After the Season 1 finale of This Is Us came and went without any mention of how Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia died, fans finally got a major hint at the cause of the father-of-three’s untimely demise during the Season 2 premiere on Sept. 26, and another on the Jan. 16 episode. According to series star Mandy Moore (who plays Jack’s wife, Rebecca), she and the cast knew details about the TV patriarch’s passing long before the audience.
“We knew the whole story back before we started shooting the second episode of our first season,” the former pop star, 33, exclusively told Life & Style at a premiere party in LA. “We know the whole extenuating circumstances around the day and around his passing.”
Though many pieces of the puzzle still need to be connected, Mandy said there are clues fans can look for. “Kate was holding a dog, Randall had a girlfriend, Kevin had a broken leg,” she teased. Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall, promised, “You’ll get the totality of how Jack passed away before the season is over.” Added Chrissy Metz, who portrays Kate, “You will get to see [why] everyone feels responsible.” Keep scrolling for everything we know so far about Jack’s death.
How does Jack die on This Is Us?
In the last few minutes of Season 2, Episode 1, viewers saw 17-year-old Kate and Randall’s reaction to their dad’s death, as well as wife Rebecca break down — in front of the charred remains of a house. On the passenger’s seat of her car was a plastic bag with Jack’s wedding ring, watch, and wallet. Now, we still don’t how if he died in the fire, but it was our first major clue into his death, and it should be noted that Jack had been working as a house contractor.
Milo previously confirmed reports that Season 2 would tackle the mystery surrounding his character. “[Creator Dan Fogelman] is going to give an answer, but it’s going to beg a lot more questions,” he said cryptically.
Recently, Milo admitted that fans will know how Jack died soon. “I am happy to know that the audiences are thinking about it and wondering, but I just keep telling everyone ‘just wait.’ The answers will be here very, very, very, very, very, very soon,” he teased. “I think people have seen what’s contributed to his death, possibly. But no, no one’s guessed it yet. I imagine that this one is going to hurt. It’s definitely going to hurt. In the short amount of time, people have really grown to love Jack. And Jack and Rebecca and the family and the kids, the adult big 3. And I think this is just one of those moments where you know it’s on its way. And it’s going to sting. It’s going to hurt. But I think ultimately, hopefully, people can accept and hold the memory of Jack with a full heart and move that into their lives.”
Did Jack Pearson die in a fire?
After watching the Season 2 premiere, it seems like the show’s writers want the audience to believe that Jack died in a fire. “There’s no fake-outs here. And there are no fake-outs in last season,” showrunner Dan told Entertainment Weekly. “Kate said she feels responsible for her father’s death. That’s a big thing that people have latched onto. We’ve not done anything by accident. This has always been the plan, so everything we’ve constructed has been for this. I think that it’s fair to say you’re not going to learn everything about Jack’s death next week, but you’re not going to wait until the season finale, either. It’ll be somewhere in between.”
That “somewhere in between” could be as soon as the Jan. 23 episode, since the Jan. 16 episode seemed to tease impending doom. Jack and Rebecca decide to join Kate on a trip to the mall, and Rebecca asks Jack to remind her to buy batteries. When they’re back at home later, she feels like she forgot something, but Jack says they didn’t. That’s when the camera pans to a battery-less smoke detector AKA the thing that warns you to run out of the building if it’s burning down. Oh no!
What happened on the Season 1 finale of This Is Us?
On the season finale, we got a hint about the Pearson patriarch’s fate when his daughter Kate told her fiancé Toby (Chris Sullivan), “It’s my fault… I’m the reason he’s dead.” As fans know, Jack’s marriage to Rebecca hit a rough patch when the Big Three were teenagers, and the last episode saw the devoted father accept a drink from his flirty co-worker Heather. But thankfully, the architect had the sense to stop her advances before things went too far.
So what did Kate mean when she claimed responsibility for her dad’s death? Well, the final scene showed Jack calling his daughter from a pay phone outside of a bar to tell her that he wanted to fix his marriage to Rebecca before getting into a car while drunk.
Naturally, this led viewers to speculate that the handsome Steelers fan dies in a drunk-driving accident. “My God does jack drink himself to death on This Is Us,” one person wrote on Twitter, while another said, “I knew DUI was the reason of Jack’s death.” After the charred house reveal, Twitter freaked out once again. “Nope. Nononono. NO. This is not OK,” one user wrote. Another added, “What an emotional and shocking ending … I’m stunned.”
This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.