All The Clues We Have About How Jack Dies On This Is Us

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
At long last, This Is Us is finally opening up about the show’s greatest mystery: how Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) died. Since the NBC mega-hit has played with our emotions since the season 1 premiere, it’s easy to question whether this is another elaborate manipulation. Maybe the gutting ending of season 2 debut "A Father's Advice" isn’t even about Jack’s demise? Well, everyone who’s become a "paranoiac" since becoming a This Is Us fan, rest assured, we’re really and truly getting details on Jack’s death at long last.
"In the first episode of the second season, it will be, for lack of a better example, a Breaking Bad set of imagery that shows you the day-slash-night that he died," creator Dan Fogelman recently admitted to Entertainment Weekly of the way he originally envisioned the show. And, now he’s confirmed he’s stuck to that plan.
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Although we’re only at the very start of season 2, viewers have already gotten a load of clues as to how Jack died, and what events lead to the Pearson family’s traumatic loss. To help you figure out the series’ biggest question, we’ve gathered all of those details into a handy guide. Keep reading to find out all the secrets you may have missed. Since this is This Is Us we’re talking about, it’s probably a good idea to keep the tissues close.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
The Fire

Obviously, the biggest hint we get about Jack’s death is the charred remains of the Pearson family home. We see Rebecca (Mandy Moore) pull up to the house, and the camera focuses on the red mailbox out front, which reads "Pearson." It’s the same red mailbox we see highlighted when a Teen Randall (Niles Fitch) ditches a high school party where no one is paying attention to him in favor of his house.

Then, the camera shows us the house from Rebecca perspective — the entire thing is burnt to a crisp, safety tape surrounds the area, and fireman are assessing the situation. A careful look at the house's remains suggest the fire may have started on the second floor, in the room furthest to the left-hand side. That room has massive holes both in front of it and above it, with the roof caving in. No other area of the house suffered such fallout. Also, the massive fireman’s lights brought in by authorities are stationed to look directly in that room.

Although the fire clearly plays into Jack’s death, there are still some big mysteries. Did he die in the fire? Did he die from smoke inhalation? Was he even in the house during the fire? Another big clue helps point us in the right direction.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
The Contents Of Jack’s Personal Effects

As Rebecca drives to the Pearson home, fans see what appear to be Jack’s remaining worldly possessions. They are his watch, his keys with an American flag keychain on them, his wedding ring, and a notepad. Absolutely none of these items show even a touch of burning, which is suspicious, considering the fact the notepad should be as charred as the Pearson home if it was in the fire.

This hints if Jack was inside of the house fire, he quickly left, or was dragged out of the blaze. This would also explain why his final personal effects are in a plastic bag, which is a common practice for organizations like the police, the fire department, and the hospital.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Rebecca Is Wearing The Steelers Jersey

This detail could hint as to when Jack will die, since fans know Rebecca traditionally wears the Steelers jersey on Jack’s — and, now, her children’s — birthday to do her sexy celebration dance for him. So, this is either August 31, 1997, or, Rebecca was sporting the meaningful item of clothing to remember the good old days of her marriage prior to Jack’s unexpected death.
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The Location Of The Big Three

It certainly seems like the teen versions of Randall, Kevin (Logan Shroyer), and Kate (Hannah Zeile), were possibly trying to give their parents some form of privacy on Jack’s big day. If any of them were at home, they definitely would have suffered smoke inhalation during the fire. That means they would have been rushed to the hospital. Instead, Kate and Randall are both sobbing at Miguel’s (Jon Huertas) abode, hinting they’re aware their father is dead, but weren’t in the vicinity of him when it happened.

Adding to this theory is the fact Kevin is somewhere making out with teen Sophie (Amanda Leighton), sadly oblivious to whatever happened.
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Kevin Has A Cast, And He’s Had It For A While

This isn’t a clue as to what led to Jack’s death, but rather a clue as to when we’ll know we’re approaching the big reveal in future episodes. In the first flashbacks we see of the 1990s Pearsons, Kevin doesn’t have a cast. But, on the night Jack dies, Kevin has a full leg cast, which likely stems from a football injury. Considering how many people have signed the cast, Jack will die long after we see the moment Kevin gets that plastered on.
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There Are 2 New Additions To The Pearson Orbit

Another way to clock throughout season 2 how far we are from seeing Jack’s death is keeping an eye out for the two things Kate and Randall are respectively clutching in Miguel’s home: a mystery dog and a red-haired girl’s hand (Isabel Oliver Marcus). While the latter supportive new addition is still unnamed on the series, she’s credited as "Jane" on IMDb.

Until the pup and "Jane" are fully integrated into the Pearson’s lives, don’t expect to fully understand Jack’s demise.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Rebecca Calls Jack "Perfect"

Since viewers learned Jack and Rebecca didn’t last forever, which is proven by the fact Rebecca is now married to her first husband’s BFF Miguel, they’ve often wondered if the pair got a divorce before the Pearson patriarch’s death. Countless details have pointed towards the likelihood the couple actually remained married until the end of Jack’s life, chief among them is the fact Rebecca still wears crescent moon necklace Jack gave her. We now know the necklace is a reference to the song Rebeca was singing on the night she met Jack, "Moonshadow."

"A Father’s Advice" gives us another breadcrumb suggesting the parents-of-three never divorced, despite their hardships. Rebecca tells Adult Randall (Sterling K. Brown) that Jack was "pretty damn close" to perfect. Then, during the flashback on the day of Jack’s death, we see her break down screaming and crying in front of the burned home. You don’t say and do these things, or wear that Steelers jersey, over a man you don’t still love with all your heart.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
There Are No Red Herrings

Look, it’s easy to believe the This Is Us team is trying to trick you. The pilot, after all, was a 44-minute mind game, where you didn’t realize the babies you were crying about and the adult Big Three you were meeting were one in the same until the final seconds of the episode. But, this isn’t the same situation.

"No. There’s no fake-outs here," creator Fogelman promises of the two-minute, imagery-filled ender.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Kate Blames Herself For Jack’s Death

This is the detail fans have been hanging on to since the penultimate episode of This Is Us season 1, "What Now." In the installment, Adult Kate (Chrissy Metz) finally tells Toby (Chris Sullivan), she believes Jack’s death is her "fault." The only Pearson daughter continues, "I’m the reason he’s dead."

Since Kate seemingly wasn’t at the house at the time of the fire — as we said, she would probably be at the hospital if she had been — it’s possible Jack went back into the burning house to save something for his "Katie Girl." Or, Kate in some way led to the fire, but didn’t directly cause it.

At least season 2 officially debunks any lingering ideas about Kate and Jack watching their favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, during the 2006 AFC Championship in the traditional, corporeal way. As Kevin says in "Father’s Advice," Jack died when the Big Three were 17, which is nine years before that aforementioned play-off game. So, that means Kate instead watched the game with her father's urn.

So, whatever Kate believes she "did" definitely happened 20 years ago.
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