This Is Us revealed Jack’s cause of death during the post-Super Bowl episode, and we couldn’t stop crying. Here are five moments that brought the tears.
It seems crazy to limit the times This Is Us made us cry to only five moments considering the weight of the Super Bowl episode. I mean, who stopped crying at any point during the saddest hour of television possibly ever? Bravo to you if you managed to hold your waterworks at bay for the major moments that were absolute heartbreakers. But if you’re anything like us, you were bawling.
“Super Bowl Sunday” brought This Is Us devastatingly full circle as it returned to the scene of the fire that marked the tragic turning point in the lives of the Pearson family. The episode didn’t waste a minute before jumping right into the flames with Jack as went full superhero in order to get his family to safety. He even leaped back into the fire to retrieve Kate’s dog and an assortment of irreplaceable treasures (including Kate’s audition tape and Rebecca’s moon necklace!). But even for a superhero like Jack Pearson, a fire can’t be beaten. In the present day, Kevin and Kate each grapple with the lingering guilt and grief on the 20th anniversary of Jack’s death, while Randall takes another approach that brings him closer to Tess. Here’s the five This Is Us moments you’ll be crying over until the next episode.
1. Kevin talks to a tree.
But it’s not just any tree; it’s Jack’s tree. You know, the tree Randall takes William to in “Memphis,” another moment that completely ripped our hearts clean out of our chests. Finally, Kevin surrenders to the feelings he can no longer run from. On the 20th anniversary of Jack’s death, he sits next to the tree and has an honest conversation with his father about his disappointment for who he’s been and become, leading to the mother-son heart-to-heart we’ve been waiting for. The kicker? Kevin’s not sure it was the right tree. That’s our Kev!
2. Kate lets Toby in.
On the anniversary of their father’s death, Kevin avoids and Randall celebrates Jack’s life. Meanwhile, Kate wallows and unjustly beats herself up. So, why does Kate feel as though she’s responsible for her father’s passing? Because he ran back into the fire to save her dog and, what’s more, her audition tape. She spends each Super Bowl Sunday watching the tape, crying, and stewing in the guilt. When Toby tries to communicate with a wallowing Kate, she doesn’t respond well. Let her wallow once a year! But Kate ultimately opens up to Toby and expresses her gratitude for him saving her life. Tears!
3. Randall goes into the future.
Please excuse anything else that happened with Randall because we must honor the life and times of one Mr. McGiggles (2018-2018), Annie’s short-lived pet lizard. We signed up to be destroyed by Jack’s death, but to be bamboozled by Mr. McGiggles? Anyway, This Is Us unexpectedly hops into the future with a middle-aged Randall and an adult Tess, who’s now a social worker placing young children into safe foster homes. Oh, how this show likes to pull our heartstrings as taught as they’ll go. Also, Deja’s back!
4. The fire, well… you know.
Here’s where we dig into the question everyone needs to unpack: How did Jack die? Well, he didn’t die in the fire, which kind of was a given since Kate has his ashes and Rebecca had a bag of his belongings. He dies later in the hospital, which comes as a heartbreaking shock to Rebecca, who just wanted to eat a candy bar after the worst night imaginable. Due to excessive smoke inhalation in his lungs, Jack suffers cardiac arrest. But let’s take a play from Randall’s book and celebrate Jack’s fearlessness and heroism in his final moments. More than anything, we can cease and desist with theorizing and hop on this emotional journey with the Pearsons.
5. Everything Mandy Moore did.
Right? Even though we went on this ride with each of the cast members in the past and present, Mandy Moore was truly our guiding light through this tragedy. Rebecca was the first to feel the pang of grief, the first to see Jack and register the meaning of this loss, the first to share the news with another loved one. Moore had a colossal undertaking with “Super Bowl Sunday,” and she beautifully broke our hearts. We’ll never forget this episode for obvious reasons, but we’ll definitely remember it for her exemplary work as a grieving but strong Rebecca Pearson.
What did you think of the latest episode? Let us know in the comments, and keep the conversation going over on Twitter at @thisisuscrying!
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.