This is Us 2×13 “That’ll Be the Day”

To Jack Pearson | Part I


We’re always told that life is precious — a gift, in fact. We’re told to live each moment as though it’s our last because we could never be certain of what tomorrow will bring, or if it’ll even come at all. But as human beings, for the most part, we’re incapable of grasping this to a full degree. We knew Jack Pearson’s life was tragically cut short, and we knew that each of the kids harbored their trauma differently, but what we didn’t know is that it occurred at a time where teenage phases get the best of us. I’m no doctor or psychologist, so the amount of research I could do on the matter wouldn’t be qualified coming from someone with an English degree. . .but we all go through a certain phase when we’re younger where we prefer to spend our time with our friends or our significant others at the time. And the tragedy is that there’s nothing malicious about the intention, but when something as horrifying as this fire occurs, everything changes — guilt takes over.

And that’s the thing about life, every moment matters whether we’re able to get another or not. It’s authentication of the fact that while there’s a great number of things we cannot control in this world, we can control how we treat one another. We can control how much time we spend with a person. We can control how long we go without apologizing or atoning for our mistakes. We can control how often we tell people we love them.

These next two episodes are special ones, and as you’ll notice, I’ll be branching out to discuss the episodes in their entirety as opposed to choosing just three moments. We’ll resume our usual structure for episode 15.

As much as this episode was about their final Super Bowl with the kids, it was mainly about Jack and Rebecca — the partners. It was about their kids, and their partners even if some scenarios didn’t end happily, they are what they are. And that’s everything I could have asked for because as you all know, my number question prior to all this was whether or not Rebecca and Jack were okay in his final days. To be reminded of the fact that they were more than, they were everything to each other, filled with high hopes and almost perfectly constructed dreams makes everything that much more tragic, but somewhat bearable. It takes a significant amount of time for human beings to recover from the mistakes they make, to truly atone and become the best versions of themselves possible. And Jack Pearson did all that — he became the man he’d once promised his wife that she deserved, the 11/10 not many people are gifted with by making the conscious choices to avidly work on himself. It makes me strangely happy that Rebecca was left with great memories of him, an exquisite moment where even though they were supposed to share it with the kids, it turned into how they’d pick their lives back up. And that excitement, the newfound appreciation for life makes grief a little bit easier because from that moment on, Rebecca could live with the passion that had brought light back into her husband’s eyes.

Randall and Beth have a great number of things to deal with in their partnership — we know that they’ll succeed, we know they’ll be okay, but we also know that their issues they need to confront and I’m all for that. I’m all for them becoming the very best versions of themselves as they renovate these homes. I’m all for them finding new ways to help their bond grow thicker, and I’m all for them finding themselves in ways they never thought possible.

I’m also 100% all for the new puppy that has entered Kate and Toby’s life. Animals, dogs and cats especially have such exquisite means of healing brokenness, and good lord, it’s almost too perfect that a dog named Audio would come into their world. I also appreciated the fact that Kate freaked out a little bit because that’s still such a huge part of her she needs to work through. But in the same way that Jack would always be the voice who’d help Rebecca through confusion and panic, Toby is that very voice for Kate. Sometimes, a push is necessary, and I’m glad Kate brought the dog home because even though she may not be ready for it, she knows that Toby is, and in time, she will be, too.

I think it’s safe for our readers to assume by now that the Kevin we knew with Sophie is my favorite version of him. She brought out the absolute best in him, and ever since their falling out, he has not been that best version of himself. It’s a fact. And to be frank, I don’t know if they could come back from this, we all knew she’d forgive him, she loves him too much not to, but we also can’t blame her for being afraid of trying again. So I don’t know what’s happening there, but that scene crushed me, especially knowing she was the name on the list.

