Take a moment and breathe. Just breathe.
“I’m heartbroken,” senior Allie Sajda said quietly. “‘This Is Us’ broke my heart.”
A good chunk of America woke up with a feeling of sadness Monday morning post-Super Bowl festivities. The Patriots did lose, however, fans were also mourning the loss of beloved superhero-esque dad, Jack Pearson. On Sunday, the mystery of Jack’s death came to a screeching halt in this emotionally charged post-Super Bowl episode.
Self-proclaimed super-fan, Sajda, said she woke up this morning in disbelief.
“Well, I just finished the episode and I feel like I’m having an emotional hangover,” she said. I feel like I just got hit by a train.”
We’ve known since the fifth episode of “This Is Us” back in 2016 that something gut-wrenching happens to Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), the perfect specimen of a father and husband. The details were fuzzy these past two seasons. Jack’s death was a traumatic experience for the family and details remained on lock down. As the scenes weaved in and out from the past to present, the writers always dropped plenty of hints along the way through tearjerker flashbacks and storyline teases.
“I’ve been watching (‘This Is Us’) since the start of the series,” junior Rachel Seplow said. “So ever since they dropped hints that (Jack) was not there in the present time line, that’s when I became curious to see what happened with him. Specifically, I was wondering about his fate the first time we as viewers saw older Rebecca in the present time line with Miguel and not Jack.”
As it turns out, Jack didn’t actually die in the fire ignited by their faulty Crock-Pot.
“I knew last night’s episode would be an emotional one since it was revealed that we would find out about Jack’s death,” sophomore Krista Dillane said. “I thought for sure that Jack would die inside the house during the fire, but I shouldn’t be surprised that the show tricked us and made his death a little more complicated.”
Most fans suspected the same, but the writers are much smarter than that. The fire did destroy the Pearson home, but everyone made it out alive. Jack ran back into the blazing home, saved Kate’s dog Louie and even brought out a pillowcase full of treasured family possessions, showing his natural unflinching sense of bravery.
It wasn’t until later that night that Jack died in the hospital from a heart attack. He inhaled a lethal amount of smoke and went into cardiac arrest.
“When Jack went to the hospital for smoke inhalation and burns, I thought everything was going to be okay,” Sajda said. “He seemed okay. But then all of a sudden he had a heart attack. I felt like it came out of nowhere. It was totally out of left field and I think that’s why it struck a punch, a real dagger to the heart.”
Earlier this season we learned about the fire, batteries and the Crock-Pot. In the first season of “This Is Us,” we saw Kate (Chrissy Metz) watching the football game next to her dad’s urn. We also learned that she blamed herself for her father’s death, but we never knew why. Fans speculated that Jack perished in the fire, while rescuing Kate’s dog.
“I feel bad that Kate blames herself for her father’s death because I don’t see it that way and I’m sure Jack does not blame her either,” Dillane said.
The episode, of course, explored how The Big Three; Kate, Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown); are all grappling with the past. Kevin apologized to Jack’s tree, Randall threw a Super Bowl Party to honor his dad’s favorite day, and Kate opened up to Toby saying that her dad would have loved him and that he saved her.
“I was definitely thinking about my dad the whole time,” Sajda said. “The show just makes you cherish everything in your life.”
Seplow agrees and believes that “This Is Us” is probably the most influential shows of our time.
“It is a show that is not only realistic but also one that shows everyone has some sort of struggle in their life,” she said. “I feel that the reason that this show is so powerful is because of the raw portrayal of emotions and actions that come with the storyline and how to cope with such strong everyday topics.”
The complex and realistic storylines cover an array of thought provoking issues that most viewers can relate to.
“There is a struggle with body image, adoption, death, unemployment, following your dreams, break ups and so many more problems that every person may experience at some point in his or her life,” Dillane said.
“This Is Us” is giving the fans a couple of days to recover before hitting everyone with another brand new episode in its normal Tuesday at 9 p.m. time slot.
“The next couple of episodes are going to be pretty heart wrenching,” Sajda said. “They are going to deal with the aftermath of Jack’s death, the funeral, Rebecca trying to cope and the kids trying to cope, so I feel like it’s just getting started.”