This Is Us – Super Bowl Sunday
By: Suzanne Fox
Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is sleeping in bed next to Rebecca (Mandy Moore). He wakes up, takes a sip of water and realizes that smoke is penetrating the master bedroom. Jack yells at Rebecca to wake up, as she jumps out of bed. He opens the door and the interior of the house is on fire. He yells to the kids that the house is on fire. Jack instructs Rebecca to wet towels and block the door. They will use the master bedroom for safety since it has a better exit window. He sees Randall (Niles Fitch) and guides him to the bedroom to be with Rebecca. Jack runs across the hall to help Kate (Hannah Zeile), who is screaming in terror. Jack repeatedly calls out to his “Katie Girl” as he comes to her rescue. Once inside Kate’s room, he picks up her mattress and uses it to block the fire while he protects Kate and keeps her behind him. Flames lick his hands and arms but he perseveres. The pain he experiences is visible on his face but he advances down the hall with Kate safe behind him. Together they enter the master bedroom where Rebecca and Randall are located.
Once Jack has them all together, and Rebecca lets him know that Kevin is not in the house, he formulates a plan. He uses sheets and towels tied together and lowers them all to the ground from the second floor window. Randall goes first and helps guide Kate and then Rebecca down. While together on the ground Kate hears her dog Louie barking. She screams for him and Jack heads back into the house so that Kate is not upset or disappointed. He is gone for several minutes while his family panics outside. Randall has to hold Rebecca back from going into the house to find Jack. Eventually Jack returns with Louie and a pillowcase full of items.
Jack is treated in the ambulance that has arrived. He has second degree burns on his hands and arms and has suffered from significant smoke inhalation. Rebecca has the kids go to Miguel’s and she goes to the hospital with Jack. At the hospital the doctor (Bill Irwin) bandages Jack’s hands and tells them that Jack has indeed suffered from smoke inhalation. Rebecca and Jack take a moment to remember Dr. K, who delivered the Big Three. They kiss on the hospital bed and comment how lucky they are to have each other. Jack sweetly tells Rebecca that he still has the only thing he ever wanted- which is her. Jack tells Rebecca he would like a candy bar and she goes to get them drinks and snacks. The last thing Jack says to Rebecca is that she is blocking the TV. In the lobby, Rebecca makes calls to a hotel to secure a place to stay. While her back is turned, a code is signaled for help. Jack dies while Rebecca is in the lobby picking out candy. The doctor returns and has Rebecca sit down. He delicately tells Rebecca that Jack’s lungs were compromised, his heart was under a lot of strain and that Jack has had a heart attack. Rebecca takes a bite of candy while she tries to process this. Ultimately she enters his room and sees Jack dead, on the hospital bed. His body is seen in a reflection in the glass of the door. While Rebecca stares at Jack’s lifeless body, she has flashbacks of Jack throughout the years. Rebecca’s memories include the night they first met, later when he acted as Pilgrim Rick, and when Jack gave a big speech about wanting to be 12 for Kate.
Rebecca signs papers and heads to Miguel’s. Miguel meets her outside and she informs him that Jack died. She tells him he had a “Widowmaker’s Heart Attack” Miguel becomes visibly upset and Rebecca tells him to go for a walk because she has to go inside and ruin her kids’ lives. Rebecca talks to Randall and Kate and tells them what has transpired. Kate says that she will find Kevin and tell him. Kate finds Kevin (Logan Shroyer) laying in the back of his car, asleep, while holding Sophie (Amanda Leighton).
Flashes of clips now come together: Kate and Randall crying at Miguel’s house, Kate finding Kevin to tell him that Jack died, and Rebecca crying in the car outside the fire-eaten Pearson house.
Back in present day, Kate (Chrissy Metz) is watching the VHS tape that Jack recorded of her singing audition. She has established this as her tradition on Super Bowl Sunday. Toby (Chris Sullivan) encourages her to take a break from watching it. The VHS eventually gets stuck in the VCR and Kate freaks out. Toby calm Kate down and tells her he has a guy (Erik Marion) who can fix it. They get the tape fixed and Toby’s guy puts the video on the Cloud. Kate shares with Toby that she believed that after the night of the fire the family would never get past it but she knew one day they would. Kate thanks Toby for changing her life and for saving it. She shares with Toby that she believes Jack would have loved him.
Rebecca drives up to the shell of the burned out house. She takes time to cry in the car. Rebecca reaches into the pillowcase of items that Jack grabbed and finds her crescent moon necklace. She immediately puts it around her neck.
Kevin enters the room and asks Rebecca what she is doing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jack’s passing. She tells him that Jack always sends her a sign and he keeps her laughing. Rebecca tells Kevin that the first year after Jack died she heard “You Can Call Me Al” on two radio stations, which made her laugh. She said she likes to go food shopping and make Jack’s lasagna, eat it by herself and watch the Super Bowl. Rebecca invites Kevin to join her but he politely declines.
Kevin goes to Jack’s tree, sits down against it and has a talk with Jack. Kevin tearfully admits that he has had a tough year. He apologizes for not being the son he should have been and for disappointing Jack. Kevin admits that he has an addiction problem and that he is not handling it as well as Jack took care of his own addiction battles. Kevin tells Jack that he will make him proud and do things right. Then he calls Rebecca to ask her what she is doing and to check on her. She tells Kevin that Jack didn’t send her any signs but that Kevin is the sign that she needed this year. In a funny moment, Kevin confesses that he may be at the wrong tree.
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) is hosting a Super Bowl Party at his house for his girls. Randall is dancing around wearing an apron that states, “Caution. Hot Dad.” He tells Beth (Susan Kelechi Wason) that his plan is to celebrate the day because it was Jack’s favorite day. The girls have friends over but Annie (Faithe Herman) gets upset because her lizard, Mr. McGiggles, escaped from his cage. All the young kids start screaming. Beth escapes into the kitchen and accidentally steps on the lizard. She tells Randall that the lizard isn’t giggling anymore. Randall returns to the living room to inform the girls and friends that Mr. Giggles has died. He launches into a very emotional, heartfelt speech about death. Randall tells everybody that you never know when you see somebody that it could be the last time. Randall was providing a eulogy for Mr. McGiggles but he ends up touching upon his own emotions from Jack’s death 20 years earlier.
Tess (Eris Baker) goes upstairs and Randall finds her alone in her bedroom. She is upset and Randall finds out it is because so much has changed and that Randall keeps changing their life. Tess tells Randall that he lost his job, he lost their new grandfather, and they lost Deja. She feels like Randall is trying to lose his old life and create a new one. Tess admits that she has been leaving their landline phone off the hook because only social workers call it even though she liked having Deja in their family. Randall promises Tess that she is number one in his life. He tells her that she will live home with them until she is 25 and they will have weekly dinners in her big, fancy office one day. The phone rings and upon answering it they find out that Deja (Lyric Ross) is at their front door.
Years later we see a social worker introducing Jordan (John Berryman), young boy who needs fostering, to his new foster parents. An older Randall enters the office and greets Tess for their weekly dinner, we find out that the social worker is a grown-up Tess.