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Entertainment Weekly

TV

This Is Us creator: Super Bowl episode will tell 'bigger story than just how Jack dies'

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Posted on

You’ve been waiting for it. Or at least you’ve been saying you’ve been waiting for it But now that it is just around the corner, how are you really feeling? Are you truly emotionally ready for Jack to die on the Super Bowl episode of This Is Us?

Ready or not, the end is coming, and by all accounts, the Feb. 4 episode of the NBC family drama will be the one in which Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is marked for death. “I think people are going to get what they wanted — even if it’s not what they want anymore,” creator Dan Fogelman quips to EW.

While he refers to it as a “very difficult hour of television,” the TIU overlord believes that this installment (which he wrote) does more than simply provide mystery resolution. “By the end of the episode, you’ll see that this show and Jack’s story was much bigger than his death, or this fire,” he says. “It will be very rewarding for fans in a different kind of way. There is a bigger story here than just how Jack dies — and you’ll ultimately find something really meaningful and powerful in the episode.”

As he told EW earlier this week, the series has a “long way to go with Jack in the story, before death and after it.”

Of course, fans are focusing on that fire for the time being. At the end of last week’s episode, the Crock-Pot-started blaze was quickly spreading from the kitchen up the stairs, and given the burned-down house that audiences glimpsed in the season 2 premiere, it seems to be the cause of Jack’s death. Exactly how that fire led to his demise is what’s left discovered. “I will say that the opening 5 to 10 minutes of the episode — we spent a fortune, we went into the middle of nowhere so nobody would see us, and we built our house,” says Fogelman. “We brought in the people who had done Backdraft, and for you, as an audience member, it’s very hard to breathe. It’s extraordinary. … It’s fair to say that he goes out like he lived.”

And the show’s creator sounds reasonably confident that the long-anticipated episode will satisfy. “We know we’re going to have a big audience, we know that people are braced for this and want it to be really good — and I think we’ve got it,” he says. “The performances are extraordinary.”

To read more from Fogelman about the tragic fire and what happens next, click here.

To see what Milo Ventimiglia had to say about Jack’s death, which he calls “an absolute soul-crushing event,” click here.

The Super Bowl episode will run a few minutes longer than normal, which you can find out about here.

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