While I love watching the sweet relationship between Randall and Beth and the perhaps re-emerging pairing of Kevin and Sophie, my true favorite relationship on This Is Us is that of Jack and his daughter. Kate, the only girl between two boys, doesn’t really relate to her mother, Rebecca. Jack sees this, and it’s obvious in the flashbacks of before Jack’s death that the two were very close. So close, in fact, that Kate is the sibling who keeps Jack’s ashes in her home. But why can’t Kate talk about Jack’s death on This Is Us?
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Dan Fogelman said that Kate is the most affected by Jack's death, explaining, "These kids all worshipped Jack, obviously. Nobody recovered from this, but the person, for multiple reasons, holding onto it most tightly is Kate." We don't know why that is yet, but based on what we've seen, it's not hard to speculate.
When Kate was growing up, Jack was always there with an encouraging word or a way to make her smile. When she felt bad about herself or was bullied, Jack made Kate feel beautiful. When no one wanted to “vogue” with her at her birthday party, he pumped up the Madonna and let his body move to the music. Whether she wanted him to be or not, Jack always was there for Kate, and his death has left a devastating hole in her life. As it stands now, Kate and Toby are engaged to be married, but she can’t even tell Toby how her father died or how she feels about it.
Kate is a big football fan (the Pittsburgh Steelers are her team, just like they were for her dad), and when Toby and Kate started dating, he didn’t understand why he couldn’t talk during the games or even see Kate on Sundays. It’s because Kate watches with Jack, or, really, Jack’s ashes, which sit in an urn on her mantle. Kate even watched the 2006 Super Bowl – when the Steelers won – with Jack’s urn, and she can’t break that streak now.
It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t seem strange to the other members of the Pearson family that Kate should have Jack’s ashes. Randall told William that they sprinkled some of them around his favorite tree in his favorite park, and they gave the rest to Kate. That’s how close these two were — Jack was Kate’s person, and it’s not hard to see why. Rebecca and Kate never saw completely eye-to-eye. Randall was off doing his hardcore academic thing, and Kevin connected with Sophie, Kate’s one-time best pal, at a young age and left his sister behind.
Without Jack, Kate is untethered. Before she and Kevin got close again, she had no one to turn to, really, and that’s an awful feeling. I think that’s why Kate can’t talk about Jack’s death on This Is Us — of course, the death of a parent is traumatizing, especially when you don’t expect it — but Jack’s death marked the turning point from Kate always having a protector to needing to figure it out on her own. Her brothers and mother can try to understand her, but no one will ever get her like her dad did.
Kate had to mourn not only her father’s death but also her life as it was, and that double trauma could be why she can’t even talk about Jack’s death. Kate doesn’t want to go back to that time, so it’s easier for her to compartmentalize it rather than let it all out.