Spoiler alert: This article contains mild spoilers for the “Clooney” and “That’ll Be the Day” episodes of This Is Us.
This Is Us is headed full speed ahead to the date of Jack Pearson’s death—and it could be coming as soon as next Tuesday’s episode. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This Is Us executive producer Isaac Aptaker said the final scene of this week’s “Clooney” episode, in which the camera panned to a non-working smoke detector in the final seconds of the show, was not a fake-out. The ominous shot was a clear sign that Jack’s death is coming soon, and all of the clues previously put into place in the season premiere—Kate’s dog, Kevin’s broken leg, and Randall’s red-headed girlfriend—have come into play.
“Now that we know we’re this close to the death, every time Jack has an interaction with one of his kids, that’s even the tiniest bit emotional, it has this added weight to it because we, as an audience, have this bird’s eye view and can see what’s coming,” the This Is Us producer said.
“You know that the audience is sitting there going. ‘Ooh, is this the last time they talk?’ And very soon it will be because….we’re not pulling punches with that smoke detector — it’s coming.”
While This Is Us fans have been waiting for the day when they finally get the answers on exactly how Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) died, now that it is coming, they may decide they’re not ready for it. Unfortunately, there’s no turning back now.
The January 23 This Is Us episode, the 13th of the season, is titled “That’ll Be the day.” Of course, Buddy Holly has a song titled “That’ll be the day,” and the chorus ends with the line, “That’ll be the day when I die.”
In addition, the promo for the “That’ll Be the Day” episode shows that Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is wearing her Pittsburgh Steelers jersey—the same jersey viewers saw when she pulled up to the Pearson’s house after it was destroyed by fire. In other words, the same jersey Rebecca was wearing on the day that Jack died. In the new This Is Us promo, which you can see below, Jack also offers a toast to the Steelers (with orange juice, not liquor) and tells Rebecca, “At least we have today. Let’s make it count.”
The words “The one day they will all remember” also flash across the screen.
According to the Futon Critic, the synopsis for the This Is Us episode “That’ll be the Day” is: “Kevin helps Randall and Beth with a project. Kate contemplates a big gift for Toby. Jack and Rebecca talk about their future.”
But based on the outfits and the timeframe, Jack may be out of time. All the signs that Jack is about to meet his demise are there, so This Is Us fans may want to stock up on the tissues before next Tuesday.
This Is Us airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.