In the fifth episode of This Is Us, Kate drops some information on Toby that we were dreading from the pilot episode of the series: Her father, Jack, is dead. Kate’s got Jack’s ashes, and she likes to watch football games with him, since that was their thing growing up. On top of that, Kate’s got Jack’s ashes because she misses him a lot — and also because she feels directly responsible for his death. This is something the show, and Kate, have teased since Season 1, and now during the big “Jack’s Death” episode of the NBC show, we finally saw the events in the Pearson house unfold:
Yes, Kate is responsible for Jack’s death — but it’s better to say she’s indirectly responsible, as all the blame can’t be put solely on her.
The Pearson’s house is destroyed in a fire, thanks to a faulty Crock-Pot in the kitchen that sets everything ablaze. Since there aren’t batteries in the smoke detector, no one knows about the fire until it’s too late. Of course, everyone is thrown into a panic as Jack scrambles to get his wife and kids out safe. He fights the flames to make it to Randall’s room, and then uses a mattress (yes, look it up, mattresses are retardant, this was a good idea, Jack) to get Kate out safe. Rebecca, Kate, and Randall all make it outside — but not Jack.
Kate is on the ground screaming for her dog, and we hear it bark from inside the house. Kate is visibly upset about it, which Jack sees, so he goes back into the burning building to get the dog. And we’re all like “THIS IS IT, THIS IS HOW HE DIES, BRACE YOURSELF,” but lo and behold, Mr. Superman makes it out of the burning house with the dog, and a bunch of family heirlooms like pictures and videotapes.
As we learn later in the episode, Jack dies from a heart attack due to the smoke he inhaled during the fire. The moment is horrible, heartbreaking, and sad, and Kate feels responsible because even though Jack made it out alive, he still dies. As she tells Toby, the only reason Jack went back into the fire — and essentially seals his fate — is because he couldn’t bear to see his little girl, Katie, upset.
We can totally understand how and why she feels responsible, but Jack was always the best dad, and he was always going to try and keep his kids happy, and safe — even if it meant giving his own life to do so.