And that’s just the thing with human beings, we’re all trying to change, but words without actions are essentially meaningless. They fill some sort of a temporary void within us but do nothing in regards to actually making us better. But this episode is proof of why those little things matter because if we don’t start right now, we may not get that opportunity. I think this is why I’ve always inadvertently hated the concept of New Year’s Day – because people have always vowed to change then, but what if that day never comes? What if you don’t make it further? Why not this very moment? The truth is, we don’t think about these things until we’re presented with something as raw as this episode, whether it’s an event in our actual lives or something that’s seen in the fiction we consume, our brains don’t fully grasp just how precious life is. Some people, tragically aren’t fortunate enough to consume a piece of media or hear of someone else’s sadness in order make a change of their own because it happens directly in front of their eyes to someone they know.

And that’s the kind of tragedy that struck the Pearson household. Neither of them did anything unforgivable, but sometimes, it’s as simple as doing our best to read the excitement in someone else’s eyes and responding to that. While I’m perfectly aware that this is a concept that’s a little too uncharted for a lot of teenagers, not because they’re incompetent, but rather for most, it’s a time where they want to branch out as much as they possibly can. They want to “adult” without actually understanding what that means so essentially give them another five years and they’ll be complaining on Twitter about how it’s too hard. We’ve all been there, folks — let’s be real.

Here’s the complicated, darkest aspect of life, no matter how much you’ve done, I still feel as though when we lose someone, we’ll continue to be clouded by the thoughts that we could have done more, much, much more. And that’s something all of the kids clearly carry with them even to this day all while the idea that they’ve already outlived him continues to be the new factor, which haunts them profoundly. However, thankfully it’s something they’re working towards. Randall needs to slow down in life, and he’s trying. Kevin is in desperate need of honesty and a little more self-awareness, and hopefully this is his push. And Kate is in need of conversation and healing. The kids are alright today, in spite of all the darkness that haunts them — they’re going to be okay. They’re going to be okay because they’ve got people by their side who’ll help them through the pain that though will perpetually linger, it won’t break them.

Jack Pearson built this house out of pure passion — the wide-eyed boy who’d survived too much with little to show gave his everything to ensure that his wife and kids never experienced the same level of pain he did. And for the most part, he succeeded because even as his addiction rolled back into their lives, it was merely a bad seed in the midst of an overall healthy garden, if cautious, it wouldn’t grow back. If it surfaced unexpectedly, it could be taken care of. And what’s always mattered is that in spite of the fights, in spite of the arguments, they’d always have a place to come home to. It’s a place where although she could never see herself as beautiful, Kate knew in the back of her mind, that in this home, she was a treasure. In this home, she’d always be beautiful. In this home, her art would be appreciated. And that’s exactly why I loved the fact that she was able to see herself through Jack’s eyes because even though she was angry at first, the immaculate appreciation he wore as he watched her sing touched a part of her nothing else could’ve. And I appreciated the fact that she told him to continue because it meant that she appreciated his passion. It meant that she appreciated his energy and his heart — the need to continuously show his adoration for his children as opposed to just voicing it. He showed them that unconditional, incomparable love through everything.

In this episode specifically, he showed it through listening to Randall after his first date. He showed it by cleaning up so Rebecca wouldn’t have to in the morning. And though Kevin won’t be able to see the letter, he, too could know, by reflection of how much Jack’s done that he was always deeply loved. Because that’s the kind of man Jack Pearson was — a figure who wouldn’t sleep on his anger, but rather someone who’d breathe it out, and let it go because this home is his entire world — his family is his everything, and he’d do everything to show that.

On another note, THE CROCK POT WAS OFF! WHY DIDN’T IT STAY OFF!? WHY IS LIFE UNFAIR? WHY IS LIFE CRUEL!? HE WAS TRYING TO DO A GOOD THING AND HE ACCIDENTALLY JUST LEFT THE TOWEL THERE BECAUSE HE IS A HUMAN BEING AND CAN’T THINK OF ALL HIS MOVES. GOOD LORD, WHY!? Seriously, friends on a total side note, never ever leave your appliances plugged in — even if they’re off. And good lord, but also, don’t ever keep something more than 10 years no matter how great it seems because clearly this kind of stuff can happen.

Cue, The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build A Home” and continue crying until next Sunday.

This episode and next, will be my very own tributes to Jack Pearson -– hence the structure changes, but if there’s any scene in particular you’d like me to address, feel free to let us know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to do so.

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