Since debuting as a surprise smash hit last year, NBC's This Is Us has taken hold of our collective heartstrings, and has proceeded to tug at them until we're bawling. The show regularly took out the number one ratings spot in the key 18-49 demographic, and it's fair to say we've all become totally enamored with the wonderful Pearson family.
But as fans know, This Is Us isn't all emotional highs, with one of the lowest lows of the series having been revealed way back in Episode 5 when we learned that Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is dead. We already knew that our perfect parenting duo, Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) had somehow parted ways in the past, with Rebecca now married to Jack's best friend Miguel (Jon Huertas), however it was an extra blow to see Kate (Chrissy Metz) watching a football match alongside her dad's ashes.
But the worst part about Jack's death is that although we know it happened, we don't know exactly when or how, ensuring that in every episode in which we see past Jack, our hearts go into our stomachs as we wait for anything that might indicate his death. Yeah, watching This Is Us isn't exactly the most relaxing hour of TV.
With so many years between the 36-year-old Big Three in the present and the 15-year-old Big Three in 1995, there's a ton of theories on how Jack died and some of them are fairly convincing. Take a look below at a round up of the best (read: most emotionally ruining) theories on how Jack died in This Is Us.
Killed after drink driving
We know that throughout the series, Jack has struggled with drinking. While he eventually promised Rebecca he would stop when the kids were young, we saw in Episode 15 that he fell off the wagon at the solo Valentine's Day dinner after learning about Rebecca's history with Ben.
Given that Jack mostly comes across as an almost perfect husband and father, his one persistent vice should definitely not be ignored, and it seems like the show has focussed on it as a hint to his cause of death. That, coupled with his love of cars (remember his Chevelle he sold before the kids were born?), it's become a popular theory that Jack dies while driving drunk.
Many fans even think that the accident might come following a fight with Rebecca:
However the show's choice to focus on the drinking could also be a massive red herring, and supporting this is a recent interview with Justin Hartley (Kevin Pearson). Hartley told US Weekly "you'll never guess [how Jack dies]," also adding "it's unexpected."
Do you think Jack died after drink driving?
In a plane crash that was a real-life disaster
Definitely one of the more gut-wrenching predictions is the theory that Jack died during the attacks on 9/11. The theory comes courtesy of Tumblr user just-an-outlaw and is supported by the evidence that both Kate and Kevin are nervous on planes and that Kevin threw away all the model planes that he and Jack made together.
However, after some closer inspection, the timing for this exact theory doesn't quite fit (the Big Three would have been 20 in 2001, and were clearly teens when Jack died), leading some to theorize that instead perhaps Jack died in the September 1994 plane crash, USAir Flight 427. This tragic accident happened on a flight that was traveling from Chicago to Pittsburgh (which is where the Pearson family lived) and crashed as it attempted to land at Pittsburgh International Airport. Sadly all 132 on board were killed.
This theory certainly fit with the reveal from Sterling K Brown (Randall), who confirmed during a PaleyFest panel that Jack died in Pittsburgh.
Do you think Jack died in the USAir Flight 427 crash?
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He committed suicide
Alright this one is pretty dark, but we know This Is Us frequently tackles big issues, and suicide is a massive issue and one which is largely undiscussed, particularly suicide by males.
Fans have been predicting that following his turn back to drinking we're about to see Jack slide into some dark times after Rebecca goes away on tour with Ben, and possibly take his own life.
Although Jack doesn't necessarily look like he's mentally suffering, that doesn't mean its less of a possibility, with the suicides of many celebrities in recent years proving that the face we put on for others is not necessarily reflective of how someone might be feeling inside.
Do you think Jack died after committing suicide?
It's somehow connected to Kate
Now, don't think I'm suggesting that Kate killed her father, but throughout all of Season 1 she showed huge problems talking about how Jack died. Then towards the very end of Season 1 it was revealed that she caused her father's death — or at least that's what she believes.
Because we know that Jack died when the Big Three were around 15-years-old, one popular theory is that she needed Jack to pick her up from somewhere, and that he died before he got to her. Another theory is that Jack died whilst saving Kate from something, perhaps illness or an accident, sacrificing himself in the process.
Then again, there's also just the fact that Jack and Kate were extremely close (I mean, she is the one who has most of his ashes) and it's simply still far too emotional for her to talk about how her hero, Big Daddy, died.
Do you think Kate was somehow involved or present when Jack died?
But however it is that Jack dies, one thing's for sure, when we finally do see that episode, it's going to hit us like a ton of bricks.
We feel you, girl!
This Is Us has been renewed for a Season 2 which is expected to air in September.
Source: US Weekly