We’ve been given a hint after hint since the show began and last night’s episode laid the groundwork for what’s to come – what we’ve anticipated – Jack’s death! Let’s recap “That’ll be the Day.”
The first scene starts with what we come to find out is Jack and Rebecca’s neighbors getting ready to sell their house. They are going to their garage to get rid of junk before they sell. Husband is very sentimental about all the stuff, but his wife is not. I was a little confused about how they would fit into the storyline, but as it turns out, they are a huge part of the story. More about that later.
Kate spies Toby looking at his computer and laughing. She assumes he’s looking at porn and is surprised when Toby is looking at the Petfinder website. He would love a dog, but he knows that it would bring back so many memories, painful memories for Kate. Toby gets that, but Kate knows how much Toby wants one. We don’t know exactly what Kate’s memories are, but I speculate that Jack went back into the house to save their dog.
Jack and Rebecca are huge football fans, and the annual Pearson Super Bowl party is a big deal. Rebecca is wearing the same Steelers shirt that she was wearing in the scene when she drives back by the remains of their home ALONE with Jack’s belongings on the passenger seat, so we know the fire is coming. But on this day, Jack and Rebecca are talking about Jack’s construction business. Jack has decided that it’s not a good idea to just quit his job and jump right in. He wants to start slowly by purchasing a couple of homes to flip to establish his reputation and take it from there. Rebecca loves the idea and is surprised when Jack asks her to run the business with him. She agrees, and they start making plans and eventually take their “plan-making” upstairs.
Present day, Randall and Beth did indeed purchase William’s old apartment building and are having a meeting with the tenants that day. Beth is a little concerned with Randall’s enthusiasm and cautions him that they need to take this slow, so they don’t go broke. At the meeting, Beth is making her presentation outlining the way improvements will go and keeps getting interrupted by the tenants asking about repairs to their own apartments. Each time, Randall promises that he will fix those issue today. They are not listening to Beth at all, so she gives up, letting Randall learn the hard way what she already knows.
Kevin, meanwhile, is alone in Rebecca and Miguel’s house looking at the list he’s made of the people that he needs to make amends with. The list is complete with one exception, Sophie. Because his therapist told him to keep his mind and hands busy at this point in his recovery, Kevin heads off to help Randall and Beth at the apartments. As Kevin enters the room, several of them recognize him as “The Manny.” Beth leaves the building in Randall and Kevin’s hands, and they set out to fix them all. The men are pretty proud of all they are accomplishing today. In one of my favorite scenes, one of the women asks Kevin about a wall that she’d like removed. Kevin takes off his shirt and gets to work tearing down the wall unaware that several of the women have brought chairs and are watching Kevin “work.” I mean, I would totally do the same if he were working in my house!
Back to the Super Bowl party 20 years ago. Kate received a letter from the art school but can’t seem to open the letter. Jack grabs it and opens it. They are impressed by Kate’s submission but are now asking for her to submit an original song! Jack and Rebecca are thrilled for her. Jack wants to make a video of her singing for her submission but Kate refuses. Not taking no for an answer, Jack secretly records Kate as she records her song in her room. Kate spies him though and angry, storms out of the house. Jack follows her and she tells her father that she doesn’t see herself the way he does and pleads with him to stop saying “dad” things when it’s not the reality. Jack agrees to stop.
Grown-up Kate is at the animal shelter. She says she’s just entertaining the idea of getting a dog but isn’t ready to commit. Until that is, she and dog named Audio see each other. She loves him immediately and decides to go for it. She is filling out paperwork when the shelter staff member leaves Kate and Audio alone while she gets some paperwork. Alone with Audio, Kate panics and leaves without him.
Kevin and Randall are still feeling pretty proud of themselves at the apartment when Randall gets a call from one of the tenants. Randall rushes to the man’s apartment, and there are dozens of cockroaches pouring out of a hole in the wall which was one of Randall’s quick fixes. He calls an exterminator to debug” the entire building. While that is happening, the tenants can’t stay there, so he puts them up in a hotel for the night. Beth arrives with her “I told you so face” and tells him what she had been trying to say the residents. The first thing that should be done before any renovations are to make sure the building is to get the building up to code first. Beth is right. Randall is humbled. I love Beth!
