As you may be aware, from years and years of television consumption, there are many spectacularly bizarre ways to die. You, a real estate magnate who once faked your own death, can fall from the edge of one of your buildings after a fight-to-the-finish with your son-slash-nemesis. You can lick too many envelopes and inadvertently poison yourself. You can expire on the toilet after your curséd progeny slays you with a crossbow. You can be crushed by a helicopter mere months after a chopper takes your arm. But if you bailed on NBC dramedy This Is Us before the end of season two, unable to take the relentless siphoning of tears from your eyeballs, you may have missed one of the most bonkers — and, some might say, gutting — TV deaths of all. Luckily, though, you can get yourself up to speed at low emotional cost if you head over to Lafayette Street Station RIGHT NOW.
With fall shows returning, our subway station walls are plastered with advertisements for new seasons of old favorites, This Is Us very much among them. As documented by writer Sophie Helf, one lapsed fan scrawled an informal call for information on one of the posters for your favorite Mandy Moore program, thinking (probably) that no one would notice this spindly missive in a sea of subway graffiti: "Did they ever show how the dad died???"
For reference, if you don't watch this show but somehow still clicked, This Is Us flashes forward and backward through a family's life, so you know early on that the dad in question ("Jack") will eventually die before the story is over, although the cause of death remains a mystery for some time. In a January 2018 Super Bowl episode, however, viewers get their answer. Our subway scrawler apparently didn't get that far, but no worries. A large and devoted fanbase is here to help.
"Yes! Lol," came one reply. "Yes, in the fire Christmas [does that say Christmas? It's my best guess!]...well because of the fire," came another, half-correct reply. Brace for a spoiler, but: Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia, dies in a freak Crock-Pot accident. While the rest of the family is either out of the house or fast asleep, he's downstairs cleaning up the chili. Unplugging the slower cooker (which, to be fair, is not explicitly of the Crock-Pot family), he trips a faulty switch and accidentally sets the house on fire. Truly, a bananas ending that few would see coming, and which apparently engendered Crock-Pot fear so widespread that the show's writer and producer, Dan Fogelman, issued the following statement on Twitter:
And This Is Us ultimately ran a #CrockPotIsInnocent commercial during the actual Super Bowl days later.
As one person who commented on Helf's tweet pointed out, it is "especially nice" that the respondent "left out enough detail so as not to spoil." And yes, our OP did appear grateful. "LMAO Thank You!" they wrote back. "Shit took forever to tell." Indeed, but then, you have to work up to death-by-Crock-Pot. You can't just spring such a statistically unlikely plot twist on your viewers without earning their loyalty first.