After the jaw-dropping and tear-jerking season one finale of NBC’s hit drama “This Is Us,” audiences all over the country sat in their living rooms dealing with heartache and searching for answers they were never given (and for another box of Kleenex).  When the second season premiere aired last Tuesday, fans of the show received a major clue to the answer of the question everyone is dying to ask:

What happened to Jack?

The season two premiere picks up three months later on Kate, Kevin and Randall’s birthday. This parallels the pilot episode, which opened on the Big Three’s birthday the same way.  

Framed in the late William’s advice to Randall from one of his poems, the episode follows Randall’s desire to adopt a baby boy as his parents adopted him.  However, his headstrong wife is not easily convinced and — guided by the wise words of an ever-present, yet never-present, William — she decides that the best option for the couple would be to adopt an older foster child.

At the end of season one, Kevin rekindled his love with his ex-wife and highschool sweetheart (swoon) Sophie, and convinced her to give him one final chance.  In the newest episode, it’s a bit of a surprise to see the two going so strong after Sophie was reluctant to give him another shot, and even more surprising when Sophie tells Kevin that she loves him during a phone call.  Hopefully, this love will put an end to the string of women Kevin drags into the plotline of the series.

The most impressive woman in “This Is Us” is Kate.  Forever struggling with her self-image, she addresses the real emotions and experiences of women who struggle with body image everywhere.  Her character develops even more within this episode as she exclaims to the two most influential men in her life, Kevin and Toby, that she does not need to be pushed.  Once again, Kate is completely capable of taking care of herself.  Among all of the headstrong men in the show, Kate deserves a strong “you go girl.”

Now for the answer to the lingering question (drum roll please):  “What happened to Jack?”  At the end of season one, fans everywhere watched in horror as Jack and Rebecca’s relationship began to splinter and finally split, as Jack walked out of their home per Rebecca’s request.  In the season two premiere, Rebecca treks to Miguel’s to ask Jack to come home and rejoin the family, promising that whatever he is going through, they can go through together.  She says, “Everything will be back to normal in a month.”  However, it becomes clear that the month will not heal them as the scene is juxtaposed with a shot of  young Kate and Randall, crying on Miguel’s couch.  Rebecca is driving slowly down the road, a bag of Jack’s possessions riding shotgun.  She pulls up to a burnt shell of a home — the Pearsons’ home.  She screams and bangs her fist on the steering wheel.

This big reveal only poses more questions for the audience.  Did Jack’s drunken antics cause the fire?  Did Jack die inside?  The premiere’s ending is perfectly timed, practically forcing everyone to watch the next episode and the next until the truth is finally exposed.  So many questions, but you should start by finding another box of Kleenex.

toolemb@miamioh.edu

@maddie_toole

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