'This Is Us' Could Reveal Jack's Fate On The Real 20th Anniversary Of His Death


It's been a long, emotional, and anxiety-filled road for This Is Us viewers as they wait for the show to finally reveal the true circumstances of Jack Pearson's death. Dan Fogelman, the showrunner who, along with his team of writers, holds all of our emotional stability in his hands, promises that the house fire revealed in the Season 2 premiere was not a red herring, and that Jack's fate will be revealed as this season goes on. But when? One Reddit user had an interesting idea regarding the timeline of the big reveal. The theory about how Jack dies suggests that all could be revealed on what would be the real-life 20th anniversary of his death.

A user posting under the name MaineSoxGuy93 pointed out that if Jack died during the Big Three's senior years of high school, we would be approaching the 20th anniversary of his death now, in late 2017 or early 2018. "The Big 3 were born in 1980. They are now 37," the user wrote. "Jack died in their senior year of high school. So that means Jack died somewhere between 1997-98."

If the show continues its current pace — it hit Thanksgiving in the midseason finale — it's likely that the holidays will have passed for the Pearsons when the show returns and the kids would be approaching high school graduation when it wraps in the spring, making the real 20th anniversary of Jack's death very easy for showrunners to nestle into that frame.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Whenever the reveal does come, it won't be a moment too soon. Though part of the charm of the show is catching small clues and connections in an attempt to piece together the truth, some say This Is Us risks boring or frustrating its audience if it continues to play this game.

"Just say how he died and move on past it," another user, NoApollonia, wrote in the same thread. "It's not like knowing will keep Jack from being able to make flashbacks."

It's possible that viewers will only tolerate so much of this game of cat and mouse, but it's fitting that This Is Us has given a huge bulk of the story to other characters this season, especially with the trilogy of "Big Three" episodes. The writers and producers have said that while they don't want to drag the mystery for an extreme amount of time, they also want audiences to recognize where the Pearsons were in each of their lives when the tragedy occurred, and how that shapes who they are later in life.

"In order to fully understand that year of their life, you don’t just do it one episode," Fogelman told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year. He continued:

You have to understand where they’re all at that time period, what had happened in the marriage, what was happening with those kids, what was happening with those kids vis a vis their father, before they lost him, that frames these 37-year-old people we’re seeing. Once we’ve done that, then we’ll see everything we need to know about Jack. And it will be this season.
Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Fogelman also said in that same interview that what causes the fire will prove to be "heartbreaking," and that it will tie in with the interesting way seemingly mundane details can end up changing the entire course of people's lives.

"The small movements of our lives, and how big they can become if little things break the right way or the wrong way — I’ve always been fascinated by [the fact that] you could have met your husband or your wife if you had just not gone that way at the bar that night, or the friend hadn’t wanted to set you up," he told the publication. "The great things in your life, how easily that sliding door could have gone a different way, as well as the tragedy. That’s part of our story."

Small details that come back with substantial importance have always been part of the way This Is Us shapes its narrative. Given how planned out the show has always been, it's safe to say the writers definitely know that the coming months signal the real-time anniversary of Jack's death, and viewers will be on the lookout to see if it proves significant.