NBC was eager to point out that its postgame broadcast of "This Is Us" was the top-rated post-Super Bowl telecast in six years - and that it topped last year's postgame broadcast of "24" on Fox by 59%. This is the impetus to fix the broken relationship with Kevin and Randall because Jack and Rebecca aren't going to be around forever. Oh no. I thought I was ready but I'm not ready. So, of course I'm crying. In fact, we hopped in the vehicle with the Pearsons for a bittersweet drive through numerous memories that wound up shaping Jack's final moments. Jack and Rebecca are at a dealership looking for a new auto, and they cleverly want to use their kids to get a cheaper deal.
In an episode where Jack and Rebecca have been married for years, and have been shaken by the divorce of two of their friends, the couple sit on the bathroom floor of their first apartment and read the wedding vows they recited so long ago. As they travel to the service, Rebecca, Kate, Kevin, and Randall find themselves reminiscing about Jack and different moments from their happy past. Rebecca, Jack, and the very young Pearson Three are going to a Weird Al concert, which is so friggin' freakish and random. Whatever Rebecca feels, she just keeps inside to protect her children. He told her it was his favorite tree, but it was really just the closest tree to the payphone they needed to use to get her (all-clear) MRI results. Just like I don't understand airplanes.
The final trip in the auto with Jack sees the family on the way home from the grocery store where they stocked up on food for the Super Bowl.
One of the good memories is when the family heads to a Weird Al concert. It's intense. Rebecca's solemn. You honestly can cut all the tension with a knife. They bolt from the funeral and sit under Jack's tree. "He could see things before they happened", she suggests. Obviously, Jack wasn't really there, but we could see him similar situations in the future.
Despite putting on a strong front, Rebecca is devastated as she drives by their burned home and clutches to Jack's belongings. He's honestly so goddamn flawless, it's nauseating.
"We're going to be OK, babe", she says. What is your favorite Jack Pearson memory so far from This Is Us? And she tells Kate that it's not her fault that Jack died. He doesn't want to be put in the ground. The thing is, there's no real way of knowing if it's because Jack inhaled more smoke than the rest of them, or because he had an underlying heart condition that the rest of them didn't have. It's all so weepy. When they arrive there Jack tells them about him and his brother. His urn is there. Because the Pearsons are not a traditional family. "That auto is going to tell my family's story just by looking at it", he gushes.
"The Car" travels back to the car's purchase but centers itself on the day of Jack's funeral, with pointed flashbacks to seminal moments leading up to his death. He saw the kids, just as they are, from the moment he saw Randall in the hospital. They talk about Jack and how he died of cardiac arrest. Kevin thinks Randall should have stopped him. Apparently the talk didn't stick because during the funeral, Kevin becomes furious when he sees Randall wearing Jack's watch, causing a major scene.
Rebecca spreads Jack's ashes under the tree and tells him they're going to be okay. Do you think Kate will continue to shed some of the guilt of Jack's death as her relationship with Toby continues to grow? She's skipping school to go to an Alanis Morisette album signing (LOL, the '90s).
Jack fights his demons, spending his time as a recovering alcoholic building shelves for his home so his hands are busy. They bond over music.
But we also see how Toby's faithful love is changing Kate, how he encourages her to be open to happiness and to be true to her dream of a lovely wedding, despite her insecurities. Jack gives a very moving speech about how Kate should pursue music. Rebecca is mad at herself that she wasn't there when he died. "It's because he went back inside", Kate kept insisting. I'm fine. I'm doing fine. Her and Jack's doctor shows up.
Katowski corrects her: "You didn't just make something resembling lemonade, dear". Mandy Moore is gunning for that Emmy, y'all!
Lastly, Randall is throwing a Super Bowl part for the girls, despite them not being into football. Like, literally the day before. "The Car" also takes on the sheen of a auto commercial, and it's hard to know just how intentional that is; those precious family memories captured in that same distinct automobile are no less sugary than the ads companies like Jeep still run on the regular. Before the big game, he'd gotten them all tickets to see Bruce Springsteen.
We switch back to the funeral. In "The Car", there's only life around Jack, both dead and alive. Kevin, Kate, and Randall all do their best to distract their mother by singing, and Jack encourages her with soothing words. I don't know what he's about to say to Rebecca after the ad break, but I am holding onto this throw pillow very tightly.
Oh, and remember how Jack convinced the dealer to give him that fancy wagon? He just wanted his family to be okay. It was about two weeks after I was in a auto crash that killed one of my best friends, and though my physical scars had healed, I was in a deep depression. Annnnnd I'm choking on my snot.
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