Last night’s premiere of This Is Us was lit — literally. Did the weepy series bravely tell its audience how one of its central characters, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) dies? No. No it didn’t. But it did give us a burned house — and a hint of what’s to come.
In the final moments of the episode, the season two premiere showed that Jack died in a fire. So now, it’s up to the rest of the season to answer who started the fire, why they did it— and whether or not Jack’s alcoholism played a part. “My early inclination from hearing the feedback from people is that [that reveal] was upsetting and fulfilling in all the ways that people wanted it to be,” Dan Folgeman (the creator and brain behind This Is Us) told the Hollywood Reporter.
“We always knew that we were going to tell Jack’s entire story, at least how he passed away, and somewhere in the middle of the second season of the show,” he continued. “Jack’s death is clearly something traumatic that happened, I feel like, you know that from episodes two and three and four of the show that this wasn’t just an old man dying peacefully in his sleep, something happened and it’s the hinge upon which this family swings.”
So yes: You can expect this season to dive deep into the circumstances of Jack’s death — but also the tragedy of losing a partner and a parent. “This season will explore the heavy stuff, the dark stuff, but there will be a positive, uplifting soul because we know where these characters [end] up,” Fogelman says. “If anybody who’s lost a parent or a person in their life knows, you never completely shut that book.
“…This season is very much about Jack’s death and that storyline, but it’s not all sad and awful and terrible. It’s also going to be uplifting and positive and hopeful.”