This Is Us Jack Death Theories Season 1 Photos

This Is Us: 7 Theories on How Jack Died

Even though it seems like Jack Pearson is on a collision course with certain death, based on his drunk driving at the end of last week’s This Is Us, series creator Dan Fogelman has assured audiences that the Pearson pop’s demise is “a little ways away.” So it’s not likely to happen in Tuesday’s season finale.

But it will happen.

With that morbid thought in mind, we decided to brainstorm a bunch of ways that Randall, Kevin and Kate’s dad might die.

All we really know is that, in “What Now?” aka Episode 17, Kate confessed to Toby that her father’s passing was “my fault.  I’m the reason he’s dead.” But she did not elaborate on exactly what she meant. Further, when the NBC series showed us brief glimpses from Jack’s funeral in “Three Sentences” (Episode 13), the kids were teenagers.

It’s not much to go on, but we’ve put on our thinking caps and fortified ourselves with extra Kleenex in order to come up with a few ideas on how Jack eventually shuffles off this mortal coil. Does his drinking, literally and/or figuratively, drive him to his death? Is the culprit something more banal yet no less terrifying, like terminal illness? Could foul play be afoot? Or is This Is Us messing with us again like it has in the past?

Check out the gallery above — or click here for direct access — to see what we’ve come up with, then hit the comments with your own ideas: How do you think Jack will die?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. CourtTV says:

    It’s all about the facial hair. haha

  2. Wrstlgirl says:

    Okay so refresh my memory on the end of the series premiere please :-)

    • Leah says:

      really? Fireman, flashback… :)

    • Wrstlgirl says:

      Never mind, I found it. A lot of people, and I do mean a lot, think Jack’s death is tomorrow night even though we’ve been told over and over again that we won’t know how he died “until much later”. A drunk driving accident just seems way to obvious. It has to be something else. I mean, seriously, if that’s what happens they’ve basically given it away and why would they do that?? I can see them maybe getting a phone call or a visit from an officer at their door at the end of the ep but no reason for how Jack died.

      • Sam says:

        She’s right. People who think it’s a drunk driving accident are forgetting what show this is. It’ll come from a completely different direction.

        • Rara says:

          There are so many really good scenerios in which our beloved Papa Pearson can die. Obviously we will have to think outside the box as show runners lead us in a “certain” direction. Kate claims to be responsible for Jack’s death. However, we need to remember that at the time of his death she was around 16-17 years old. Losing someone so close to you at such an impressionable age could make her “feel” responsible even without being directly involved with it.

  3. Dave says:

    H.G. Wells puts Jack in his time machine and takes him to 2017 where he is forced to watch a show called This Is Us. He proceeds to cry in every scene of every episode. With absolutely no liquid left in his body, he is weak and dizzy. As he makes his way back toward the time machine, he is run over by a drunk Deacon Claiborne, a man in mourning. That’s how Jack dies.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I had the feeling Kate would call to say she wanted to come home and he would drive back after having too much to drink to get her and have an accident

    • Jean Marie Kennedy says:

      yep – I agree. That’s what I was thinking – he’s the parent in charge because Mandy Moore is touring with her group, and Kate calls and needs a ride…..

  5. Carolpetosa says:

    Maybe Kate & jack have a fight, she runs out of the house, he goes after her & boom crash happens. Maybe too obvious? ??

  6. This is going to be interesting, though I can’t imagine it not being some sort of accident. Kate wouldn’t feel responsible if it were natural causes, unless say he has a heart attack and Kate ignores all symptoms, thinking it was nothing and feels guilty despite that not being her fault. But Jack is too young for that.

    Yes, it’s physically possible for cancer or a disease, though that doesn’t fit into Kate’s guilt. Logically, given normal life expectancies, and the need for this show to have some realism, it should be an accident.

  7. DS says:

    How do we know that the cemetery scene is about Jack, could it be about Rebecca’s mother?

  8. A fan of TV says:

    This show pretty much lost me with the urn full of ashes, I have to admit. This whole hours of teasing how, slowly unraveling the tragedy, etc has been a huge friggin disappointment. For a show that prides itself on twists, nothing is compelling to me, personally, about stretching this whole thing out to reach the conclusion we already know is inevitable. I really wanted Jack to be alive, just estranged from the family, giving a whole redemption arc to this clearly damaged clan. It doesn’t help that the flashbacks are so Jack-centric that you care only about the remaining characters relationship to Jack, even in the future. Then they add ANOTHER woman for Kevin before they even tie up the plot with the other two… Some parts of this show are wonderful, but it’s network-story-of-the-week-level plot disasters (trying to build tension, inconsistently raise the stakes, and trying to thematically cover something in 42-minute blocks) are starting to tear it all the way down for me.
    Yes, I was very set on another arc, and admittedly it was the only arc which would have pleased me, personally, since the show itself was never, not once, as good as Parenthood for me…

    • Billy Bob Johnson says:

      Hey, step it up. You’re not complaining enough.

