This is going to sound morbid no matter how I say it, but I really wanted Jack’s death to be to be completely random and completely unavoidable. Like, such a freak, horrible accident that couldn’t have been prevented no matter what. I wanted Jack’s death to be out-of-the-blue, because that’d be ridiculously sad — fate was always going to take Jack Pearson away from us, no matter how hard we tried to keep him. His destiny had been predetermined, and he was always going to leave us, Rebecca, and his children (and grandchildren!) far too early.
At the beginning of this season of This Is Us, we learned that somehow Jack dies in a house fire. And that right there is something random and completely unavoidable. Faulty wires are a thing that can easily destroy a house. Maybe lightning struck the house and set it ablaze. All those things could still happen on the show, as we don’t know exactly what starts this impending fire. But we do know, that even with the fire, Jack’s death could have been prevented — IF ONLY THERE WERE BATTERIES IN THE SMOKE DETECTOR.
Knowing this piece of the greater This Is Us puzzle is quite possibly one of the most heartbreaking things to think about. Jack’s death has now become one of those completely random, and completely unavoidable deaths that didn’t have to be random, and could have been avoided.
The long and the short of it is that Jack’s death is, yes, random — but not so random that one small change could have spared him.
If only Jack had remembered to remind Rebecca about the batteries. If only Rebecca had remembered the batteries herself. Eventually, we’re going to find out just why there aren’t batteries in the Pearson’s smoke detector, and if only someone had remembered to change the batteries then and there, instead of waiting on it. If only someone hadn’t popped the batteries out in the first place. If only. Yes, now it makes sense as to why the family continues to beat themselves up over his passing, as Jack’s death as a direct cause and effect situation. Something (or someone) caused the batteries to come out, and the aftermath is Jack’s gone.
All along, This Is Us has taught us that life is weird and random and surprising, but they’re really driving it home with Jack’s death. There are so many tiny, little things that lead up to his passing, and if only ONE had been different, he might still be here today. Have fun crying about this fact for the rest of the season/series/your life — and seriously, check your smoke detector batteries.