape her father took of her college singing audition that he saved during the fire, when Kevin typically gets blackout drunk and “sleeps with the hottest model who will have him.”
Kevin’s plans differ this year, as he watches the Super Bowl with Rebecca. He also decided to visit the tree planted in honor of his father to apologize for what he’s avoided since his death.
The episodes leading up to Sunday’s revealed the biggest clues, with the only uncertainty being the exact moment Jack would die. Two episodes ago, viewers knew Jack and Rebecca planned on purchasing batteries for their smoke detector when they went on a family trip to the mall; however, the closing scene pans up to the smoke detector, hinting to the audience that the batteries never got replaced. Kate’s unwillingness to get a dog also emphasizes another piece of the mystery, making viewers believe Jack died because he went back into the burning house for the dog.
At the end of last week’s episode, we saw Jack clean up the kitchen and turn off the Crockpot – or so he thought – that they received as a gift when they first moved into their home. The final scene cuts to Jack having left the kitchen and the dial to the Crockpot catching on fire.
Sunday’s heart-wrenching episode opened with Jack waking up peacefully before opening the door and being welcomed by flames engulfing their hallway. He rushed to wake Rebecca and screamed for Kate and Randall, who were trapped in their rooms by the fire. Kevin spent the night with Sophie, conveniently avoiding the fire and tragedy his family would soon experience.
As always, Jack heroically saved the day, rushing into Randall’s room and dragging him into his own to seek safety with Rebecca while he went back for Kate. After coaxing a terrified Kate out of her room, he grabbed her mattress to shield them temporarily from the fire with a blanket wrapped around Kate to protect her from getting burned. In the process, they safely made it to their bedroom where they could all jump out the second story window – with Jack only getting a second-degree burn.
However, Jack, the last one out and ready to join his family outside, hears Kate desperately screaming for their dog to come outside, as he’s trapped on the first floor inside the house. Jack, unable to disappoint Kate, even in a time of dire terror, rushes back into the fire to retrieve not only the dog, but some of the family’s prized possessions.
Gasping for air, his family embraces him and these last few moments are the final ones Kate and Randall will see Jack alive. While Kate and Randall go to their parents’ best friend Miguel’s house, Rebecca takes Jack to treat the burns on his hands and get his smoke-filled lungs checked out.
Throughout their time at the hospital, viewers can tell something’s off with Jack, regardless of physical state. He seemed to be acting in a way like he knew he was about to die and wanted Rebecca to get him something to eat from the vending machine so she wouldn’t have to see him die, his only request is that it’s anything but chocolate or something grape flavored.
Rebecca goes to get Jack a snack and book a hotel room, fully unaware that the doctors are trying to revive him during this time, and notices the machine only has chocolate bars and something grape flavored.
When the doctor approaches her, she has her candy bar in hand, ready to share with Jack. In a moment of disbelief and inability to process his death, she subconsciously bit into her chocolate bar as the doctor told her Jack went into cardiac arrest and died.
She chewed and started to freak out, saying, “Are you out of your mind? I think you’re mistaken. Can you back up and leave me alone?”
She then called for Jack as she rushed to his room, where she finds him dead. The audience watches as she falls to the ground and all background sounds are no longer audible as Rebecca flashes back to memories of Jack, when their children were born, up to her signing papers for his death.
She’s handed Jack’s possessions that he went into the hospital room with and walks down the empty hallway alone. The scene then cuts to Miguel’s house, where Rebecca approaches him with a blank stare. Tears welling in her eyes, she explains he had a widowmaker’s heart attack, a sudden form of cardiac arrest, and how they both have to be strong because she has to talk to her kids and ruin the rest of their lives.

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