My mother should have cried over Jack Pearson's television death. I did! If you scrolled through Twitter, it seemed like the entire world was weeping over Milo Ventimiglia's deceased patriarch, who survived a fire only to die of a heart attack hours later.
My mother watches This Is Us. We've sat through episodes together, enjoying all of the Pearson family drama. Of course, that was back in season 1, when my mum was convinced NBC would give us an answer about Jack's death within the freshman season. (My mother didn't watch Pretty Little Liars so she has no television patience.)
So, when I called my mother to chat about "Super Bowl Sunday," the season 2 episode where Jack met his ultimate demise, I was met with two words:
(You should know that, growing up, I was never allowed to utter this phrase, as it fell under the umbrella of "fresh." But anywaysssss.)
I spent a few minutes making my case for This Is Us and Jack's death, which broke me so much that I texted my boyfriend to come home from a Super Bowl party "because This Is Us is too sad."
My points to my mother were as such: Jack sacrificed himself for his family without even knowing it! He loved Kate (Chrissy Metz) so much that he would rather grab her dog from a burning building than see her sad! How could one not squeeze out a single tear when Mandy Moore's Rebecca sees Jack's dead body?
Alas, my points fell on deaf ears. Instead, my mother made a list (yes, a literal list) of all the reasons why Jack's death on This Is Us, and all of the drama surrounding it with the Pearson clan, totally and completely sucks.
Here are her reasons, paraphrased from her own words.
1. Jack had zero idea what he was doing in the fire scene. Why would he insist on bringing everyone into one bedroom when the house was burning up? My mother, who clearly paid more attention at the Firehouse Festivals they held in our town (real thing, there was even a smoke house where you had to faux-escape a burning building) insisted that it was much more dangerous to go through the hallway lest the ceiling collapse and kill everyone.
"But he was trying his best," was what I squeaked out, afraid she might be right that Jack's "fight the fire with the mattress" plan was not the most sound.
2. Why destroy the Crock-Pot brand? My mother, for some reason, took a very big offence to the show's decision to have a slow cooker be the instrument of Jack's death, even though the year of Jack's demise may have also been the last time my mum actually cooked anything. (Sorry. Love you.) Fortunately for my mother, Crock-Pot has bounced back thanks to a fantastic PR plan.
3. Old Rebecca looks ridiculous. This has actually been an argument my mum has had since season 1, but it resurfaced thanks to new gripes with the NBC series. Personally, I think that This Is Us does a fantastic job making Moore look like she's in her 60s (Moore, in real life, is even younger than the stars who play her children), but my mum insists that Rebecca looks like she's in a school play. What does this say about the production quality of my high school musicals? I'm not really sure.
4. Everyone is a whiner. (My mum is a pre-school teacher.) This may be the episode where everyone remembers the anniversary of their father's death, intercut with actual flashbacks of his death, but no. Kate (Chrissy Metz) is a whiner. Kevin (Justin Hartley) is a whiner. My mother has no time for whiners.
5. Jack's death did not warrant the massive wait. I think my mum wanted Jack to die in some, Rube Goldberg machine-type accident, in order to make the season-and-a-half arc feel more earned. Instead, he died of a heart attack, which my mother insists the doctors would spend a lot more time trying to treat. My mother has not seen the pilot of The Resident, which revealed why that's not always the best plan.
6. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) needs to get his shit together. This one was kind of like a punch to the gut, as Randall is the best. She does not think that Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) should put up with all of Randall's mid-life crisis theatrics. (Sorry, Randall.)
So. Is my mother... right? Did This Is Us jump the shark with Jack's death, and the subsequent drama surrounding it? Considering I still can't think about it for too long without becoming a puddle of tears, I'm going to say no... though she may have a point about Kevin's whining.