Sunday's very special post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us promises to answer all of our questions about the NBC drama's greatest mystery: How did Milo Ventimiglia's Jack Pearson die? Right now, the most obvious answer is in the house fire caused by a crock pot that definitely should have been thrown away. (No This Is Us fan will accept a second-hand electronic with a finicky switch ever again.)
Yet, before we all assume that Jack will meet his end inside his family home, I'm here to make a bold claim: Jack didn't die in the fire at all, and there's actually a huge clue that proves it.
In the season 2 premiere "A Father's Advice," we see Rebecca (Mandy Moore) driving by the burned house. She's in her Pittsburgh Steeler's Jersey, suggesting that it is, in fact, the night of the Super Bowl, when the fire started. Sitting next to her in the seat is a collection of stuff in a plastic bag, which includes a notebook, a watch, a wedding band, and a small American flag. It seems likely that this is all of Jack's stuff — and yet it isn't burned at all.
So here's my thought: What if Jack didn't actually perish in the flames, but instead, was able to get out of the house, and grab a few precious items along the way? It's possible that Jack passed out just after getting out of his burning home, and was taken to the hospital to be treated.
The theory also fits in with the scene of a teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile) and Randall (Niles Fitch) at Miguel's (Jon Huertas) house. Kate and Randall are visibly upset, so yes, it is possible that Jack has already died — but if that was the case, where is Rebecca? Wouldn't she be with her kids? Not if Jack was taken from the fire to the hospital.
Perhaps the entire family went with Rebecca to the hospital, but Rebecca told Miguel to take them back to his place since she truly thought Jack would be able to survive the night. When we see Rebecca driving back from the hospital, it's to tell her children that their father has actually died from the injuries he suffered within the house — hence the gut-wrenching sob she lets out when she parks in front of the burned house.
Of course, we won't know the truth about Jack's death until our questions are answered on this week's episode. One thing is for sure, though: You might want to bring tissues instead of a five-layer dip to your Super Bowl party.