The House Fire
In the closing moments of the season 2 premiere, we learned that there was a terrible fire at the Pearson’s house when the kids were still in high school. This revelation led to some huge questions such as did Jack die in the fire and what exactly started it? Let’s investigate!
What started the fire?
I have two theories on what could have started the Pearson house fire. The first one is that Jack is the one who starts it. We’ve watched Jack battle with alcoholism during this time period, and while he seems to be on the right track at the moment something could happen that causes him to relapse and do something careless, resulting in the fire.
In that flash forward scene to the fire in the premiere, Rebecca has a little bag of Jack’s belongings next to her, so maybe if Jack was responsible for the house fire, he decided that he needed to go check himself into a rehab facility and these were the items that he was not allowed to keep or was encouraged to leave with Rebecca. This theory also means that Jack could still be alive after the house goes down.
The last three episodes of This Is Us leading up to the mid-season finale acted as a trilogy for The Big Three. It took place on the same day in the present and the same day in the past and we got to see those two days play out through all three of their eyes. All three of the episodes start with the power going out in the house and Jack fixing it, which leads to a second theory that something about this fuse box starts the fire.
Every little detail on this show matters, so each episode focusing so largely on this fuse box is definitely something to keep in the back of our heads.
Does Jack die in the fire?
Looking back at that bag of belonging in Rebecca’s car on the night of the fire, there’s a notebook from Jack’s office. However, you’ll notice that the notebook looks completely fine, so if Jack had indeed died in the house fire the notebook would at least look a little charred.
Another huge clue is that Kevin is wearing a cast the night of the fire but not in Jack’s funeral scene, proving that there is some time that passes between the fire and Jack’s death. In Kevin’s trilogy episode “Number 1” during his breakdown monologue on the football field when he’s reliving the night he hurt his knee he said that Kevin Pearson “will walk again just in time to bury his beloved father.”
There’s also this exchange between Kate and Kevin during the Halloween episode “The 20’s” in which Kevin calls out Kate for still sitting out in front of where their house used to be. If you listen closely though he says the line “Even if you sit there in the exact same spot that you were when he left, he’s not coming back.” Now, this could be reaching, but why would Kevin say “left” instead of “died” if Jack died in the house fire. It seems like a very important line with a lot of different meanings pertaining to Kate’s role that she potentially played in the fire and possibly Jack’s death. Just a thought!
Overall, I am definitely leaning towards Jack dying in the fire being a misdirect, but I wholeheartedly believe that the fire will definitely set things in motion. Do you think that Jack died in the fire? What do you think could have started the fire?
The Changing House Numbers
In Kevin’s trilogy episode “Number 1” there was a blink and you miss it scene involving the house that Kevin goes to see. When Kevin first gets out of the car he is staring at a new house numbered 1920, but then it changes over to Kevin staring at the burned Pearson house, which is also labeled 1920 on the mailbox.
However, shortly after that a man comes out on the porch and asks if Kevin needs any help and the house number changes to 1646. When Kevin answers no, the camera pans back to the man and the house is back to 1920.
Nothing is a mistake on This Is Us, and these changing house numbers most likely mean something very important. We know from the address on the letter the woman pretending to be Randall’s mom sent and Kate’s college application that the Pearson home address is 34153 Forest Road. So while we probably haven’t been clued into what 1920 and 1646 actually mean by the writers yet, there is still an important theory that could come out of this scene.
It’s a little bit of stretch, but we learned this season that Jack had a little brother named Nicky who fought in Vietnam with him. I had assumed that Nicky most likely died in the war, which would be a huge emotional trauma for Jack to bear with him all of these years, but perhaps he is still alive and that is the house/man that Kevin sees in this episode. Maybe he went to both his old house and his uncle’s house? When the man comes out he says “Can I help you?” and later in the episode during Kevin’s breakdown he yells at one point, “I just need someone to help me.” Again, it’s a bit of a stretch, but it is certainly worth a thought.
Kevin’s also clutching onto the necklace that his Dad gave to him when he was in the hospital after injuring his knee. When Jack gave it to him he said “I got this at a very hopeless time in my life. Someone very special gave it back to me in Vietnam.” There’s still a lot left to uncover about Jack’s time in Vietnam as well as the period of time before he dies so perhaps we will have more information to support this theory as time progresses, but aside from that, I can’t really think about what those changing numbers mean just yet.
Did Beth Meet Jack?
This past week Randall and Jack went to go visit Howard University, a historically black university, in Washington D.C. Once they get there Randall asks if it would be okay if one of his friends gave him a tour instead of going on the official school tour, which Jack says yes to. So, Jack ends up going on the student tour by himself, but what if Beth was also on that tour and met Jack?
We know that Beth and Randall meet in college and it was also revealed by Sterling K. Brown that we would be getting some Beth and Randall flashbacks eventually, so maybe we will get a scene right after the two meet where she sees a photo of Jack and recognizes him from her tour? How touching and beautiful would that be?
Without a reveal of how Jack died in the mid-season finale and a promise from creator Dan Fogleman that we would learn how he died this season certainly promises a dramatic and devastating second half of the season. Hopefully, some theories will be answered and we will be handed a new deal of information to obsess over.
What are your This Is Us theories?
Having studied Media & Writing at James Madison University, I always knew that I wanted to do some type of creative writing, but being able to write about zombies, Starks, and superheroes on a daily basis for Fan Fest is my actual dream. While I probably shouldn’t be as proud as I am to be so similar to Nick Miller, I do hope to one day write my own “Pepperwood Chronicles’.