      • A fan of TV says:

        The irony of a complaint that addresses a complaint ;) I’m pretty sure I kept my complaints about only this show to ‘in my opinion’ all the way to the end, but by all means let’s attack each other! Ok, your turn.

    • Ben says:

      I’ve never really felt the show is trying to build tension and raise the stakes. I’m just seeing it as a human story that’s unfolding, but not in a linear way. There have been ‘twists’ in a sense, but it’s not exactly Lost. Funny you mentioned Parenthood at the end, because that’s exactly how this feels to me.

      • A fan of TV says:

        To me, constant twists, slowly unraveling pieces of a mystery (how he died), raising of emotional stakes (not so much in an action sense, but see this site’s ‘top man cry moments’ for what I’m intending when I say ‘raising the stakes’) is exactly what a family drama centered on an inevitable, predetermined event would be doing. That inevitable predetermined event was the turn off, and it doesn’t compel me to slowly, next season presumably, finally learn how Jack died, which of course is the subject of this post.

        I bring up Parenthood because that’s the show most marketing used to compare and bring viewers, but i found Parenthood superior in every way even before the urn full of ashes was revealed. I’m not saying the show is bad, I’m saying for me it’s lost its energy.

    • joe says:

      Parenthood sucked, not even close to this show!

  9. SHE drives drunk with Jack as a passenger, gets into an accident, and he dies from the injuries as a result.

  10. MGL says:

    A plane crash on 9/11? The kids would have been 19 or 20?

  11. Kelly Webster says:

    So…maybe Kate was depressed about her weight and Papa Pearson, being all about family like he is (especially all about Kate), agrees to diet and exercise (or maybe join a gym?)with Kate, and he has a heart attack while working out?

  12. Stacey says:

    In Kate’s last (?) call with Jack, she told him he had to go see her mom’s band because it was only 2 hours away.

    I think Jack went to see Rebecca play and either walked in on her and her ex in a compromising position backstage, then stormed out and crashed his car (maybe drunk, maybe not; maybe on purpose, maybe not).

    Rebecca, who we know lied to Randall about his dad, lies to the kids and tells them Jack crashed (or died) on the way to see her (so she can’t be blamed for any of it).

    Somehow, the kids learn enough of the truth to incorrectly conclude that Jack killed himself. This would explain why no one ever talks about his death. Rebecca will have to come clean with them, which will cause a lot of misery and reopened wounds.

    Or not. But Randall’s determination that William not die alone and Kate’s guilt (keeping Jack’s ashes in her apt?!) make me think Jack’s death was sudden and traumatic for everyone.

    • RaRa says:

      Maybe Kate was depressed due to her weight and tried to kill herself by A. jumping off a buildingin which Jack saved her but fell to his death, or B. she tried killing herself by firearm in which Jack again stopped her but was accidently shot by Kate in the process.

  13. anita says:

    Jack make the picture so why is he going to die off that’s not right heater start on the picture I feel like jack is not going today I love him do not take him off the show that would be a bad mistake everyone loved him that watches This Is Us thank about it come up with another solution

  14. James Rowan says:

    Ok. How about this: Kate (possibly because of her weight or something) needs a kidney and Jack is a match. So he donates and dies on the operating table. Too much of a stretch?

  15. MMD says:

    I think that it will be something that no one has thought of yet because the writers are so good at bringing things out of left field. Besides we know that he dies when the kids are in their mid to late teens and at this point, it doesn’t really matter how he dies. We know it happens but it won’t hurt the show if we don’t find out how until say the end of season 2 or season 3.

    • Dryheat says:

      This could just be more redirection, but I saw an interview with Justin Hartley (Kevin) where he said that he hasn’t seen one right theory yet about how Jack dies.

      I think the drunk driving is way too obvious, but who knows?! It’ll be interesting.

      I thought maybe he dies in an accident on one of his construction sites, but I don’t know anymore! ;-)

      • MMD says:

        I think that we’re all in the same boat – none of us know anymore because the show is just that damn good.

