(Spoiler alert: If you aren’t caught up on “This Is Us,” or just don’t want to know how TheWrap thinks Jack will die during Sunday’s post-Super Bowl episode, then don’t read on.)
As everyone who loves football and good TV now knows, America’s favorite father, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) of “This Is Us,” met his untimely end on Super Bowl Sunday of 1998 — an event viewers will finally witness during the special post-Super Bowl episode of the hit NBC drama on Sunday. (Yeah, the time slot placement isn’t lost on us.)
While many clues and promos have made it clear the patriarch of the Steelers-loving family died the night of a house fire started by a very old Crock-Pot, we still haven’t learned how he passed. You probably have burning questions, and we have some theories you may warm up to. Before they throw you into a fiery rage, of course.
1. Jack goes back into the house to save Kate’s dog.
We see teenage Kate’s dog Louie, alive, after the fire in the Season 2 premiere. So, we know he gets out OK. Adult Kate has such an aversion to dogs she almost backed out of adopting one for Toby. Add to that the fact Kate blames herself for her father’s death, and the idea that the family made it out of their burning home unscathed, but Jack ran back in to save the dog — it checks out. However, this is the most obvious answer. That means it probably isn’t the answer, because showrunner Dan Fogelman is too smart to throw this nonsense at the viewers he’s been consistently duping since the pilot.
2. Jack dies in the hospital after succumbing to injuries he sustained in the fire.
The burned remains of the Pearson home were featured prominently when Rebecca drove back to the scene in the season premiere, while Kate and Randall were crying their eyes out at Miguel’s house, post-fire. She has a bag of Jack’s things — a notebook, a watch, his wedding band — in the back seat. This suggests that Jack made it out of the house alive with these items, but may have still been injured and taken to the hospital, where he either died later that night or was pronounced DOA. Still horrible, but better than burning up.
3. Jack goes back in to save Kevin — who ain’t home.
This is probably the most upsetting theory of them all, and luckily, you can’t blame us for it, as Cosmopolitan crafted this horrifying idea. Just because Kevin called Rebecca to tell her that he’s spending the night at Sophie’s at the end of the last episode, doesn’t mean she ever got around to telling her husband. Jack even says, “Oh, I thought you were Kevin,” when Randall comes into the kitchen that same night, and then pins a note to Kevin’s door that reads, “Kevin, if I don’t see you before work tomorrow, I love you. You owe us an apology. Dad.” So, if Jack doesn’t know Kevin isn’t home and if Rebecca doesn’t relay that info to him before the family is escaping the flames, Jack would certainly rush to the basement to save his son. But why would Kate blame herself for her father’s death then? Maybe she doesn’t really, and has been lying to protect Kevin — who never found out why Jack went back into the house — all these years.
4. Jack dies of a sudden heart attack or aneurysm or other freak medical complication.
Just because Jack dies on the night of the fire, doesn’t mean he has to die because of the fire or even inside of the house when it’s ablaze. What if, after successfully rescuing his whole family (and the dog), our hero drops dead due to a genetic heart defect, a brain aneurysm or some other underlying condition no one knew about? Come on, you have to admit a bizarre twist like this is just the kind of stunt “This Is Us” would pull on fans.
5. Kate kills Jack (stay with us here).
We know. We know. WE KNOW. This is a very dark theory that probably isn’t true. However, as we previously noted, Kate has outright said she blames herself for her father’s death. While this comment may simply be explained by theory No. 1, it could also mean she literally killed her dad. What if while the family was rushing to get out of the house, Kate knocked her father down the stairs and he hit his head or — OK we can’t even go on with this one. Let’s just pretend this isn’t even a real possibility.
The special post-Super Bowl episode of “This Is Us” will air Sunday after the game (around 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT) on NBC.