While we are a little closer to learning about Jack’s death in season 1 of This Is Us, the writers have given us more things to think about, more questions to ask and, of course, more tears in this episode, titled “What Now?” William leaves a note for his granddaughters to plan his memorial, while Randall struggles to honor a man who touched so many lives. Meanwhile, Kevin struggles to get a New York Times writer back to his play for a good review, Kate tries to open up to Toby yet again and Jack makes a decision that could possibly cost his life (or not — we don’t know yet).
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Honoring a Legacy
Randall has a hard time packing up William’s things, as well as writing his eulogy for a memorial service. Beth tells him to just be around his family and remember all of the good times with William. They then find a note that William left for his granddaughters, Tess and Annie. The note asks that the girls plan his memorial and to make it fun. The girls are thrilled.
As Randall writes his “toast,” he gets a call from Jesse, William’s former partner. Jesse sends condolences from himself as well as other NA members. He tells Randall about how much good he did for the members of the group. Later on, a package of pears gets delivered to the house. The deliveryman asks about William and is devastated to hear of his death. Randall is mesmerized about how many lives William touched.
The package is from Randall’s job, and Beth is disgusted that it’s so generic after how much Randall has sacrificed over the last 10 years at the office.
The memorial service starts with breakfast, leads into a toast, which Randall lets Beth give, and ends with a walk with hats in the neighborhood. During the memorial, Beth reveals that she feels slighted that William didn’t say goodbye to her. She’s upset that he left the girls something, as well as Randall, but nothing for her. During the walk, Rebecca takes Randall aside and apologizes for not giving him more time with William. She blames herself and how selfish she was, and says her fear of losing Randall should have not stopped her from revealing the truth. Randall finally forgives her.
Dropping the Mic
Before the memorial, Kevin scrambles to get a famous New York Times writer to come back to his play since Kevin wasn’t there on opening night. He even goes to the man’s office, where the writer just insults Kevin. Sophie is there to comfort him but tells him that she’s still not comfortable being around his family again.
Sophie’s tune changes after she sees Kevin’s play, which goes off without a hitch this time around. Kevin is upset that the writer didn’t show up. But he tells Sophie that he didn’t come to New York to find fame in a play. The real reason he came to New York is to win Sophie back. This, of course, changes Sophie’s tune and they consummate their relationship. As they fall asleep, Kevin gets a call from Ron Howard, who tells him he’s seen the play and he loves it. He adds that he is prepping a movie to direct in Los Angeles and wants Kevin to read the script.
Kevin is not the only one dropping mics after the play, though. As they head home, Randall tells Beth he needs to stop at the office. However, it’s not to work; it’s to tell off his boss and co-workers for sending a basket of pears, which he is allergic to, and an insensitive card after his father’s death. He then tells them he quits.
And William seems to have the final mic drop after Beth finds a postcard William sent from Memphis before passing away. He calls her his daughter-in-law. And, suddenly, Beth is no longer upset with William.
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Is This It?
Back in 1996, Rebecca heads off on tour. Jack is late to see her off and only gives her a peck on the cheek as she leaves. Kate urges him to fix it, and he runs out, only to be greeted by the tail lights of Ben’s van driving away. Later on, as Jack drops off Kevin, Sophie and Kate to a party, Kate asks him if things are okay with him and Rebecca. He assures her things are fine, but she’s not convinced. She even tells him that he should be at Rebecca’s show in Cleveland, which is only two hours away.
Instead of staying at home and moping, which is what Kate told him not to do, he heads back out to the bar to join his office celebrating someone’s retirement. A co-worker, Heather, tries to get him to open up and eventually hits on him, and he’s disgusted by this move.
Jack decides to seize the day, and he calls the parents of Kate and Kevin’s friends to see if they could spend the night. He then gets Kate on the phone and says that she was right and he’s going to fix things with Rebecca. Then he gets into a car a little tipsy and drives off.
In present day, Kate has a hard time at William’s memorial because it brings up memories of Jack’s death. Randall comforts her and tells her she needs to open up to Toby and let her feelings out. After Kevin’s play, Kate finally opens up to Toby and reveals that she’s the reason for Jack’s death.
There are many theories out there about how Jack dies on This Is Us. There are also rumors that we might not find out in season 1, though it seems we’re getting close. I can only imagine at this point that Jack drinks too much on the way to Cleveland to see Rebecca, gets into a car accident and dies. The pieces are there: Jack’s former drinking problem, Kate urging him to fix things with Rebecca, and him driving off tipsy. But then again, this seems too easy.
It’s clear, however he dies, that Kate is traumatized for life. If he really does die on his way to Cleveland, I could see why Kate blames herself, but she shouldn’t feel that way.
I have to wonder what Kevin will decide to do with the Ron Howard offer. Just as he gets things back on track with Sophie, it seems part of the reason they broke up in the first place is happening again. I’d like to see this storyline explored more as far as when they marry and the eventual divorce.
I’m glad that Randall is finally at peace with his life, it seems. He took a negative and turned it into something good, which is exactly what both William and Jack taught him to do.
Did Randall do the right thing at work? Are you just as eager to find out how Jack died? Do you think he died the night that Rebecca left? How do you think he died? Do you think it’s Kate’s fault? Should Kevin take the job with Ron Howard? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
This Is Us season 1 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like our This Is Us Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of NBC)