ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Movie Pilot's resident Walking Dead expert | Twitter: @bananallanah | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

Since debuting as a surprise smash hit last year, NBC's This Is Us has taken hold of our collective heartstrings, and each Tuesday night proceeds to tug at them until we're bawling. The show regularly takes 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 after 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.

Kate shows Toby Jack's ashes [credit: NBC]
Kate shows Toby Jack's ashes [credit: NBC]

But the worst part about Jack's death is that although we know it happened, we don't know when or how exactly it happened, 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

[Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC]
[Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC]

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?

During the 9/11 attacks

Rebecca and the Big Three at Jack's funeral [credit: NBC]
Rebecca and the Big Three at Jack's funeral [credit: NBC]

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.

In addition we know that Randall works in New York City and lives nearby in the suburbs, with Rebecca also living somewhat close by. Perhaps the Pearsons could have relocated the whole family close to the area some time before the attacks.

However, there are a few of flaws in the theory, one of which was Kate implying that she watched the 2006 Super Bowl with her dad (though, she could have watched it alongside his urn like she did in Episode 5). Redditor mattnormus also thinks it would be a stretch considering Kate has a container of his ashes, something which may have been difficult to recover if he had died in the attacks.

Meanwhile Redditor grafino recalled Kevin's reaction to Kate's scary flight experience not exactly being sensitive, which would seem particularly callous if their father had died in a plane-related incident. Also we recently saw a scene from Jack's funeral where the kids were played by their 15-year-old selves, indicating that Jack probably died some time in their late teens, and during 9/11 they would have been 21. Of course it's not impossible that it happened, but there are definitely some kinks.


Do you think Jack died in the 9/11 attacks?

See also:

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

[Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC]
[Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC]

Now, don't think I'm suggesting that Kate killed her father, but it seems like she has huge problems talking about how Jack died, leading many to speculate that either she was the one who found him after he passed away, or that she still feels immense guilt over how he died.

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, 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 airs on NBC on Tuesday nights

Source: US Weekly

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