Back at the Pearson Super Bowl party, it is becoming apparent to Jack and Rebecca that the kids are not interested so much. Kevin is still on crutches and is angry at life for changing his plans for a football career. He has applied to a community college and snaps at Rebecca when she tries to tell him that it’s not a bad thing. Jack yells at Kevin for speaking to his mother that way and Kevin storms off to call Sophie. Kevin heads to Sophie’s house.
It looks like Randall and his new girlfriend (from the mall) are into the game. They are decorating cookies for the party and are oblivious to the drama going on around them. Soon after Randall asks Jack if it’s ok if they skip the side and see Titanic instead. A disappointed Jack says ok. That leaves Kate. At least one of them will be there.
Kate is back in her room and watching Jack’s video. It has captured Jack in the mirror as he filmed her. He is so proud of her. Kate decides that she never wants her dad to stop looking at her that way. Then she asks if she can skip the party and go to her friend’s house. Looks like it’s just Rebecca and Jack.
Rebecca and Jack are dishing up dinner and Rebecca surprises Jack with the listing for a home close to them that is for sale. She thought it would be a great first house to flip and tells Jack that she’s already left a message with the owners. Jack is so excited!
Fast forward 20 years to Kevin who has gone to see Sophie. I had really hoped that the two of them would stay together but it doesn’t look that way for now at least. Kevin tells Sophie how sorry he is for all that happened. Sophie feels bad that as a nurse, she didn’t see it. There is no “actor” Kevin at all in this moment with Sophie. He is sincere when he makes amends with her. However, Sophie does not see a future with Kevin. She tells him that he is the only man she has ever truly loved. She asks Kevin to just let her memories be of 17-year old Kevin. She tells Kevin that he can now cross her name off his list. He tells Sophie that she WAS the list.
Kevin returns home and finds a package waiting at the door. This is the moment my tears started. Kevin opens it up and out falls Jack’s necklace! Kevin, visibly shaken, starts to cry (and so did I).
Back at Kate and Toby’s place, Kate returns home. She tells Toby about her visit to the shelter and that she found this adorable dog but it was too much for her, and she had to leave. Toby is very understanding and tells her not to worry about it. Kate interrupts Toby to say that she was halfway home when she turned around and brought Audio home. More tears for me. Toby loves Audio on sight and Audio gives Toby a big kiss! Yay, Kate!
So, all that’s left now is to talk about the end of the episode. Rebecca is asleep but Jack is still up when Randall comes home. Turns out the night was great and he just had his first kiss. Randall heads to bed. Jack is in the kitchen when Kevin calls to say that he’s spending the night at Sophie’s house. Jack starts to clean up the kitchen and turns the crockpot on low to keep Rebecca’s chili warm.
This is where we realize the significance of the older couple trying to sell their home. The story returns to them with the wife telling her that someone is interested in the house and left a message. She’ll call them in the morning. But there’s more. Flashback to the same man arriving at the Pearson’s door. Rebecca and Jack answer the door and it’s just after they had moved in. Rebecca is pregnant. The man has a gift for them. It’s a crockpot. Yes, that crockpot.
Back to Jack in the kitchen. He closes up the house. Checks all the locks. He tacks a note on Kevin’s door saying that he owes his parent’s an apology and heads to bed. Back in the kitchen, the crockpot shorts and ignites. The fire quickly spreads throughout the kitchen. There is no working smoke alarm. As the fire spreads, all the memories created in that house appear. 17 years of memories. The fire has already spread to the living room. There will be no stopping it.
This is Us does not return until February 4th and airs immediately after the Super Bowl which is kind of appropriate given what’s going to happen. Keep that in mind when you’re setting up your DVR.
We knew it was coming. We’ve been frustrated because all we got were teasers. Well, here it is and I think it’s going to be brutal. I think it’s going to be hard to watch. I know we’re going to need boxes of tissues!