Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you haven't watched Tuesday's episode of This Is Us.
Did a crock pot kill Jack Pearson?
On Tuesday's episode of This Is Us, titled "That'll Be the Day" (referencing the day Jack died), the biggest clue to the show's looming question was dropped like a fiery bombshell -- and things aren't looking good at all for the Pearson patriarch and his family.
In the final moments, Jack was seen cleaning the crock pot in the kitchen -- which, it's revealed, was gifted to them by an elderly couple, George and his wife, years prior to them having The Big Three. A previous scene ominously foreshadowed the questionable operational capabilities of the slow cooker, when George assured Jack that it was still usable. "You have to fiddle with the switch a little," George advised. Red flags! Red flags!
Before we knew it, the crock pot caught on fire and flames engulfed the kitchen curtains and started overtaking the rest of the house as a montage of special Pearson family moments in the home played over the scene.
The promo for the next episode, which will air after the Super Bowl, promises to pick up right after and shows Jack in hero mode, desperately trying to save his family. "Dad!" Kate yells in horror, as she sees her father attempting to keep them safe from the fire that has threatened their lives. You see Jack dramatically opening two doors from different rooms in the house (one of those times he has one of his kids, likely Randall, cowering behind his back, protected by a hooded sweatshirt), the flames nearly burning his body both times.
Tuesday's episode all took place on Super Bowl Sunday, which in Jack's mind might as well have been a legitimate holiday. What's crushing was how awful Jack's teenage kids were to their father on what would have been the final time the five of them could sit and watch the Big Game together before they went off to college.
Kevin got into a fight with Jack and Rebecca over his future, choosing to spend the night with Sophie at a party in the woods (where he was the night of Jack's death, a callback to a previous flashback). He'd later apologize to Rebecca over the phone, but stopped short of speaking to his dad -- hence Kevin's present-day guilt. (Jack even left a note on Kevin's door: “Kevin, if I don’t see you before work tomorrow, I love you. You owe us all an apology. -- Dad.”) Kate broke Jack's heart when she rejected his offer to videotape her final audition tape for Berklee. Randall decided to watch Titanic with his red-headed girlfriend, Allison (another callback to a previous flashback), leaving Jack and Rebecca to enjoy the Super Bowl alone. Though the next episode will get into the actual specifics of Jack's death, this sure contextualized a lot of things, didn't it?
The anticipation to Jack's death has been building up since last season, when it was established early on that he was no longer alive in the present. This year, the writers have ramped up the mystery even more by leaving bread crumbs (some more crucial than others) throughout the season. Last week's episode ended on a lingering shot of the family's smoke detector without working batteries, a key clue to what could've been had it been fully functional, and the season two premiere closed with a powerful, emotional scene with Rebecca screaming out in shock and pain in front of the burned-down Pearson home after Jack's death.
Creator Dan Fogelman took to Twitter after Tuesday's gut-wrenching episode to calm fans of the show, who were not handling Jack's impending final moments well at all.
I know. It's a lot (but you wanted to know!).
We have the world's best fans. Thank you guys for caring. I'm sorry if you're crying. I blame @MiloVentimiglia for being so spectacular. #ThisIsUs
OF COURSE THE DAY WE FIND OUT ABOUT JACK’S DEATH IS GONNA BE AFTER THE SUPER BOWL BECAUSE JACK LOVED THE SUPER BOWL AND IT WILL BECOME A DAY OF GRIEVING FOR ALL OF AMERICA #ThisIsUspic.twitter.com/AsXz61AHnh
What did you think of Tuesday's episode? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter at @etnow!
This Is Us will air its special Super Bowl episode on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 PT (tentative) on NBC. The cast will also appear on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon live from Minneapolis, Minn., at 11:50 p.m. ET/8:50 p.m. PT (tentative).