‘This Is Us’ teases Jack’s death in emotional Season 2 premiere: review


‘This is Us’ star Milo Ventimiglia hints at what could happen to his character Jack in the season finale.

Spoiler alert! The following contains plot details from the Season 2 premiere of This Is Us, “A Father’s Advice.”

This Is Us knows how to pack an emotional punch. 

The first season of NBC’s family drama became known for its ability to make its audience cry, so much so that the emoji associated with its hashtag on Twitter is a box of tissues.

Now the series is back for a sophomore season with sky-high expectations and the chance to break viewers’ hearts even further.  Tuesday’s Season 2 premiere delivered on both fronts, gamely kicking things off with the same strong, consistent and emotionally devastating format that it honed so well in Season 1. 

But more than retaining the quality of the first season, the premiere should also satisfy fans itching to know details surrounding Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death, which has been kept secret in spite of the series’ penchant for illuminating flashbacks. In the final moments of the episode, the camera turns to the night of Jack’s death, when a devastated Rebecca (Mandy Moore) pulls up to the charred remains of the Pearson house, suggesting that Jack died in a fire inside. 

More: Pearson family’s ‘Big Three’ has big dreams in Season 2 of hit ‘This Is Us’

How the fire started, why Kate (Chrissy Metz) feels responsible and why no one else was hurt aren’t revealed. But This Is Us has always thrived on its small clues and mysteries, and the glimpses of that night included a shot of a red-headed girl grieving with a teenage Randall (Niles Fitch), and Kevin (Logan Shroyer) sporting a broken leg.

More: ‘This Is Us’ examines Jack’s fate, adds guest star Sylvester Stallone in Season 2

Mysteries and puzzles are a part of This Is Us, for sure, but the series is made by its strong characters, and the biggest improvement after a summer off the air comes in Kate’s storyline. She has long been defined by three things: her weight, her relationship with Toby (Chris Sullivan) and her relationship with twin brother Kevin (Justin Hartley).

Chrissy Metz as Kate and Justin Hartley as Kevin on ‘This Is Us.’ (Photo: Ron Batzdorff, NBC)

The premiere confronts this head-on, when, with Kevin back in L.A., and back in Kate’s daily life, he and Toby get into an argument about who should take care of her. Kate interrupts to remind the men she’s 37 (it’s her birthday) and can take care of herself. It’s a much-needed moment that will help develop her character this season as she pursues a singing career. 

Overall, This Is Us gave viewers more of what they loved last season. Sterling K. Brown continues to deliver, well, sterling work as Randall, who is now consumed with his need to adopt a child, but checks himself before that obsession hurts his marriage to Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). Kevin is carving out a career, and although his long-distance relationship with Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) is tough, the pair appears to be dealing with it better. 

Sterling K. Brown as Randall on ‘This Is Us.’ (Photo: Ron Batzdorff, NBC)

Back in the past, Jack admits to Rebecca that he’s an alcoholic and agrees to come home with her, which should have provided a mostly happy ending to the monstrous fight the  couple got into in the Season 1 finale. Except, of course, the specter of his death will loom over the whole season until all of the details have been revealed. 

The episode affirmed that This Is Us is one of the most consistent series on the air, with strong acting and storytelling. And isn’t that just the comfort you expected the Pearsons to bring in Season 2?


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