Spoilers below for Sunday’s episode of This Is Us.
If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan who also happens to watch This Is Us, Super Bowl Sunday was an absolute roller-coaster of emotions. The elation of that nail-biting win was swiftly cut with the reminder that last we left the Pearsons back in the late ‘90s, their house was going up in flames and Jack’s death was imminent. Way to be a buzzkill, show.
The NBC promo department promised that all of our questions surrounding the loss of the Pearson patriarch would be answered, and they weren’t lying. Jack wakes up in the middle of the night and smells something — and the smoke creeping in under the door confirms it. That faulty Crock-Pot has sparked a full-on blaze. Naturally, Jack goes into superman mode and runs across the hall to save Randall and then Kate. (Teenage Kevin is out with Sophie, so he’s safe.) Jack then uses bed sheets to make a rope and lowers his three loved ones safely to the front lawn. He is about to join them, until he sees his beloved Katie-girl screaming for her dog … so he goes back in the house.
HE GOES BACK IN THE HOUSE.
Just when you think Jack is gone for good, the front door opens and that superman comes stumbling out with little Louie and a whole bag of family mementos. “You are something else,” Rebecca tells him. “I try,” Jack responds. He is joking around, you guys, that’s how fine he is! Jack and Rebecca take some time to get the kids safely to Miguel’s before they take him to the hospital to have the burns on his arms and his lungs checked.
After looking him over, the ER doc tells Jack how lucky he is — he inhaled a heck of a lot of smoke — but for all intents and purposes, he seems to be on the way to recovery. Jack and Rebecca are playful, they kiss, and they take stock of the important things. Rebecca heads out to get a hotel room and check on the kids, and by the time she gets around to buying a snack for Jack at the vending machine, that ER doctor is waiting for her. He has terrible news: Jack just went into cardiac arrest and died. He’s gone.
In a heartbreaking scene, Rebecca doesn’t comprehend the information she’s just received. There is no way the man she just walked away from, the man who was very much alive two minutes ago, could suddenly be dead. And then she sees his body in the hospital bed. The amount of smoke Jack inhaled caused so much stress on his lungs and heart that it led to a catastrophic heart attack. The kind of heart attack they refer to as the widow-maker.
We’ve posted a full recap of the devastatingly sad (but also incredibly hopeful) “Super Bowl Sunday,” but consider this another place to discuss the episode, like a This Is Us emotional-support group. We finally have the answers to questions we’ve been asking since the pilot, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. RIP, Jack Pearson.