Kate’s pre-nuptial jitters manifest as a recurring dream where her parents renew their wedding vows at the 40th anniversary celebration they never got to have. “We’re all there, and we’re so happy together. You know, the way it was supposed to be,” Kate later tells Rebecca. Though the moment is a bittersweet one, hinting at how the Pearson family’s life could’ve been had the fire not killed Jack in his 50s, it’s not terribly helpful: Kate freaks out after discussing it with her mom, and only feels ready to walk down the aisle after a heart-to-heart with an urn of Jack’s ashes in the woods.
Season 3, Episode 2: “A Philadelphia Story”
Rebecca is barely holding on in the aftermath of Jack’s unexpected death, and in her grief, she hears Jack’s voice selling her on the high points of buying a new house to replace their burned-down one. As it turns out, what seem like auditory hallucinations are just memories of another open-house visit they made together, but at least the flashback gives the grieving widow a modicum of comfort as she tries to right her family’s upended life.
#3: KEVIN’S AWARDS CEREMONY
Season 2, Episode 8: “Number One”
In his drunken, drugged-up haze, Kevin imagines that the coach inducting him into his high school’s hall of fame is actually Jack, whose pride in his son moves Kev to tears. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t move him to sober up, avoid an awkward hook-up or stop himself from stealing part of a prescription pad later in the episode.)
(Here’s a close-up of their hug, in case you weren’t already a little sniffly.)
#2: KATE’S SURGERY DREAM
Season 3, Episode 3: “Katie Girls”
While under anesthesia for an in vitro-related egg-retrieval procedure, Kate is joined by her teenage and pre-teen selves… and then Jack shows up for some banana-pudding ice cream and hugs. The entire assemblage is enough to calm down an anxious Kate, who had been worried about becoming a mother: She comes out of surgery healthy and happy to learn that the operation was a success.
#1: RANDALL’S ‘SHROOM TRIP
Season 1, Episode 9: “The Trip”
An angry Randall seethes after learning Rebecca lied to him his whole life about his biological father, but the accidental ingestion of some hallucinogenic mushrooms during a trip to the family cabin takes the edge off real quick. Randall has a vision of his adoptive father, who reminds him that “the moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy” and who urges him to get past his rage. “I’m sorry that she lied to you, but we can’t change that, so what do you want to do now?” Jack asks. The answer: slowly move toward forgiveness, which is inevitable but — as Randall later warns Rebecca — not instantaneous.
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