This past Sunday was a big day for television. Sure, it was also a big day for football and remaining Justin Timberlake fans, but the biggest event of them all came after the Super Bowl craziness. “This Is Us” aired one of their most tremendous — and devastating, might I add — episodes yet.
*This article is full of spoilers, so if you’re not up to speed on the show, go have a good cry and catch up.*
“This Is Us” brought in a huge amount of viewers this weekend — just under 27 million — bringing in the largest post-Super Bowl audience since FOX’s “House” back in 2009. There’s no question as to how that happened because it felt like NBC was advertising the episode everywhere you turned. My Twitter feed and Facebook timeline were chock-full of videos of the show’s actors describing the episode as “soul-crushing,” and man, were they right.
The episode finally provides some answers to one of the show’s biggest questions: How did Jack Pearson die? It wouldn’t be “This Is Us” if they didn’t lead you to believe one thing and then throw you in a completely different direction. Last week’s episode laid down a lot of clues leading up to his death: the faulty slow cooker, the beloved pet sleeping in the living room and the entire kitchen catching on fire. This week, we watched as Jack went back into the burning house to save Kate’s dog only to come out alive and as charming as ever. It’s not until later in the episode when Jack is at the hospital for a quick check-up due to some burns that it happens: He has a heart attack and there is nothing the doctors can do to save him.
Mandy Moore dominates this episode, giving one of the most heart-wrenching performances of the show — a real feat considering how talented all of the actors are. The combination of strength and complete brokenness she portrays as a mom who has to face her children and give them the worst news of their lives is amazing. This episode also gave us strong performances from the teenaged Kate and Randall as well.
Though the episode was highly advertised as revolving around Jack’s death, there were other really phenomenal aspects of it too. We got a beautiful heart-to-heart between Randall and his eldest daughter, Tess, who has proven she can be just as moving as the rest of her family. She voices the hurt she’s felt over the past few months caused by Randall’s sudden life changes, prompting her dad to give one of his world famous speeches that left me crying in my bed — as if I hadn’t done that enough this episode.
The Super Bowl plays such a large role in the episode, so it was genius of NBC to place the series’ heavy-hitting spectacle immediately after the game. As the numbers show, it paid off. It was a devastating episode that finally gave the audience answers they have been dying to know since early last season. It also made me cry so hard that I had to attend several meetings and classes with puffy eyes, but what’s a girl to do?