By Parker, Just Parker
Anyone else hate these placeholder weeks? Yeah, me too. But as long as we have a week off from the show, I thought maybe we could discuss our theories about Jack.
First off, apologies to the readers who clearly do their homework way better than I do. Hey, it was my first recap, I’m learning! I worried last week in the recap and the comments that the show would lose a lot of steam if Jack died this season. Boy was I wrong. It’s pretty clear from reading the interviews with cast members and with series creator Dan Fogelman that we are not going to learn the circumstances of Jack’s death this season. Here’s what he told Entertainment Weekly.
“By the end of the season, you’re going to know a lot of the details of the how and the ramifications of it. In terms of the detail of how he died, was it illness? Was it something tragic? Was it something else? You’re not going to know that for a little bit because we want to show that in the show. So that’s going to take a minute.”
So we will have the place marker of his death, but I suspect that next season is going to be all about what happened from when Jack and Rebecca had their big fight on Valentine’s Day to how Jack died. I think we’ll get a lot of clues in the last episode of the season, which Fogelman has said is mostly about Jack and Rebecca. Can’t wait!
In the meantime, that isn’t going to stop us from guessing, right? There are a LOT of theories out on the internet about how Jack dies. What’s really amazing to me is that there do not seem to be ANY leaks from cast members. I mean, how is that possible? The entire plot for the next season of Game of Thrones is already on line and not a single cast member of This is Us has talked to anyone about how Jack dies? Crazy, but kind of nice to see a cast and a writing team so dedicated to taking us on their journey in their own way and at their own pace.
Justin Hartley, the actor who plays Kevin, told TMZ, “You’ll never guess it. It’s unexpected and it’s extremely heartbreaking and sad and deep and moving and, ugh, it’s painful. It’s painful. It’ll stay with you.”
Ha. Nothing new for this show, right?
So here’s a roundup of some of the theories about Jack’s death. Let’s talk about them in the comments!
- He dies in a drunk driving accident. This one is pretty obvious. The theory goes that Kate was in the car with him since she seems the most torn up about his death. I don’t love this as a theory. I know that Jack has been portrayed as deeply human and flawed by Fogelman, but this show has been all about redemption to date and to have Jack go out in so ignominious a way seems off to me. I’d also point out that all three of the kids still drink, so I am wondering if the drinking is just a red herring. Another reason to rule it out is the statement from Justin Hartley that fans will never guess how Jack dies. Since this was pretty much everyone’s first guess….
- He dies on 9/11. I know, this initially sounds nuts, but it is fast becoming one of the most popular fan theories of how Jack died. The supporting facts? (1) Kate’s desperate fear of flying, although I didn’t really get that from her flight scene. She only seemed afraid when the plane went through severe turbulence. I’ve been through severe enough turbulence that I watched someone’s laptop bounce of the ceiling. Trust me, I was afraid! (2) Kevin destroys all of the model airplanes he made with his dad after Jack died. But to me, this suggests more anger at his dad than anything else. And I see one major problem with the 9/11 theory: 2001 seems too late to me. If the triplets just had their 36th birthday in 2016, they would have been 20 (almost 21) when 9/11 happened. They seemed younger in the one scene we’ve had so far from Jack’s funeral. More like high school than college age. (Note that there was some fan pushback because Kate said she watched the 2006 Super Bowl with her dad. That is obviously way too late for his death and someone pointed out that she meant she watched it with the urn of ashes, not actually with Jack.)
- A new theory that popped up after Memphis is the heartbreaking idea that Jack died alone. It comes from Randall saying to William that he needed a nurse with him so he wouldn’t “die when nobody’s looking.” Just thinking about Jack dying alone is bringing tears to my eyes so I guess this theory has to be in the running. I don’t love it because I am still banking on an arc for Jack that takes him to a very very low point and then gives him some kind of redemption. I feel like the show and the show’s fans like Jack too much for it to end with him broken and alone. But there is no denying that it would be very very painful to watch. Oh, and William fans. Good news….he’ll be in future episodes according to Fogelman! If they intertwine William’s life with Jack’s death somehow there is going to be a run on Kleenex….
- Last theory I’m going to put out there is that Miguel had something to do with Jack’s death. This idea comes from a reddit user. Although the user didn’t really flesh out the details, this is how it could go I think. Jack stays with Miguel after Rebecca kicks him out of the house. There is a house fire (for some reason everyone seems to think fire might have something to do with Jack’s death) and Jack dies trying to save Miguel’s family unsuccessfully. (The more sinister people out there think that Miguel may have had something to do with the fire, but this seems a bit off to me although it may explain some of the triplets’ resentment toward Miguel.) The main support for this theory is the fact that we know that Miguel had a wife and kids but they’ve never been mentioned or shown in present day scenes with Miguel and Rebecca. Eh, I don’t love this one, but it’s out there.
So what are you theories?