'This Is Us' shines with moving Super Bowl showcase

The following contains spoilers about the "This Is Us" post-Super Bowl episode.The mystery surrounding Jack's ...

Posted: Feb 5, 2018 1:12 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2018 1:12 PM

The following contains spoilers about the "This Is Us" post-Super Bowl episode.

The mystery surrounding Jack's death on "This Is Us" had become a central part of the series, but as the show has progressed, hardly a defining one. With the characters' well-established connection to football, NBC's Super Bowl showcase felt like an ideal time to give up those details, which the producers did in an emotional episode that nevertheless managed to play with expectations.

Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) didn't literally go out in a blaze of glory, as many had no doubt imagined, after rescuing his family -- including the dog -- from a fire that burned down the Pearson family house (and for which the Crock-Pot shouldn't be entirely blamed).

Yet he did succumb to a heart attack brought about by his heroism, an outcome confounding and arbitrary enough to help explain the varying degrees of guilt, grief and pain that his three children have carried into adulthood.

Related: 'This Is Us' fans beside themselves over Jack's death

Written by series creator Dan Fogelman, the episode went out of its way to create strong individual moments for each of the key characters, none more so than Mandy Moore, who had to deal first with the inexplicable loss of a one-for-the-ages romance, and then breaking that news to their kids.

Fogelman also introduced a new wrinkle -- by looking into the future -- although it's pretty clear at this point that "This Is Us" doesn't require any "Lost"-esque innovations to further cement the bond that it has forged with its audience.

Indeed, the ongoing "What happened to Jack?" game risked becoming tedious -- if only in the way that NBC kept promoting it. After all the hype and build-up, anything less than full disclosure would have clearly been irksome.

So where does the show go from here? The good news is that there are plenty of threads to tease out, in part because the series has so deftly woven together the arcs of its characters across the various phases in their lives. (Still unexplored, for example, is how Moore's Rebecca made the leap to winding up with her late husband's best friend.)

The "This Is Us" pilot, notably, turned on a bit of a gimmick: the big reveal that the grown characters we were watching in one half of the show were in fact the Pearson's babies, all grown up. Jack's fate carried that dynamic forward, in a way, as the writers enticingly spooned out clues.

If the post-Super Bowl episode proved anything, though -- beyond reminding us what a sensational job was originally done in casting the series -- it's that "This Is Us" has graduated to a place where the characters, and their triumphs and setbacks, have a robust life beyond this one great tragedy.

Rebecca, after all, abruptly lost a man who told her that she is "the only thing that I ever really needed," and still managed to move on. After Sunday's satisfying revelations, "This Is Us" viewers -- after shedding a few of the show's trademark tears -- should be able to move on too.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
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Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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