Super Bowl Sunday gave This Is Us fans a night to remember by finally showing how Jack Pearson died. And of course it was in an episode called “Super Bowl Sunday” that was set during Super Bowl Sunday and aired on Super Bowl Sunday.


The episode starts with flames coming out of the Pearson’s upstairs bedroom as we hear Jack shout to the kids to get out of the house. First he finds Randall and guides him to the master bedroom, which has the easiest window to jump out of. Then he has to find Kate in her room further away. He grabs her mattress and uses it as a shield as he takes her to the bedroom, his hands being badly burned in the process.

Once Randall, Kate and Rebecca are safely out of the house (Kevin is at his girlfriend’s place), Jack runs back into save the dog after Kate screams for him. He surprisingly returns with Louie and a pillowcase full of family mementos, making viewers wonder how he will actually die if not in this fire – though we know that Kate later blames herself for his death because she wanted him to save the dog.

Rebecca and Jack go to the hospital while Kate and Randall wait at Miguel’s. For a while, Jack seems to be A-OK. He even jokes with Rebecca about missing the post-game coverage on his hospital TV. She heads out to get a candy bar from the vending machine, not noticing the commotion behind her. The doctor finds her to inform her that Jack’s heart and lungs were under too much pressure from all the smoke inhalation and that he died of a heart attack.

In a powerful scene of Mandy Moore breaking down over Milo Ventimiglia‘s dead body, she then collects herself, fills out the necessary forms, and heads to Miguel’s, her eyes deadened and teary. She tells Miguel what happened and he breaks down as well. She tells him to take a walk to get himself together. “I have to talk to my kids and I have to ruin the rest of their life,” she tells him, “so I’m going to be strong for them.”

Most of the rest of the episode occurs in the present timeline. We see each Pearson child deal with Super Bowl Sunday in their own special way. Kate watches an old VHS tape that her dad saved, which she does every year. Toby jumps in and restores the video to the Cloud. At first Kate isn’t happy with that, but she eventually comes around and even gives Toby a speech in which she thanks him for saving the tape and for saving her. She explains that she never thought she’d get over her dad’s death because she is the weakest of the family, and she thanks Toby for all of his help.

Rebecca mentions that every year on Jack’s death anniversary, something strange and coincidental happens. This year, it’s Kevin who heads to the tree where Jack’s ashes are spread and talks to his father. He admits that he isn’t the man that Jack would want him to be, but that he’ll spend the next 20 years trying to make Jack proud of him. After his speech, he calls him mom to say that he’s not even sure if he’s at the right tree.

Then we see Randall, who always tries to make the most of the day because of how much his father loved the Super Bowl. He invites all of his daughter Tess’ friends over to watch, even though they don’t really care about football. While there, though, Beth accidentally kills their lizard Mr. McGiggles, and the family throws an impromptu funeral, which gets a little too real. Randall says that losing someone unexpectedly is “like a lightning bolt you can’t even see reaching inside of you and tearing out your guts.” Luckily Beth jumps in and throws on the Puppy Bowl.

Tess is upset, but not about the lizard. She feels like Randall is always choosing a new project and she feels ignored. He reassures her that even if they do adopt another foster child, she’ll still be his “number one.” After that, they get a phone call from who they think will be Jordan, who they’re teasing as their next foster child. But actually it’s Deja, and she’s right outside the house.

Then we see Jordan meet with his foster family, but the show throws a curveball. Randall walks into the meeting to see his daughter – Tess, the social worker, who is all grown up in this later timeline. It seems like Randall’s feeling toward foster kids and his experiences rubbed off on Tess. This twist nicely offsets the painful ones we saw throughout the episode.

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