After dropping the bombshell that Jack is no longer around in an earlier episode, “This Is Us” has seemingly answered the question of where he went.
In the fifth episode of the NBC drama, entitled “The Game Plan,” the Pearson family in the past consists only of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore). As the two become die-hard Pittsburgh Steeers fans in 1980, they’re also freewheeling young newlyweds who absolutely do not ever want to have kids.
That is, until Jack changes his mind and Rebecca is forced to confront whether that outlook is still true for her too. Luckily, they get back on the same page just in time for the triplets to be conceived on the night the Steelers win the Super Bowl.
In the present, Kevin (Justin Hartley) is struggling with his new role in a serious Broadway play – which only hired him for his TV fame – and runs into even more trouble when he’s tasked with babysitting for Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).
Accidentally revealing to the kids that William (Ron Cephas Jones) is dying, he then has to contend with their questions like “What happens after we die?”
Meanwhile, the parents have stolen Kevin’s swanky Manhattan hotel for a night of alone time and romance – until Beth reveals her period is late and they could be having another baby, putting a real damper on Randall’s secret plan for them to retire in 10 years after the girls are off to college. Spoiler alert: It’s a false alarm, and she’s not pregnant.
Back in LA, Kate (Chrissy Metz) throws Toby (Chris Sullivan) for a loop when she insists she watches Steelers games alone, later confessing that she’s not really watching alone, she’s following tradition and watching with her dad Jack – or rather, her dad’s ashes, since he passed away 10 years ago.
Given the timeline, we could reasonably assume this means Jack and Rebecca stayed together until he died, and she got together with Miguel afterwards, but then again, many of the flashbacks have been dedicated to the younger version of the couple fighting.
Whatever the case may be, this is likely the start of many family secrets to unravel as the series goes on.
“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.