‘This Is Us’ Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: ‘That’ll Be The Day’ Sets Up Jack’s Death
This Is Us is gearing up to reveal exactly how Jack Pearson died, which will happen in next week’s episode following the Super Bowl.
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This episode, however, starts off with a bang, as we see the Pearson home ablaze thanks to a faulty Crock-Pot and a fire alarm with dead batteries. “That’ll Be the Day” is framed around the idea of running out of time. In a direct continuation of last week’s episode, we see Kevin wanting to make amends as part of his 12-step program, Randall moving quickly into his new business venture of buying his father’s old apartment building, and Jack in the past trying to get his construction company, “Big Three Homes,” off the ground.
At Randall’s apartments, he tries to fix all the problems in a single day – plunging toilets, fixing heaters, and repairing washing machines. Kevin even comes by to help and gets obsessed with the work by helping a woman tear down a wall in her unit. Randall messes up, though, when he accidentally leaves a hole in a spot he was working an a roach infestation begins. He and Beth have to relocate all the tenants to a motel temporarily, but Kevin won’t stop working on the wall. They speak and Randall reveals that he feels like he’s running out of time as he starts a new career at 40. “It’s hard to picture myself outliving dad,” he says.
When we meet with Kate, she discovers that Toby desperately wants to adopt a puppy. She reluctantly goes to a shelter (where we meet an employee played by Master of None‘s Lena Waithe) and meets Audio, an adorable dog but who comes with a lot of baggage. After a lot of hesitation, Kate decides to adopt little Audio, despite dogs being a “sensitive issue” as she said to Toby. Remembering the ominous season 2 opener that saw Kate comforting an as-of-yet unseen pooch after Jack’s death – that dog will be sure to come into play in the next episode.
We skip back to the past – it’s Super Bowl Sunday, 1998. All the kids are in the house at first, getting ready for the game or working on college applications, and Jack ominously declares that this will be the last Super Bowl they all share together in the house. Randall then heads off to see Titanic with his girlfriend, Kate heads upstairs to work on her Berklee application, and Kevin leaves in a huff, still upset over his football injury.
We see Jack in the past mirroring his children in the present – he is worried about his business venture, and decides to flip houses for a but before launching “Big Three Homes” for real; he is also insistent on fixing everything, just like Kevin. “Every time I want to grab a drink, instead I just pick up a hammer,” Jack tells teen Kevin.
In the present, Kevin finally goes to see Sophie to make amends, but instead she just wants him to leave. “We tried to squeeze a puzzle piece in because it fit once when we were kids,” she tells him, crying. “You really want to make amends? Just leave me with the past. Let me remember you at 10 or 17 or 20. Just let me remember you when it was good.”
When he returns home, he finds a package from his mom that contains his father’s necklace that he lost at his high school reunion. Charlotte had mailed it to his home along with the note that Kevin sent her to apologize. He checks Charlotte and Sophie off his list of people to make amends to, leaving only one name left unchecked: “Dad.”
In the past, we seen teen Kevin and Jack arguing because Sophie has been accepted to NYU. Kevin’s football scholarship has been shattered and he is upset. He leaves the house to be with Sophie, and we realize this is probably the last time Kevin will see his father alive, and it’s a moment full of anger. He calls home later to say goodnight to Rebecca, but refuses to speak with Jack. Jack leaves a note under Kevin’s door that says, “You owe us an apology,” but Kevin will never see it because it’s time for the slow cooker to come into play.