‘This Is Us’: You Win Some, You Lose Jack (RECAP)

This Is Us - Season 2
Spoiler Alert
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Sterling K. Brown as Randall on 'This Is Us' "Super Bowl Sunday"

[Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers from “Super Bowl Sunday,” Episode 14 of This Is Us Season 2.]

It would be a lie to say that the keyboard from which these words are being written isn’t covered in tears, because they’re absolutely drenched. Super Bowl Sunday may have been a win for the Philadelphia Eagles but it was a loss for the Pearson family as we finally know how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died. In the most crucial episode of the second season, This Is Us tore our hearts out but held our hands while it did so.

Last week, after it was revealed that the fire was started by a faulty Crock-Pot, speculation about how Jack would perish took the internet by storm. The key moments leading up to the fire were that Jack took time to pet Kate’s dog, he put her audition tape in the entertainment center, and left a note on Kevin’s door. All three actions were contenders for reasons why Jack would go back in the house.

Justin Hartley as Kevin

The writers didn’t leave us hanging for long, though, as the fire exit was quick, with Jack collecting Kate and Randall from their rooms after Rebecca (Mandy Moore) reminded him that Kevin wasn’t home. The family made a harrowing escape from the roof, but when Kate’s dog Louie started to bark, he dashed back in as more flames engulfed the home. It seemed there was no way that he could make it out, but in true Jack Pearson form, he surprised us by exiting the front door, dog and bag of personal items in hand. Among the personal items are photo albums and Kate’s audition tape, as well as Rebecca’s moon necklace.

Before Jack and Rebecca headed to the hospital, they dropped Kate and Randall at Miguel (Jon Huertas)’s house, and Jack seemed to get the all-clear at the hospital. But when Rebecca stepped out of the hospital room to book a hotel and call her kids, Jack went into cardiac arrest caused by smoke inhalation. And to say the results were devastating would be an understatement.

Faithe Herman as Annie, Sterling K. Brown as Randall

The doctor came to tell Rebecca the news that Jack didn’t make it just as she retrieved a treat from the vending machine. She was in disbelief but the harsh truth became clear the moment she reentered his hospital room to find Jack lifeless on the bed. Memories of their life together mingled with Rebecca signing for Jack’s personal belongings in a hospital office, and the reality of her situation became more and more apparent.

However, it wasn’t watching Jack’s demise that was the hardest part—it was having to watch Rebecca tell her kids what happened, something she knew would “ruin the rest of their life.” The beloved patriarch’s death wasn’t exactly what we expected, but learning the full truth does help us to understand Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) in their present timelines.

Chrissy Metz as Kate, Chris Sullivan as Toby

We learn that “The Big 3” have their own traditions for Super Bowl Sunday: Kate wallows by watching her old audition tape made by Jack, Kevin stays firmly in denial, and Randall celebrates his father by throwing a party. Meanwhile, Rebecca makes her late husband’s lasagna and watches the game in his honor.

The present wasn’t the focus of the episode but there were some interesting moments, particularly when Randall’s party went awry after his daughter’s lizard is accidentally stepped on. The resulting memorial for the pet wound up reminding him of his father. Kate’s audition tape got stuck in the VCR, but Toby got it fixed—phew! And, finally, Kevin promised his dad—well, his favorite tree—that he’d make him proud.

The episode took big turns towards the end, see the highlights below for the big moments outside of Jack:

  • Kate told Toby that she fell for him because he reminded her of Jack—his unwillingness to give up on her is reminiscent of the first man in her life.
  • Kevin admitted he needs to talk about his father more out loud. He also later joined his mom for lasagna and the Super Bowl.
  • In a turn of events, This Is Us took us even further into the future, revealing that Randall and Beth’s eldest daughter Tess goes into social work as an adult. And in real time, Déjà returned home to the Pearsons.

With everything that happened in “Super Bowl Sunday,” Tuesday’s episode should be very interesting—and you thankfully only have to wait a couple days!

This Is Us, Tuesdays, 9/8c, NBC