Jack Pearson is often presented as the most perfect father and husband on television, and in certain flashbacks on This Is Us, he certainly is. Because of his own abusive father, Jack prides himself on sacrificing for his family and being there when everyone needs him. That being said, he’s had his hiccups, and the fact that Jack started drinking again on This Is Us doesn’t bode well for his future with his family.
In the beginning of the season, viewers saw Jack spinning slightly out of control when it came to booze — according to his BFF Miguel, Jack would have three bourbons on the rocks after work and the clock had barely hit 5:30. He was drinking a lot and showing up late at home when his wife Rebecca was dealing with three 10-year-olds, and finally, Rebecca called him on it. She told him to cut it out, and Jack pushed the drinking out of his life… until the kids were teenagers.
It all started when Rebecca was about to set out on tour with her band. In a nutshell, Jack found out that Rebecca and one of the guys in the band had a fling when she was 19 (granted, she’s probably about 40 when this conversation is taking place) and freaked out. He said that Rebecca lied to him, that she couldn’t go out on the road, and he cancelled their annual Valentine’s Day dinner — bacon cheeseburgers and onion rings at their favorite local bar, O’Shannon’s.
Rebecca and Jack fought about Ben, her bandmate, at home, and when Jack found himself going out to “get some air,” he ended up at O’Shannon’s. As a wife, I would be pissed if my husband bailed on a cheeseburger dinner with me to get a cheeseburger dinner by himself (that’s betrayal), but Rebecca has an even bigger problem here. The bartender brought Jack a Maker’s Mark along with his burger, and Jack looked at it, took a sip, and then started savoring his Kentucky-made bourbon. That, my friends, is an issue.
And in the very same episode where Jack falls off the wagon, Kate is unable to talk to Toby about the way her father died. Obviously, a parent’s death is painful, but Kate’s inability to speak to the circumstances of Jack’s death makes me think that it was particularly dramatic. Did Jack die of an illness that stemmed from his alcoholism? Did he die suddenly in a car accident because he was drunk? In the only flashback viewers have seen so far of Jack’s funeral, the Pearson kids appear to be in their late teens, which suggests that Jack didn’t die too long after sipping that bourbon at O’Shannon’s. Hopefully, one of the big three will soon open up about Jack's death and give This Is Us viewers a better idea of what happened.