Major spoilers ahead for the Super Bowl episode of This Is Us (series writing: Kay Oyegun). Nothing could really have prepared This Is Us fans for Jack's inevitable death, and social media reactions to the development on Sunday night proved that over and over. They knew it was coming, and yet tears were still shed. It certainly didn't help that they've been given plenty of time to stew on the coming revelation. It was revealed all the way back in the previous season that Jack was no longer alive to enjoy his adult children's company, but the show has left us fans nothing but cryptic clues and nuggets of intriguing information as we have obsessively tuned in week to week.
In the Season 2 premiere, we were granted the biggest clue yet — a heartbreaking shot of the Pearson home, burnt to a crisp, with firefighters investigating the empty shell of the house. The thought of a fire plagued audiences all season, giving people high blood pressure every single time a candle was touched or a fuse box was mentioned. Then, in the previous episode, after so many weeks of speculation, the cause of the fateful fire was finally revealed. A damn slow cooker is what's been antagonizing us all this time, and on Sunday after the Super Bowl, we saw the aftermath and Jack's ultimate death.
Needless to say, people were heartbroken as they watched the events of Sunday night's episode unfold.
Some People Just Plain Couldn't Handle It
It was a lot, OK?
Some Were Devastated By All The Twists And Turns Of Plot
What. Is. Happening?
Everybody Was Obsessed With Mandy Moore
Get Moore an Emmy, stat.
Some Found The Silver Lining
It wasn't all bad.
But Mostly Everyone Was Crushed
No one could possibly have been ready for the events of Sunday night. Creator Dan Fogelman had previously teased, though, that there would be a twist, sending viewers spiraling into a confusing ball of stress. "Next week [the post-Super Bowl episode] is a very, very heavy episode, and I think the end of this week’s episode and next week’s episode have a different kind of emotional reaction to them," Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly ahead of the episode. "The episode is alternately thrilling and brutally heartbreaking and sad. And then surprising. If you stick with it and can make it through it, it’s very rewarding." All the terrible emotions were to be expected, but a surprise may not be what people were expecting at this point in the process.
One of the main surprises, as it turns out, was the fact that Jack actually made it out of the house fire — he didn't perish in the house itself. He made it all the way to the hospital — bandaged up and observed by a bona fide doctor — before he met his end through cardiac arrest brought on by smoke inhalation.
We may have finally seen Jack meet his maker in this episode, but star Milo Ventimiglia won't be disappearing from the show, at least according to past interviews. "Going into this show I knew that my character was always going to be past and I was OK with it,” Ventimiglia told Entertainment Tonight in 2016. "Dan Fogelman, our creator, he was like, 'Milo, you're not going anywhere.' I'm like, OK, great!'"
Fogelman has also said that he has a long-term plan for the show, even though perhaps the biggest mystery has wrapped up. "With the nature of timeline, we'll never run out of stories," he said at a panel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And, it's been leading up to this one for a while.
"The first time I saw the final five minutes of last night’s episode, I was so blown away by the filmmaking and by Milo. And it’s everything that I’ve always wanted the show to be," Fogelman told EW. "The show has always been the little moments feeling really big. If you look at Jack’s final moments of this episode and potentially his last day and night with his family, it’s really small stuff."
The journey isn't over, and fans will need to tune in to the rest of the season to see the full aftermath of Jack's death, but if tonight's Twitter feed is any indication, all This Is Us fans need a well-deserved self-care day.