This Is Us: This Is TVLine Deciding to Not Obsess About Jack's Death

The quality of NBC’s This Is Us, which was far and away the best network drama of the past TV season, is at risk of being overshadowed by so, so much blathering about how, why and when Jack Pearson died. As such, TVLine has decided to cease playing any part in perpetuating that deafening deluge of speculation.

Full disclosure: TVLine has played this game a bit, offering “7 Theories on How Jack Died” prior to the show’s freshman finale. And we covered the cast’s immediate reactions to the finale and the new clues about the patriarch’s passing it didn’t drop. But since it has been made abundantly clear that no meaningful intel will be spilled during this long summer hiatus — despite the cast and creatives being asked about it again and again and again, at every industry event — we for one are electing to cease beating a dead handyman, at least until there is something new and tangible to process and discuss.

This Is Us during its initial 18-episode run proved to be about so much more than how it is that Jack Pearson (played by Milo Ventimiglia), warts and all, is longer with us. It covered the joys, unexpected and bittersweet, of reconnecting with the father you never knew. The soul-crushing struggle to improve one’s body image. The peaks and valleys of stardom. And, in flashback, the pressures that bear down on a young couple in love when they are thrust into the role of parents to multiples, all whilst juggling stalled and budding careers.

Maybe Jack got hit by a car. Maybe he was bested by the Big C. Maybe Miguel murdered him in an elaborate, evil scheme to make Rebecca his own. The answer will come, eventually (at some point in Season 2, that much has been said). But for now, TVLine says, let’s stop reducing this rich, well-crafted family drama into a “howdunnit” and instead use every opportunity to ask this talented, Emmy-caliber cast thoughtful questions about their own characters and craft, that they can answer. To ask them more.

Do you, too suffer from “How did Jack die?!” fatigue? 

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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28 Comments
  1. Wrstlgirl says:

    Agreed. Because of all the speculation and hoopla over how Jack died (I’m guilty) I’m afraid the actual reveal will be a big letdown and create the onslaught of disappointed and/or angry posts my favorite being “I can’t believe we waited this long for that, I’m done with this show”. You know it’s coming :-)

  2. kate says:

    It did start becoming less important to me mid way through, but then it sort of felt like the show was playing with us a bit. Mind you it could be NBC marketing which, I mean, hire a different firm than the one that does your Dateline bits. I swear, when you watched the show for good chunks of time, especially in the past season, who Liz was to Red kind of became a quieter issue on the Blacklist. The show wanted it to be tension filled when the answer was seemingly solved and NBC stole some of its thunder. I sometimes feel like the show kind of wanted the audience to think of it the way Liz and Cooper did, it bugged them but they didn’t let it overtake everything. We shouldn’t obsess so much about Jack’s death because it just would seem inevitable even with flashbacks and memory sequences, Jack’s role becomes more and more reduced until we might lose Milo from if not the show than as a regular character on it.

  3. kmw says:

    Thank you Matt. Beating this aspect of the show into the ground is going to dilute the impact( if it already hasn’t) when we find out. I like Jack and Rebecca’s story but I also like everyone else’s . I realize that the producers feel the need to do this but its just too much of this one particular story. There are plenty of other stories on This is Us that are interesting besides how Jack dies

  4. MMD says:

    Yes and I think this is a terrific idea. This show is so well written that it doesn’t really matter how Jack dies as I am sure we will find out at the appropriate time. I find the constant speculation that has been going on is totally frustrating and takes away from the awesome performances we have witnessed and the many tears I have shed (& I will do anything NOT to cry or vomit), Everyone involved in the show deserves better.
    .
    Kudos to TVLine fo taking this stance.

  5. Kristina says:

    I’m actually a little baffled this has been given so much attention. I guess the surprise reveal when Rebecca showed up with Miguel is responsible, but honestly the “how” has always been kind of unimportant to me. For most kids, the impact of losing a parent is that they’re gone, not how it happened, and that’s pretty much what I’d assumed was the case with the triplets as well. I’m more interested in seeing the effect his death had on them growing up, than I am knowing how he died.

    • dan says:

      Agree! My wife and I don’t want to speculate or read/hear speculation about how Jack died. When the storytellers are ready to reveal that information as part of the plot then we’ll be prepared to receive it. I hope NBC doesn’t tease us unnecessarily like this is a murder mystery. Just let the story unfold naturally and the viewers will follow.

