Jack wakes up in the middle of the night - something is wrong. He opens up the bedroom door...FIRE! The entire house is engulfed in flames! He shouts for Rebecca and the kids. He has to find a way to get to his kids. KEVIN! Kevin's bedroom is in the basement! Rebecca tells Jack that Kevin is at Sophie's. Jack gets Randall and Rebecca to safety. He makes it to Kate's room, but now there's no way out!
Jack grabs a mattress, covers himself and Kate with it and they slowly head down the stairs, burning his hands as they make their way to safety. Kate remembers Louie, her dog! He's still inside!
Rebecca, Randall, and Kate watch helplessly as Jack runs back inside for the dog. Just then, the house collapses! This is it! Many guessed that Jack would try to rescue their dog. But, wait! Here he comes - with Louie! Jack made it out! What else does Jack have in his hands? Not only did he get the dog when he went back inside, but he also rescued all their photo albums too. The family is safe; everything else is just stuff. He grabbed the photos because they are irreplaceable.
Jack and Rebecca head to the hospital to treat Jack's burns and the kids head to Miguel's. Rebecca asks Kate to find Kevin.
In the ER, it appears that Jack is going to be okay. The doctor treats and bandages Jack's hands. He has ingested a lot of smoke, so the doctor wants to keep in there for a while longer to monitor his heart and lungs. The doctor says to Jack that he must really love that dog to go back for him and Jack's response is "I love the girl who loves the dog." Rebecca heads to the phone to update the kids.
Rebecca tells Kate that they will be heading to Miguel's soon. Kate has not been able to find Kevin but knows about a party they may have gone to. But while Rebecca is on the phone, she is unaware of the flurry of activity is going on behind her. She hangs up the phone and heads to the vending machine before she returns to Jack.
The doctor meets Rebecca by the machine and tells her that Jack had a massive heart attack and died! Rebecca is sure that the doctor has her confused with someone else because she just left Jack 5 minutes ago and he was fine. She refuses to believe the doctor and hurries back to Jack.
But when Rebecca returns to Jack's room, she sees that Jack is indeed gone. Jack. Jack was dying and she was eating a candy bar. This will haunt Rebecca in the days to come.
Rebecca heads to Miguel's with Jack's things on the passenger seat, to tell their kids that their father is gone.
Miguel comes out to meet Rebecca and Jack as they arrive at his place. He is surprised to see that Jack is not with her. Rebecca has to tell Miguel that he's lost his best friend. Miguel begins to fall apart but Rebecca refuses to let him do that. Right now they need to be strong for her kids. He can have his moment later but not now.
Kate and Randall are stunned to say the least and as the reality of it sets in Kate is taking the blame and the guilt she feels on this night, will stay with her. It will affect every part of her life as a teen into adulthood. Kevin doesn't know yet but wants to be the one to tell him. Kate finds him with Sophie and delivers the news. Kevin will carry his own guilt about that night.
Now we know the whole story of how Jack died. It certainly explains why Kate feels she's to blame for his death. It's 20 years later, and Rebecca, Kate, Randall, Kevin and even Miguel commemorate the day differently.
In Season 1, we learned that Kate spends each anniversary by watching her video audition tape Jack made. Then she watches the Superbowl with Jack.. When she meets Toby he finds out right away that he should never mess with the tradition.
As an IT guy, it drives Toby crazy that Kate will not give up the videotape. He wants to update the video and put it in the cloud so she can watch it anywhere. But Kate does not want the video " in the cloud." She tells Toby that this is her day with her dad and asks to be left alone to spend it the way she wants to.
Fate would intervene however as the tape in the VCR breaks in the machine. Kate panics. Toby tries to remove the tape without ruining it but the tape breaks. Toby tries to keep Kate calm and tells her that he has a guy. They head to Toby's guy and wait nervously to see if it can be repaired. Hallelujah! The man has successfully repaired the tape!
Once home, Kate sits happily watched her video on her laptop. She did let Toby put the video "on" the cloud and she loves it.
She tells Toby that she never thought she would have the strength to put Jack's death and the guilt of that night behind her. But then she met Toby. Toby saved her life.
How does Rebecca spend this day? This is the question Kevin asks his mom that morning. Kevin is still staying with Rebecca and Miguel as he continues his recovery. Rebecca tells him that she typically spends the day alone. Miguel gives her the space to do that every year as he goes off the remember Jack is his own way. Her day includes making Jack's favorite lasagna, watches the Superbowl and waits for Jack to send her some type of message to make her laugh. Kevin gives her a look, but she says that it sounds strange, but it happens every year.
Avoidance has been Kevin's way of coping. But he's sober now and is having a difficult time finding a new way to handle his pain. When Kevin leaves the house I am really hoping that he is not heading to blow his recovery.
But Kevin ends up at Jack's tree. After all these years of suppressing his grief, Kevin finally opens up to Jack. He tells him that he's really messed up. He apologizes for the being home the night of the fire. He tells Jack that he's afraid he's done nothing in life that would have made him proud. But, he promises Jack that things are going to change. He will turn his life around and be the man that Jack raised him to be. This is actually one of my favorite moments in the episode.
Still sitting at the tree, he calls Rebecca and tells her where he's been and what's he's done. At the end of the conversation he admits to Rebecca that he may actually be at the wrong tree! Rebecca cracks up and tells Kevin that Jack has done it again! This was the laughter for this year! Kevin heads home and he and Rebecca watch the game together.
Randall's way of coping with the day is to celebrate it just like his dad would have. Being the only man in the house, there's not a whole lot of Superbowl enthusiasm. He decides to invest a group of Tess' friends for a Superbowl party. Tess is not amused and is not excited about the party. Beth is supportive but is concerned that Randall is going overboard to avoid the significance of the 20th anniversary. Annie has a new pet - a lizard named Mr. McGiggles. Annie keeps taking him out of his house to pet him.
All the girls arrive, and Randall tries to get them interested in the game. Annie announces that Mr. McGiggles is not in his cage. All the teenage girls scream! Randall tries to keep them calm so they can find Annie's pet. Beth heads into the kitchen and crunch; she steps on Mr. McGiggles.
The Superbowl party ends up as a funeral for Mr. McGiggles. As Randall tries to say some words for the lost pet, the significance of a sudden loss breaks trough Randall's walls and the emotions of the day hit him. Beth always knows when she needs to step in and this time is no different. Tess is completely embarrassed and escapes to her room. Randall follows her.
He apologizes to Tess for being a little off that day. He tries to explain why. Earlier in the episode, the family is talking about the landline and how Tess keeps forgetting to hang it up. Tess is embarrassed because "nobody" has a landline anymore - or so she says. As she opens up to Randall. Tess admits that she has been leaving the landline off the hook on purpose because only social workers call that number. She loves the idea of fostering but feels like it means Randall wants a new life. In a beautiful father-daughter, Randall assures his daughter that she will always be his #1 baby girl. Relationship save!
As Tess and Randall are upstairs, the landline rings. Beth answers and we assume that it's about a new foster child. We assume that is is going to be the little boy that we've seen in the last few episodes because Randall has talked about having a boy in the house.
But, as Beth hangs up, we see the little boy with his new foster parents in the social worker's office. It's not Randall and Beth. Confused! Then an older Randall appears. What?? It turns out the social worker is TESS! Another unbelievable plot twist that This is Us writers are so good at!
But who was Beth talking to on the phone?
The doorbell rings, and it's DEJA! Deja is back!! I'm so happy that Deja is back!!!
Next episode is dedicated to Jack's funeral. I'll recap that tomorrow.