        • Rara says:

          I think you are right! I think it will be something that will end up being simplistic yet heartbreakingly beautiful that will have a lasting impact on the viewers. I also feel like there may some easter eggs in previous episodes that will lead viewers in the right direction as what the cause of death is but because it is just that “simple” we overlook it. So that when the cause of death is finally unveiled we will have that “lightbulb” moment

  16. Bill says:

    Jack does get in an accident, is saved by firemen. Impressed by them, he becomes a fireman himself. While on a trip to New York City, representing his department, he rolls out on Sept, 11, 2001. Kate feels guilty because she set the series of events in motion.

  17. Catherine says:

    My thought is maybe Jack is giving Kate a driving lesson and they get in a car accident and Jack dies.

  18. Betsy says:

    I think Jack stops to get alcohol, gets robbed, and shot to death.

  19. BABS says:

    I think Jack stops to buy more alcohol, gets held up, and shot to death.

  20. Trogdor777 says:

    This is my thought: jack and beccs are going to go through a lot, but find each other in the end, and work on their relationship (thus her wearing the moon necklace in the present)….remember the ep. when they talked/argued about having kids?….that random dude in the pub that was being a jerk to her, and Jack told him off….jack is going to NOT drink n drive, but go and walk Kate home, or something….because she feels all down at a party or something social. That jerk is going to be drunk one, and Jack will protect Kate and get killed by that guy. Super random, and stupid…but, such as life. (Still not sure how Miguel fits) The creator has often talked about his own mothers somewhat unexpected death, and how that event affected his family. Kate isn’t actually to blame, but feels guilt about his death (human nature will do that)…so I feel like she was present for it (Randall seemed to acknowledge that too last ep. She didn’t even really need to tell him why she was upset). This show has a knack of tying people together. The firefighter/ Dr. K episode. Either way, the writing has been phenomenal, and I’m really just looking forward to it playing out. The guys death isn’t his life….his life was his life. He’s only human. William was a drug addict who abandoned his son ‘on paper’ but we all cried for him and Randall at the end…..that’s good writing, and acting baby!! Lurv this show. (And enough with the parenthood comparisons please. They’re totally different animals).

    • A fan of TV says:

      The people behind the marketing of the show started the parenthood comparisons, for the record.

    • Baybox says:

      I was thinking along the same lines. It has something to do with the fight in the bar. Whether it’s the same guy, I doubt it. But Jack is a hot head and will do anything to protect his kids. Remember the scene at the pool too. Some guys are giving his daughter a hard time and he confronts them, gets into a fight, he’s not young and fast like he used to be, takes a punch, head hits the ground *crack* and next thing you know he’s on life support.

  21. Catt says:

    I think Jack will do something risky and die trying to help or rescue Kate. That is his “thing” and has been a theme of the show. Remember when he told his wife he had lost his touch and it didn’t work anymore (when Kate was a teen)? So he feels pressure about it, which may lead him to do something risky and stupid. Maybe Sophie is involved in the incident also, since she was Kate’s friend. (There’s got to be more of a backstory there, beyond Sophie being Kevin’s ex.)

  22. Saboosmom says:

    I think Jack will see Rebecca with another man. Either misinterpretating what he sees or catching her in a moment. He is going to back to his car and have a heart attack. This is why there is distance between Rebecca and her daughter. Kate feels it’s her fault because she encouraged her father to make it right with her mother.

  23. Sissy says:

    Just my theory: remember the flashback of Jack on a ladder at the cabin? Jack takes the kids to the cabin for a dad weekend to tell them about the divorce. All three kids are incredibly mad, sullen, and basically acting like teenagers. Kevin and Randall go off in the woods and Kate is in the house when Jack falls from the ladder while working on the roof. She freaks out, not knowing what to do (no phones), gets him in the jeep wagon and tries to drive him to the hospital. Since she doesn’t really know how to drive, she runs off the road and crashes into a tree. Fade out as the camera pans over an unconscious Kate and a bloodied, life-less Jack. Pass the Kleenex please.

  24. john says:

    I disagree with all. I say he try’s to get robbed and puts u a fight then gets shot.

  25. Loretta Belfiore says:

    I so wish you wouldn’t “kill him off”. He’s terrific in this show. It’s the best show on TV in my opinion.

  26. Jennifer says:

    What if he didn’t die? That’s about as out of the box as you can get. Maybe he’s in witness protection. That’s why closed casket and “cremated.” Maybe there was more to the gambling and drinking …

  27. Maybe he was nagged to death