It's been a long road, but the time has come for This Is Us' grand denouement. Last Tuesday, they set fans up for night that changed the lives of the Pearsons, when their house burned down and their father died. With no episode this Tuesday due to the State of the Union (thanks Trump!), that means the next episode is the one that follows the Super Bowl. But word is this is a "supersized" episode as well. How long is This Is Us' Super Bowl episode? Should we make sure to stock up on extra hankies?
It's fitting that the "Night of the Fire" episode is the one that follows the Super Bowl, since the night of the fire followed the Super Bowl for the Pearsons, too. Except, for them, it was Super Bowl XXXIII 20 years ago in 1998, not Super Bowl LII. After cleaning up the kitchen, Jack Pearson thought he'd turned off the Crock-Pot, only to have the always-slightly-wonky warming switch short out, first catching the kitchen towels on fire, then the curtains, and then the entire kitchen, the flames eating their lives and their memories in seconds.
With the Super Bowl episode being the most important one to date, it's not surprising to learn the writers made it a little longer than usual. Fellow prestige TV show Game of Thrones has been slowly pushing to extend what can be considered the boundaries of an "hour of television" for a couple of seasons now. We can forgive This Is Us wanting a few extra minutes to make sure the story is done right.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the "supersize" isn't like a GoT episode, where the hour can actually run 69 minutes and change. As much as fans would probably love ten minutes of extra time, NBC isn't HBO. There's the late local news to get through, plus The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to follow as well, which will feature the lead actors from the series talking about the episode we just watched.
So it's just a few extra minutes, which will actually conveniently squeeze into the one-hour run time.
The pivotal installment — which airs Feb. 4 in the highly coveted post-Super Bowl slot — will run approximately three minutes longer than a normal episode. (No, it’s not a lot longer, but approximately three extra minutes of crying is at least something.)
Episodes of This Is Us normally run in the 43-minute range of a 60-minute hour, leaving just over 16 minutes for commercials. This episode will run ~46 minutes. And with good reason, because according to Dan Fogelman, the show "spent a fortune" making it.
[W]e went into the middle of nowhere so nobody would see us, and we built our house. We brought in the people who had done Backdraft…. It’s fair to say that he goes out like he lived. I literally said to NBC — just about the entire next episode in general, and not just Jack’s story line — if we were doing a cheesy marketing campaign, we could say in that movie-trailer-guy voice, 'If you think you know everything, you don’t know Jack.' [Laughs.]
All this being said, fans who are not tuning in until after the game should be aware that the time the show is scheduled to start (10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT) is an approximation. Should the game end slightly early, the series will start at 10:15 p.m ET. Should something insane go down, like last year's first-ever Super Bowl overtime, all bets are off as to when it starts.
So, be careful and maybe extend your DVR to catch the local news and Jimmy Fallon. Just in case. Right after you unplug the Crock-pot.