Have you cried enough yet over This Is Us? If you're anything like me, the answer is probably not. In fact, the amount of tears I've shed since the series premiered promises to be nothing compared to how much I'll cry when we finally figure out how Jack died on This Is Us. That particular piece of the story probably won't be revealed for a while, so for now, all we have to go on are theories about how Jack met his end. So far, those theories have included everything from heart problems to addiction. As much as I hate thinking about things like this, the possibilities really are endless, and there are a dozen different ways creator Dan Fogelman could toy with my heart. But there's one especially prevalent theory right now: did Jack die in a plane crash?
It's not a thought that's particularly groundbreaking. There's been a lot talk of Jack dying in a plane crash, given what we've seen so far and the fact that it's tempting to take any morsel of information and use it to make a theory true. But still, taking "The Big Three" into consideration, there seem to be some telltale signs that would point to this theory being true.
As we saw in the winter finale, Kate is clearly scared of flying — she has a near panic attack when turbulence hits, and it's what prompts her to want gastric bypass surgery. Sure, near-death experiences (however small) definitely prompt people to make big declarations all the time. But what if Kate's decision was more than that? What if she realized that this is how her father died and is worried she won't take control of her life before it's too late, hence the reason for change? As we've seen on the show, Kate's relationship with Jack is a special one — she never quite had the same relationship with Rebecca, and it makes sense she'd be so shaken.
Then there's Kevin, who destroyed all of his model planes. Yes, this could just be because they reminded him of Jack, but they could hardly be the only things connected to his father. Another important thing to note: in the pilot episode, Kevin talks about remembering the Challenger explosion in 1986. That was definitely a pivotal moment, considering that he would have only been 6 years old at the time and still remembers it perfectly. What if that was the show's subtle way of touching on what happened to Jack? Maybe Kevin became fixated on this event because it would later remind him of his father's own unexpected, tragic death.
Randall doesn't seem to have any connection to planes directly, but Beth did say that both she and her husband lost their fathers unexpectedly, and a plane crash would certainly fit that bill.
But perhaps the biggest piece of information supporting this theory comes from Reddit user knuckle_cracker, who discovered that there was a fatal plane crash near Pittsburgh in September 1994. The Pearsons live in Pittsburgh in the past, and the timing seems to work with the brief flashback of we got the Big Three standing at Jack's funeral in what appeared to be their late teens. When you consider this with Kate and Kevin's aversion to planes, it starts to seem less and less like a coincidence.
No matter how and when This Is Us reveals the truth behind Jack's death, it'll hurt. I just hope that I can prepare myself for when it happens, because whether it happened in a plane crash or not, watching the Big Three lose their dad will be too much to handle.