  6. Diggy says:

    Agreed. How Jack died is relatively incidental, except for the fact that we still don’t know exactly why Kate feels responsible. The punch came from learning he was dead. It’s great that we have a show which can present mysteries but which has a richness of character development & story that is so much more interesting than answering those mysteries.

  7. ToyCannon says:

    This show is the master of emotional twists. I hope they are saving their greatest twist ever to somehow reveal that Jack is not dead. I have no idea how they could pull it off, but I still believe.

  8. MiaB says:

    I agree with how you’re thinking. Before the season 1 finale, the previews sort of made it seem as though we would find out in the finale, so it was a bit disappointing to not see that come to fruition. But I’m enjoying the ride with the Pearsons. We’ll find out in time. Hopefully they won’t drag it out to the point that it’s anti-climactic–the only downside.

  9. Phil says:

    Hear, hear! or is it Here, Here!?
    But, for the record, I’m guessing we find out in episode three of season two. They wouldn’t waste it on the premiere, ep 2 is too soon, but ep 3 – and then it’s out of the way and people can, like you suggest, focus on everything else that makes this show entertaining. Because it is one of the things I care about least.

  10. keith L says:

    I thought it was pretty obvious that Jack died in the Chicago to Pittsburgh plane crash from 1994- explains Kevin breaking his model planes and Kate’s fear of flying. Also seems to work within the timeline. And I’m guessing Kate blames herself because he was on the plane because she called for him to come home or something. Regardless of the reveal, it doesn’t change the fact this is a great show.

    • DryHeat says:

      The timeline really doesn’t work for 1994, though. The triplets were born in 1980, making them 15 in 1995, when Jack & Rebecca are concerned about Kevin & Sophie hooking up.

    • patrice says:

      kate doesn’t have a fear of flying. she was on one plane that encountered alot of turbulence, which shook her (and everyone else) up. there was never any mention of a prior or subsequent fear of flying. besides, if jack died in a plane crash, don’t you think kevin would have been a bit more empathetic when talking to her about it the day after as opposed to what he said: it’s was no big deal, you dropped your peanuts.

  11. lisa says:

    That picture give me Future Peter Petrelli vibes

  12. A fan of TV says:

    Please, yes!

  13. Jamie says:

    Agreed! This may seem off topic, and I know I am in a minority, but I liked the end of HIMYM. And I think it was because I was not obsessed with who the mother was. I just loved the group. I feel the same could happen here. Just enjoy the ride!

    • E. D. Boddy says:

      The casting of the mother was the one thing they got right! For all of the (much deserved criticism) of the final season, I didn’t see one post challenging the idea that Ted could ever go for her.

    • Hannah says:

      Hmm, I thought the ending of HIMYM was godawful, and I genuinely didn’t care that the mother died. That ending sucked because the writers threw out all of the character development from the previous 5-6 seasons to fit an ending that they admitted they wrote way before they knew the show would last that long. HIMYM ending was a perfect example of getting burned *by* enjoying the ride.

  14. Kimberly Mlejnek says:

    I kinda agree……. I want more HOW DID THEY LIVE answers…. I kinda really want to know what lead to to it… Did this beautiful loving couple come back together before the tragic too young passing of Jack.. That’s what haunts me

  15. Talia says:

    Wait, Jack dies? Spoiler! (ha).

  16. Mark says:

    The Miguel theory is my father’s favorite, especially given the actor’s past on Castle.

  17. Marie says:

    Enough is enough, part of what makes thud5 show great is the twist you don’t see coming. Let the show play out on its own and be patient, eventually we will know, gives us something to look forward to.

  18. Missy says:

    I’m really just focused on why Kate feels responsible, and whether that makes sense, when all is said and done. Although, Jack’s death was a big part of the “coming soon” and subsequent episode promo’s here in Australia. I think marketing really played a part in the obsession too

    • Aztexan says:

      The show has left dangling clues about how Jack dies, leaving us naturally to want to piece together the clues and come to our own conclusions. The whole scene where Kate ends the episode claiming she’s the reason her father is dead?! I say, don’t add those scenes if it’s not important as a viewer to toss a theory on the table! I personally think she blames herself because I belief Jack comes to Kate’s defense against someone bullying her about her weight, and the hothead that we have come to know in season one, goes after this individual as usual, with his fist, and they retaliate with a gun. Now, I await season two to see if that’s even close! lol. And was Tess adopted, or was it Annie?

  19. Cheryl says:

    What happened to the summer special that was talked about for June?