In "That'll Be the Day," This Is Us finally finished setting into motion all the events that led to Jack's death. The pieces began to click into place. But while the hints had been getting more obvious in Season 2, no one could have seen the cause of the fire coming. Or could they? There are clues that show the Crock-Pot fire on This Is Us has been staring you in the face this entire time.
The episode depicted a typical enough Super Bowl Sunday for the Pearson family: the angst was high for most of the teenaged Big Three and none of them wanted to spend the day with their parents. Instead Jack and Rebecca were left to enjoy their time alone, which they did despite an argument or two with the kids. Jack and Rebecca feasted; they got frisky. They decided to embark on their brand new house-flipping venture as partners. When the day was done, Jack decided to continue his perfect husband routine by cleaning up the messy kitchen so Rebecca didn't have to in the morning.
Unfortunately, Jack's kind gesture ended up having dire consequences — not that he knew that. Though he had turned off the Crock-Pot gifted to the family well over a decade earlier by older neighbors, he had forgotten the warning that the knob was finicky. This particular fictional Crock-Pot, which had been faulty from the start, turned back on and sparked. That spark jumped to a dish towel and then the curtains. Soon the whole house was ablaze. And as mind-boggling as this revelation may be, the show has actually been hinting at that possibility since the very beginning. Because this is not the first time we've seen this particular Crock-Pot and these clues prove that the answer has been right in front of us this whole time.
"The Big Three" (Season 1, Episode 2)
As early as the second episode, there was a seemingly insignificant close-up of the Crock-Pot in question, noted by Reddit user feelinlikeblk. That seems to make it clear that the writers knew what happened from Day 1, even if the audience was in the dark. It's like they were taunting us right from the very beginning!
"The Pool" (Season 1, Episode 4)
The Crock-Pot was shown again in Episode 4. The writers should have played the theme from Jaws every time it popped up in the background, so viewers could be a little more prepared.
"The Game Plan" (Season 1, Episode 5)
While this hint doesn't have anything to do with the Crock-Pot specifically, this episode was the first reveal of Jack's passing and the first hint about the timeline. Kate spoke to Toby about how important football was to the Pearson family and how watching the Super Bowl kept her connected to her dad. While Kate didn't outright say it, this seems to have been the earliest confirmation of the day Jack died.
"The Best Washing Machine in the World" (Season 1, Episode 7)
The other culprit in Jack's death was the red dish towel that caught fire. A flashback in "That'll Be the Day" revealed that Jack once used them as a red herring to disguise some jewelry he bought for Rebecca for Christmas, but they were in play onscreen long before they served as the kindling that brought down the Pearson house.
"Pilgrim Rick" (Season 1, Episode 8)
The Season 1 Thanksgiving episode is one of the most beloved of the series, but the Crock-Pot also made another ominous appearance while Rebecca was stressing over the perfection of her cranberry sauce.
"A Manny-Splendored Thing" (Season 2, Episode 2)
When you look back at This Is Us episodes, the Crock-Pot can be spotted nearly every time the Pearsons are going about their daily lives in the kitchen. The common appliance was a part of their family since it was gifted to Rebecca and Jack when she was pregnant, and it has always been there. Lurking. Biding its time. (Just kidding, of course.)
While the key details were present from the start of the show, fans couldn't possibly have predicted how a fictional Crock-Pot, a red towel, and a specific day would end up linked in such a heartbreaking way. And that's the point, because it's all about how innocuous, everyday things can have unforeseen consequences. The signs may have been there, but no one could possibly have read them — not the audience, and not the Pearsons.
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