‘This Is Us’ Producer Talks Horrifying Clue, ‘Bracing’ Fans for Jack’s Death

Did we forget something at the mall? Uh, yeah. You did.

This Is Us Jack
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

(Spoiler alert: Do not read on unless you have watched through the Jan. 16 episode of “This Is Us.”)

How hard is to remember to buy batteries?!?

Okay, to be fair, the Pearson clan had a lot going on during “Clooney,” the Jan. 16 episode of “This Is Us.” But fans everywhere will probably never forgive them for what the final scene of Tuesday night’s installment revealed: Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) absent-mindedly shrugging off the idea they had forgotten the one thing they went to the mall for, as the camera pulled back to reveal their smoke detector with a dangling wire and no batteries.

As every viewer who has been waiting to learn how Jack died for over a year now will remember, the end of the Season 2 premiere showed Rebecca crying her eyes out in front of the Pearsons’ burned-down house. And, of course, “This Is Us” producer Isaac Aptaker confirmed that Tuesday’s clue was definitely part of a plan to get viewers ready for the inevitable.

“We’re trying to brace people and help people prepare. I think I told you that this was one where the impact of it sneaks up on you,” told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a way of showing that there’s so much going on in these characters’ lives right now, and there’s so much that they’re dealing with. It’s so easy to make a simple mistake. Of course, looking back, we all know what that leads to, but life is hectic. Sometimes you forget to get batteries.”

Aptaker wouldn’t say “exactly what episode we’re going to see the death” but admitted “we are very close.” “We’re not pulling any punches. This isn’t like, ‘Oh, they’re going to get batteries next week,’ and everyone will be on Twitter cursing us. [Laughs.] You are watching the events that lead to this man’s untimely death.”

Well, that’s fantastic. Can someone remember to buy tissues at the very least?

And if you’re wondering exactly how this fire is going to go catch, Aptaker obviously won’t tell us that either. But we know it could be of the electrical variety.

“It’s entirely possible,” he said. “But then again, it’s sort of saying like how throughout our show to explore the way that life is totally unexpected, and we don’t necessarily see where the curveballs are coming from, yes, certainly it could be that electrical fire. Also, there’s lots of different ways that a house can catch on fire. It’s the kind of thing where you don’t really realize what’s important until you have all the information and can reflect on it, much like actual life.”