This is it, This Is Us fans. Whether you’ve been watching the hit family drama since the beginning, have caught occasional episodes on the fly or have been meaning to get into the series at some point in your life, Sunday night’s special Super Bowl episode of the series is going to be the biggest installment of the show to date.
And the tears we’re expecting to shed as a result could pretty much fill up an entire swimming pool at this point. Because this is the episode in which all answers pertaining to Jack’s death will be revealed, and our hearts will be forever shattered as a result.
So how did we get to this point? Here’s a little catch up on all of Jack’s finer points to get us all up to speed ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
Jack Pearson was a super dad
In the pilot episode of This Is Us we learned that Jack actually exists in flashback episodes. He was Kevin and Kate’s biological father and he also convinced his wife Rebecca to adopt Randall at the hospital after their third baby died in childbirth. He was responsible for the moniker The Big Three and is pretty much always pictured as the perfect father figure. Because basically, he is.
Men and women everywhere have a crush on him
It doesn’t hurt that Jack is played by Milo Ventimiglia, who is pretty much the nicest guy in Hollywood. Seriously, he’ll pull over on his motorcycle to make time for an interview, and he’s able to deliver feel-good monologues in every single scene he’s in. Oh, and did we mention that he based the good qualities of his character on his own real-life father? That’s right. Our crush from Gilmore Girls is all grown up and we still carry a torch for him.
But Jack has his demons too
Even superheroes have their flaws, and Jack is no exception. Back in the first season we learned that while this guy wanted nothing more than more time with his family, and that he was willing to sacrifice everything for it, he was also prone to attacks of jealousy when it came to Rebecca. That, coupled with his hatred for his job, drove him to drink on more than one occasion. Sadly, addiction was clearly a trend that ran in the family; Jack’s father was an alcoholic and as we’ve seen in the present-day storyline Kate has a food addiction and Kevin has had trouble with pills too.
Jack was also haunted by the past
Although we still have to dig into the story, it was also revealed that Jack has a baby brother he always took care of while his father was off drinking. Unfortunately it looks as though that brother died, potentially while the pair were serving in Vietnam. Jack rarely talks about those days but they clearly sat with him and continued to haunt him as he grew his own family.
We’ve been waiting forever to find out how Jack died
When This Is Us began, no one on the production side actually knew what a big deal Jack’s death would turn into. His passing was originally alluded to in the first copy of the pilot, but right before the show aired the line was cut in order to prolong the mystery (the cast didn’t even know the line was being cut at first, and spoke about it openly during interviews). But as viewers got more into the mystery of it all it became a bigger deal, prompting the writers to rethink their strategy. Obviously the universal love that developed for Jack was a pretty big deal to everyone involved.
And our dislike of Miguel continued to swell in the process
Ever since we learned that Miguel eventually gets together with Rebecca following his best friend’s death we’ve been suspicious. And it’s not just us: clearly the kids don’t exactly love it either.
We thought we’d get answers in the first season finale
Kate has said that Jack’s death was her fault, and back in the first season finale she told him to go and make things right with Rebecca. And so we saw Jack drunkenly get behind the wheel of a car and head off into the night, where we all assumed he’d get into some kind of a fatal accident. But that was never the writers’ plan… neither was actually answering how Jack died in the first season. Despite creator Dan Fogelman openly stating that little fact over and over again, people still expected answers at the end of season one. So they were genuinely upset when they didn’t get them and Jack and Rebecca temporarily split up instead.
Season two has been slowly dropping hints about Jack’s death
Given how passionate people have been about this storyline, Fogelman and co. plotted the second season to revolve heavily around it. That’s why we’ve gotten key clues since the premiere, like the fact that Jack died in a house fire and that the family dog made it out alive. So yeah, heading into Super Bowl Sunday, it really does seem like Jack died saving Kate’s dog, and she continues to blame herself for it. As for us? Our hearts are breaking just thinking about it.
It all started with a Crock Pot and dead batteries
In the last two new episodes we learned that this entire death could have been avoided by two simple things: Jack remembering to install new batteries in the smoke detector, and Jack unplugging the damned Crock Pot after he cleaned up on Super Bowl Sunday.
Yup, everyone’s favourite solution to easy weeknight dinners was what started this massive fire in the first place, but no one upstairs sleeping knew because there were no batteries in the smoke detector. Obviously Crock Pot-boycotts have since gone viral.
And there goes Jack. The greatest white man to ever live taken out by a fucking crockpot… rigged by Miguel who distracted him from buying batteries for his smoke alarm. Levels. #ThisIsUs
— Rod (@rodimusprime) January 25, 2018
Jack’s post-Super Bowl death takes place post-Super Bowl
The timing isn’t lost on us. As we’re digesting our own bowls of chili and other Super Bowl snacks, the Pearsons will lose one of their own forever. But the important thing to remember as we’re elbows-deep in our third box of Kleenex is that we asked for this episode. We should have known that this show would pull out all the stops to deliver an inevitably heart-wrenching episode, so really, this one’s on us.
I know. It’s a lot (but you wanted to know!).
— Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) January 24, 2018
Brace yourselves. This Is Us airs after the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4 on CTV. As for the Super Bowl, the action kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on CTV, CTV Two and TSN. Meanwhile, be sure to enter the CTV Watch to Win Contest running during the broadcast, and checkout all of the U.S. Super Bowl commercials here in advance of the big game.