Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Dan Snierson
February 04, 2018 at 11:30 PM EST

Warning: This story contains plot details about the post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us, titled “Super Bowl Sunday.”

R.I.P., Jack Pearson. And Mr. McGiggles.

You’ve known for a while that he was dead — since the fifth episode of the series, to be specific — but in Sunday’s Super Bowl-centric episode of This Is Us, you saw how exactly how it happened.

Ye, the hotly anticipated episode of the NBC family drama finally followed through on its promise to answer the Question. Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) rescued his family from the raging fire started by that faulty Crock-Pot gifted to the Pearsons by a friendly neighbor. Jack would play hero twice, going back into the burning house to save the family dog that Kate was crying about, and grabbing some of the family’s important possessions with him on the way out.

Although the EMT informed Jack and a relieved Rebecca (Mandy Moore) that his vitals looked okay considering his exposure to the fire, he noted that Jack had inhaled a lot of smoke and sent him to the hospital. The situation seemed rather routine — Jack was even joking around — but when Rebecca went to make hotel arrangements for the family, things turned tragic, suddenly, without warning. The doctor grimly informed Rebecca that the smoke inhalation had put too much stress on his lungs, and he went into cardiac arrest and died. Rebecca took a bite of the candy bar from the vending machine, plunged into denial, told the doctor to get away from her, and walked over to Jack’s hospital bed, where she saw his lifeless body and collapsed in grief.

Rebecca’s trauma was not over, as she then had the horrific job of “ruining” her kids’ lives and informing Randall and Kate of the news, while Kate headed out to the woods to find Kevin. And now you saw the worst day in Pearson family history.

The episode, of course, also caught up with the Big Three in the present day: Kevin (Justin Hartley) tried to make amends with Jack’s tree. Kate (Chrissy Metz) explained to Toby (Chris Sullivan) why Super Bowl Sunday was especially loaded for her, why Jack would have loved him, and how Toby was the one who saved her. And Randall (Sterling K. Brown) sought to celebrate Jack on his favorite day with a Super Bowl party, but things turned heavier after he performed a memorial service for his daughter’s lizard. Next came a heart-to-heart with Tess (Eris Baker) about how he had brought the dearly departed William (Ron Cephas Jones) and recently-departed-but-not-in-that way Deja (Lyric Ross) into their lives in an attempt to honor his dad’s legacy. And then, two surprises: Deja at the door. And a flashforward to the future, as Tess was honoring her own dad’s legacy by brokering the adoption of the little boy from the fall finale, a moment witnessed proudly by old Randall himself.

You won’t have to wait long to see how the 1990s Pearsons is reeling from this horrific calamity revealed in this episode: This Is Us will air a new episode two days from now, in its normal Tuesday-at-9 p.m. slot.

To read what Milo Ventimiglia had to say about Jack’s ‘perfect death’, click here.

For a full recap of the episode, click here.

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