This Is Us, the show that has lead to more puffy eyes and used tissues per episode than any series currently on television, dropped a big clue to its main mystery—how does Jack die?—in its Season 2 premiere this week. (Spoilers ahead!) After a shot of Randall and Kate sobbing over the loss of their father, we see Rebecca pull up to the charred remains of their home with Jack’s personal effects in the seat next to her. So Jack definitely met his very, very untimely end in a fire, right? Or, at the very least, because of it?
One Redditor doesn’t buy it and has a theory about Jack’s demise that would paint the entire first season in a whole new light: What if Jack isn’t really dead?
In a post titled, “I Still Think Jack Is Alive,” first spotted by Hello Giggles, Redditor Dreamer0710 explains the premise.
I think Jack continues to have drinking problems, maybe he
accidentally hurts Kevin and that would explain the cast. I think Jack
gets drunk at a bar and ends up getting into a fight with the wrong
people. He gets severely beat up/robbed. The robber has his wallet and
goes to the house to rob it or hurt the family. Kate may be home and
the dog starts barking at the intruder. Kate gets distracted by the
dog and accidentally starts a fire. The robber gets trapped inside,
dies and body is unrecognizable…except for the ring, watch and
identification in wallet. Mistaken identity. No one would have any
reason not to think it wasn’t Jack. When Jack recovers, he feels so
guilty that he hurt his family, he truly believes they are better off
without him and does not say he is actually alive. Maybe later he
comes to his senses and tries to go back to family, but finds out
Rebecca and his best friend are together. At that point, he stays away
While This Is Us fans would likely be onboard with the return of Jack, if only to see Milo Ventimiglia in old-age make-up, this theory has a few big holes. The first, of course, is the Jack we’ve seen values his family above everything and would never want to cause them pain. While it’s possible he might think they’d be better off without him, it’s hard to imagine he would let them deal with the pain of losing a father and husband if they didn’t have to. The second, of course, is logistical. If Jack was really robbed and beaten in a bar, he’d either stumble home (or to Miguel’s), where he’d likely be spotted by a loved one before he’d be able to rationalize disappearing into the night, or he’d end up at the hospital, where he’d ask to either call his family or, if he was too embarrassed, Miguel.
While there’s still plenty of mystery over Jack’s final hours, it seems safe to say the Pearson patriarch is really and truly gone for good. Thank goodness we still have the flashbacks.
Related: The Secret Reason Why ‘This Is Us’ Is So Good At Making You Cry