‘This Is Us’: Here Are the Jaw-Dropping Details of Jack’s Death

This Is Us fans have been waiting to learn how Jack Pearson died for over a year. And on Feb. 4, 2018, in the series’ highly anticipated post-Super Bowl episode, we finally found out what happened.

It was as tragic and heartbreaking, as anyone familiar with the NBC series might expect. But, despite the information we had about his death leading into the episode, This Is Us still managed to shock fans with the reveal.

1. There was a lot of fan speculation about how Jack died

Milo Ventimiglia plays Jack Pearson in NBC's This is Us

Fans have long since been speculating about Jack’s death.| NBC

We first learned that Jack died in the fifth episode of This Is Us’ first season. So, we’ve had a long time to process that information — and try to guess what led to his untimely demise.

Fans had tons of theories about how Jack perished. And while some were a little out there (he died on 9/11?!), others were pretty plausible.

But ultimately, This Is Us managed to do what it does best, and it surprised fans with the reveal.

Next: Fans had to patiently wait for clues about Jack’s death.  

This Is Us gave us tons of details leading up to the big reveal

Jack and his teenage kids sit in their house on This Is Us

Fans got clues about the events surrounding his death along the way. | NBC

The revelations surrounding Jack’s death may have been a long time coming. But they didn’t just drop this information on us out of nowhere. This Is Us has slowly revealed clues over the last year. We found out that the Big Three were teenagers when he died, and that Kate blamed herself for Jack’s death.

And early in Season 2, we got a huge clue about the event that led up to the Pearson family’s tragic loss.

Next: Jack’s death felt very true to life — which made it harder to stomach.

3. We already knew the Pearson’s home went up in flames

A smoke detector with no batteries

A previous episode highlighted this costly mistake. | NBC

In the This Is Us Season 2 premiere, we caught a glimpse of Rebecca in the hours after Jack died. She sat in their car, with his personal effects in the passenger seat, and sobbed while she stared at their home, clearly severely damaged by a fire.

Knowing that the Pearsons lost not just Jack, but their home, too, was a lot for fans to handle. And this reveal also led to further fan speculation: How did the fire start? Did Jack die in his sleep while the fire raged on? The episodes leading into Feb. 4 offered answers to these questions. We saw Jack and Rebecca forget to buy batteries for their smoke detector. We saw them accept a very old Crock Pot from their very sweet neighbor.

And finally, on Jan. 23, 2018, we learned the cause of the fire. The Pearsons left said Crock Pot plugged in after the Super Bowl, and a broken knob sparked flames on a nearby dishtowel, starting the blaze that would change their lives forever.

Next: Jack’s last moments on earth were some of his bravest

4. Jack showed some last-minute heroics before he died

Jack stares ahead

Jack’s heroic actions had dire consequences. | NBC

Many fans speculated that Jack would die trying to save his family. And in the Feb. 4 episode, their theories were confirmed — at least, kind-of. Jack leapt into action as the Pearson home was burning. He kept calm while he helped Rebecca, Randall and Kate all escape safely.

Then, he went back into the home to save the Pearsons’ dog. And when he came back out, he revealed he’d also managed to save some of the family’s most valuable possessions.

His heroics didn’t come without consequence, though. Jack burned his arm in the process. And as he and Rebecca made their way to the hospital, This Is Us gave us clues that he may not be as well as it seemed.

Next: Jack’s death, and its aftermath, were This Is Us’ most emotional moments yet.

5. Jack’s actual cause of death was a surprise

THIS IS US -- "That'll Be The Day" Episode 213 -- Pictured: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

The real cause of death behind Jack was a shock. | NBC

Jack seemed well, if a little bit tired, as he and Rebecca checked into the hospital so they could treat his burn. But after she left to check in with her family, everything went to hell. Because he was exposed to the fire for so long, Jack’s lungs were severely damaged from smoke inhalation. And that caused his heart to fail.

Rebecca learned the news while she was trying to eat a candy bar from the vending machine. At first, she didn’t believe the doctor. But when she saw her husband lying on his bed, she collapsed with grief. And then, she had to do the hard work of telling her already traumatized children that they no longer had a father.

Next: This Is Us fans were shocked by the true cause of Jack’s death

6. Fans were surprised and devastated

A screenshot of Milo Ventimiglia's twitter

Milo Ventimiglia shared these comforting words to fans. | Milo Ventimiglia via Twitter

We all knew it was coming. But Jack’s death was still a truly devastating moment for all This Is Us fans. They shared their grief online, with some fans saying it felt like they’d lost a family member or friend.

The cast tweeted with fans during the episode, offering words of encouragement and hope. Milo Ventimiglia told those struggling with Jack’s death, “Just so everyone knows it….#JackPearson lives in all of our hearts. He’s you. He’s me. He’s Us. Thank you all for supporting our show. We love you all :) And this isn’t the end of Jack. Stay tuned.”

Many of us were prepared to see him succumb to his death in the flames. So the real fact of his death — quiet, alone, in a hospital bed — felt shocking.

But even through the sadness, This Is Us offered fans a glimmer of hope for what’s to come.

Next: It’s not all misery for This Is Us fans.

7. This is Us’ Super Bowl episode ended with another, happier surprise

A grown-up version of Tess leans forward

Fans got to see a grown-up version of Tess. | NBC

Sometimes, after a huge episode, TV shows struggle to move on. But This Is Us showed fans they weren’t planning on slowing the story down. In the final moments of the Feb. 4 episode, we learned that we’ve been witnessing another surprising time jump. And it helped set the stage for what we can expect next.

In Season 2, we’ve seen glimpses of a young boy in foster care. Many fans thought it would be Randall and Beth’s new adoptee. But we saw that it is actually a child that an adult Tess is helping to place. And we also got a glimpse of a much older Randall.

It was a much-needed coda to an otherwise somber episode. Because showed us that Tess, too, is continuing Jack’s legacy. And it reminded us that these characters lives will go on.

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.

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