Here’s hoping you went to Costco and stocked up on tissues, because the “This Is Us” Season 2 premiere on Tuesday night did not disappoint.
After waiting for months for a new episode, fans of the show finally got another hint about Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death, as well as a glimpse into what life was like for Jack, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and their three kids as they were living apart.
Throughout the episode, we see the Pearsons as a separated family as Jack and Rebecca try to figure things out. But just when Rebecca realizes that they need to make it work, Jack confesses that his alcohol abuse has only gotten worse.
“I have a problem, Rebecca. And I’ve hidden it from you for a very long time. And I’ve hidden it from my kids, and I need to get a handle on it before I walk back into that house,” he tells her. “I’m sorry, baby, I’m very embarrassed and I am very sorry. I need to fix this, on my own.”
Rebecca, not allowing Jack to fight this by himself, replies, “You are my husband and I am your wife and if you have a problem, we will fix it together.”
But after we see her escort him to the car to go home, we get a clue as to what may have happened to Jack. When the kids are 17, their house apparently burned down, and it’s presumed Jack was inside when it happened.
In the final shot of the episode, we see the Pearson’s home destroyed and hear Rebecca in tears, screaming, in her car.
This sets up a major story arc for Season 2, as Dan Fogelman and co. have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to Jack’s final days.
As for the rest of the episode, Jack and Rebecca aren’t the only couple facing problems. In present time, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) also struggle to get on the same page concerning their adoption plans. Randall is now a stay-at-home dad while Beth is working (as Randall says, “Women can do anything. Look at Hillary Clinton.”), and is adamant that they adopt a baby boy to, in some way, honor his life story. But Beth has other plans.
“If you really want to do this, if you really want to risk our perfectly imperfect life for something, let’s go all the way. Let’s take in an older kid who no one else in the whole damn world is going to help,” Beth tells Randall, asserting that she doesn’t want to raise a baby but an older child.
As for Kevin (Justin Hartley), his rekindled romance with his ex-wife, Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge), is currently long distance as he takes a job on a Ron Howard movie. Similarly, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) seem to be dealing with some tension as well in the midst of her barely-off-the-ground singing career.
But what will come of all this supposed strife? Who knows. (This is “This Is Us,” after all.)
All we know is that the second season is sure to be as emotional as the first, with so many storylines to explore ― will Kate ever get what she wants? Will Kevin and Sophie last? Will Randall and Beth go through with their plan? But there’s no doubt Jack’s demise is the most talked-about plot point of the series, and viewers will be itching for more telling information week after week.
As Sterling K. Brown told Stephen Colbert about Jack’s fate in an interview this week, “People who’ve been asking, you’ll see something and then it will get filled in throughout the course of the season.”
We’ll be waiting...
“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.