It's the end of another emotional episode of This Is Us. While the entire at-home audience rushed to their feet at once and ran to double check their smoke alarms to make sure the batteries are in, connected, and working, Season 2 Episode 12 was running the next time trailer, as the show does at the end of every episode. This week's coming episode is called "That'll Be The Day," named after the Buddy Holly song which ends "Cause that'll be the day when I die." The This Is Us Season 2 Episode 13 promo certainly isn't giving away much of anything, which makes me think this indeed will be the day when Jack dies.
Some of us are cheering over Kate's "Yes to the Dress" tonight, while others are scratching their heads over how Beth is going to feel about buying the ugliest piece of affordable housing this side of Pittsburgh; but there isn't anyone who isn't gasping over the fact that they forgot to buy batteries, and that final image of the smoke detector silently hanging empty. How bad could next week be?
Let's check the synopsis:
Kevin helps Randall and Beth with a project. Kate contemplates a big gift for Toby. Jack and Rebecca talk about their future.
And here's the trailer:
So that was a trailer that didn't tell us anything about next week... and yet it told us everything. What will happen on the next This Is Us? They're not telling us. There's no plot points, no voice over directives on what to focus on, just a lot of soft focus moments of joy.
And one chyron: They will all remember.
Rebecca is wearing her Steelers jersey. The same one we saw her wearing that night, in the car, as she pulled up to the burnt shell of their home. All the puzzle pieces are in place: the dog, the broken leg, the red headed girl... and the batteries they forgot to buy.
And it's that time, isn't it? When do character die too soon in movies and television? The last day, the one when they were about to retire. It's such a cliché, it's a parody of itself, and yet. Jack and Rebecca are there, talking about their future. They're talking about throwing caution to the wind, and letting Jack quit the job he hates and start his own business, right as he has three student loans he's about to have to take out. (OK, maybe two, Randall will probably be able to score enough scholarships for a free ride at Howard.)
This is the moment when they were about to start a new chapter in their lives, just as all our triplets are facing down starting new chapters in the here and now: Kevin with sobriety, Randall with his business with Beth, and Kate with her marriage.
Of course the time comes now to remember how their father never got to start that chapter he wanted. His tragic passing is still a mystery, but fans can assume it was somehow fire related. Somehow in a way that, decades later, Kate still thinks it's her fault. Jack died somehow in a way that left all four of them scarred for life.
Go out and buy your tissues now This Is Us fam, because there's going to be a run on them come Tuesday. The show isn't waiting for the Super Bowl episode to come and go before answering the questions we've all had about Jack's death. Mark your calendars, don't make plans, because it looks like the tidal wave of tears is coming and I don't think any of us are ready for it.