On the NBC hit’s season 2 premiere, fans learned circumstances that could have led to the beloved character’s death. And, as is custom with the tear-jerking drama, many, many tissues were required to get through the jaw-dropping moment.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead …
The episode opened with Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and Jack separated — but she decides she can’t give up on their relationship and tries to bring him home.
“I’m still really upset, and I don’t think I’m ready to talk about all that yet, but I shouldn’t have let you leave,” she pleads. “Because that’s not what we do. That’s not who we are. That’s not us.”
Jack insists that he is an alcoholic: “I have been drunk for weeks, and I thought I had it under control, like the first time, but I have a problem, Rebecca. And I’ve hidden it from you for a very long time. And I’ve hidden it from my kids, and I need to get a handle on it before I can walk back into that house. I’m sorry, baby. I am very embarrassed, and I am very sorry. I need to fix this on my own.”
Rebecca knocks on the door again and demands, “Get in the car, Jack. You are my husband, and I am your wife, and if you have a problem, we will fix it together.”
They kiss, and he obliges.
“A few months from now, everything will be back to normal,” she says.
Cut to the teenage Pearson kids sobbing as Kate (Chrissy Metz) says, “We have to find Kev. He needs to hear it from me.”
And at the end of the episode, Rebecca pulls up to a house with bags of Jack’s possessions, only to find it burnt to the ground, with firefighters surrounding the scene. She screams.
Did Jack die in the fire? Only time will tell — and Twitter is freaking out.
“I don’t know how to feel,” Moore said at PEOPLE’s screening in Los Angeles. “It was weird to watch it, but I’m so glad we got to watch it together. It’s nice to know that some piece of the puzzle.”
Clues included Kevin having a broken leg and Rebecca wearing a Steeler’s jersey.
Jack’s big reveal comes after endless theorizing, hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth since it was revealed he is dead in episode 5, “The Game Plan.”
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Clues were doled out, characters — including Jack’s daughter Kate — assigned blame to themselves, and still very little could prepare fans for the inevitable, “heart-wrenching” discovery.
RELATED VIDEO: This Is Us: Is This How Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack Pearson Died?
Ventimiglia’s costars, who have shed tears while watching episodes along with fans, have had plenty to say about his character’s eventual demise — even if they weren’t always able to give up key details for fear of spoiling the twist-heavy series.
“I think Jack died the way that he lived, by always trying to do the right thing,” said Sterling K. Brown, who plays son Randall. “His death is in fitting with the type of father and the husband that he always tried to be, even when he fell short of the mark.”
Ventimiglia himself asked viewers to focus on Jack’s life, saying, “I would urge people to … just accept that Jack has limited time, and know that every moment he has with his kids, with his wife, is going to be the most important thing to him.”
- with reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