The only big mystery that still matters for This Is Us is the death of Jack Pearson, played by Milo Ventimiglia. Creator Dan Fogelman dropped plenty of hints during the season one finale “Moonshadow” that Jack might die in a car crash after getting drunk, but that was not to be. All we learned in the season finale was that Jack and Rebecca’s marriage crumbled before he died. Will we finally learn how Jack died in season two? The answer is yes. In the episode, we saw that the Pearson family home was in flames. It looks like Jack might have died in the house fire, or at least that played an important part in his death.
In a June interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Dan Fogelman said there will be a “huge piece of the puzzle” revealed in the season two premiere, but not all the answers will be crammed into the episode. There’s got to be a reason to keep fans tuning in every week, after all.
“The first episode of the season holds not all the answers but a huge piece of the puzzle,” Fogelman said. He added that more questions about Jack’s death will be answered “over the course of the season,” but “that’s not to say new questions won’t start being asked.”
The reveal in the episode was so big that it wasn’t even in the script given to the actors. Sterling K. Brown told Entertainment Weekly that Fogelman held it back so there would be no opportunity for it to leak. In fact, the scene was filmed two months after the rest of the episode was finished.
“It is heavy. Anytime somebody passes away, it’s tragic, and it’s not something that you see coming, and because of the unexpected nature of it, it will catch you off-guard,” Brown told EW.
Jack’s death is a central mystery in the series because it is a major moment in the lives of the Big Three.
“Jack’s death is the hinge upon which this family swings,” Fogelman explained to USA Today. “It’s at the center of our show, but also at the center of this television season, exploring that hinge and where relationships fracture, where they come together.”
There are plenty of theories for how Jack died going around the web. We know that Jack didn’t die in a car crash. This was hinted, but the show chose not to go that way already. Another weird idea is that Rebecca’s second husband Miguel killed Jack, but Milo Ventimiglia shot that idea down.
In the season two premiere, we pick up in the past right after the big fight seen in “Moonglow.” But in the present, time skips ahead to the Big Three’s 37th birthday. They are all perusing their dreams – Kate is hoping to become a singer and Kevin is working on a Ron Howard movie. Randall is dealing with the death of his biological father and hoping to adopt a baby.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC at 9 p.m. ET. Brown won an Emmy for his role as Randall.