Our tears have finally dried following "Super Bowl Sunday," the This Is Us episode in which we finally saw how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) met his untimely end. Of course, just because the episode revealed how Jack died via a smoke inhalation-induced heart attack doesn't mean that we didn't get tons of clues about his death before it happened — and a few that were a little misleading. Now, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman has issued an apology for one such moment that led fans to believe the Pearson patriarch would die much earlier than he did.
Back in season one, This Is Us dropped a ton of hints that Jack's alcoholism would be connected to his death in some way. In one particular moment in season one episode "What Now?" Kate (Chrissy Metz) tells her boyfriend Toby (Chris Sullivan) that her dad's death is her fault — right before we see a flashback of Jack driving drunk to go win back his wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) at Kate's request.
"I think that we thought — and I still continue to think — that the big shock with the finale to people was going to be, 'Oh my god, this marriage is suffering! America’s sweetest couple is in a state of disrepair and separation,'" Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly of that particular fake-out. "I thought that was the big kind of twist or misdirect: This isn’t about Jack's death; this is about something deeper and darker, which is: these two are on different pages."
Jack makes it to Rebecca's show, but ultimately his presence there leads to him and Rebecca living apart for a bit. Still, you can't blame an audience for thinking that a guy whom we already know will die, getting into a car while intoxicated, could lead to tragedy.
Alas, it's onwards and upwards for This Is Us, which seems to be expanding its storytelling in the wake of Jack's demise. We already saw a cool future Pearson moment in which Tess (Eris Baker) is revealed to be the social worker (Iantha Richardson) placing a little boy with a new family, inspired by her father Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and deceased grandpa Jack, both of whom took in children who needed homes and made them family.
Jack may be no longer able to celebrate the Super Bowl with his family, but his legacy lives on in his children. The fake-outs may have been frustrating, but now that we know how Jack dies, maybe it's finally time for all of us to move on — with zero hard feelings to Fogelman.