This post contains spoilers for the This Is Us Season 2 premiere.
On Tuesday night, This Is Us finally came back to NBC to make us all weep again. And although we didn’t find out the exact answer to one of the show’s central mysteries—how, exactly Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack Pearson died—we did get a massive clue: a burned-down house.
What’s more, show-runner Dan Fogelman has promised that this is not a misdirect; Jack’s death will, indeed, relate to the fire. And in a series of postmortem interviews, the show’s creator revealed a few more hints that you might have missed about the circumstances surrounding the Pearson patriarch’s untimely demise.
“You’ve seen a lot of pieces—this was always the plan for the Big Three,” Fogelman said at a panel following a premiere event. “We had talked about the fire and what happened from Day 1 of starting. This has always been the plan. You’re seeing a lot of things that are going to reveal themselves over the course of the season. . . . The writers have sat and analyzed every bit of minutiae. A lot of the little things are going to come into play over the course of this season. All the answers about how Jack died, it’s all going to happen this season.”
The fire, we also learned, happened when the kids were 17, which means it occurred roughly 20 years ago. We already knew that Kate blames herself for her father’s death, and now we also know that she was the one who told Kevin that their father had died. (Apparently he was elsewhere when the rest of the family found out—making out with a girl, his leg cemented in a cast.) Going forward, we’ve gathered one hint from all of the press the cast and show-runner have done surrounding the premiere: assume that every little detail matters.
On the dramedy’s after-show That Was Us, meanwhile, Fogelman and Ventimiglia discussed the season premiere. “We’ve been teasing it as this big piece of a puzzle about Jack’s death that’s going to be unraveled, and I think with any puzzle, there’s a bunch of clues at the end of the episode,” Fogelman said. “You see the dog with Kate and you see the redheaded girl who you’re not quite sure who she is with Randall, and you see Kevin and his leg. So we know we’re marching toward something and we now know what we’re marching towards and we have these little markers that I think you’ll see over the course of the season that will bring you closer to everything people want to know about Jack’s death.”
How will a dog, a leg cast, and a redheaded girl factor into the big reveal? No idea—but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to find out. (For what it’s worth, Moore also confirmed at the panel that the redhead is Randall’s girlfriend.) Fogelman urges the show’s fans to “watch every moment of the last two minutes, like the Zapruder film. Nothing has been done accidentally.” Another clue that might come in to play, he suggested, is Rebecca’s Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. Noted.
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