‘This Is Us’ Honors The Legacy Of Jack Pearson In This Surprising Way

This is Us episode "The Waiting Room" stars Justin Hartley as Kevin, Sterling K. Brown as Randall.
Ron Batzdorff / NBC

The legacy of Jack Pearson was honored on one of the most heart-wrenching episodes ever of NBC’s This is Us after the character of Kate went into early labor and delivered her firstborn son.

After Kate’s water broke early, at 28 weeks of pregnancy, she delivered a tiny, fragile baby boy and promptly named him after the most important man in her life, her late father Jack. “The Waiting Room” took place entirely in the waiting room of the hospital, where anxious members of the Pearson family gathered together as they awaited word on the health of both Kate and her baby.

People Magazine reported the episode was “modeled on a one-act play.”

“He’s here. It’s a boy and he’s very premature,” Toby told the family, as reported by People. “His heart rate dropped and they had to do an emergency C-section. Everything happened so fast. He’s really, really small. So they put him on a machine because he can’t breathe on his own yet and he’s in this plastic box; it keeps him warm.”

Kate realized that her son already had some of her characteristics, including impatience, leading to his early arrival. The two parents were seen in a tender moment, attempting to figure out just what to do next in the hours after their fragile son’s arrival.

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You could cut this tension with a knife. #ThisIsUs

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Actress Chrissy Metz, who plays Kate, then delivered an emotional speech where she asked her father for help in keeping his namesake safe in the weeks ahead as he gained more strength.

Kate’s mom Rebecca, Kevin, and Randall, and their spouses reflected on their lives, the current state of their family dynamic, and their personal struggles in the dramatic episode, which allowed viewers to tag along on a character’s rollercoaster ride of emotions.

The episode also focused on Randall and Beth, who are dealing with major professional issues in their marriage after Randall asked his wife to rethink her dream of becoming a ballet teacher to be a stay-at-home mom. Kevin, who has relapsed into the depths of alcoholism, is faced with the anger of both his girlfriend Zoey and his brother Randall at his relapse.

Rebecca and Miguel try to keep everyone calm, but the normally unflappable Miguel finally snapped at his two stepsons after years of mistreatment by both of them after he revealed that he and Rebecca were looking to move to Los Angeles to help Kate with her baby.

The Pearson family has been fractured since the death of their patriarch Jack when the Big Three – Randall, Kate, and Kevin – were in high school. They have attempted to find their way in life without him ever since.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC.