Warning! This post contains massive spoilers for the most recent episode of This Is Us, so proceed at your own risk.
This Is Us has been breaking hearts and making fans cry since it premiered two years ago on NBC, and this week fans finally got the answer to one of the show's biggest mysteries: How did Jack die?
The multi-generational drama covers different time periods of the life of the Pearson family — Kate, Randall, and Kevin, and their parents, Jack and Rebecca — so fans have known practically since the beginning that Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia, would die. But nobody actually knew what happened until the most recent episode, when the cause of his tragic death turned out to be a faulty Crock-Pot.
The day centers on Super Bowl Sunday in 1998. Jack and Rebecca make chili and watch the game together, after their three teenagers all decide to do other things instead of watching the game with their parents. After Rebecca goes to sleep, Jack cleans up the kitchen and tosses a red towel by the Crock-Pot they'd used for the chili. In flashbacks, we see a nice neighbor give young newlyweds Jack and Rebecca an old Crock-Pot when they move into the neighborhood. They're warned that it has a finicky switch, but still works fine.
After Jack turns off the Crock-Pot (but leaves it plugged in!) and leaves the kitchen, the faulty Crock-Pot turns itself back on and starts to spark, which lights the towel on fire, and then the curtains. Then the whole kitchen is on fire, and viewers already know there are no batteries in the smoke alarm, and the show starts cutting between a montage of happy moments in the Pearson family's house, and then the house filling with flames.
It's absolutely gutting. Somehow, knowing it was coming made it even worse. And afterwards, everyone watching it must have immediately gone and unplugged everything in their kitchen. Multiple people on Twitter asserted that they were throwing their old Crock-Pots away immediately.
Normally companies would love appearing in popular, award-winning TV shows, but Crock-Pot is understandably a little disturbed to find itself the cause of loving father Jack Pearson's tragic and untimely death. Crock-Pot issued a statement assuring everyone that Crock-Pot's slow cookers are safe, and that what happened on screen has never actually happened and is not technically possible.
"Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by last night's episode of This Is Us, and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack's storyline. However, it is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs," the company said in a statement to TV Line. "For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night's episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible."
The company's lengthy statement goes into a lot of detail about how Crock-Pots work, and specifies that Crock-Pots are low-current, low-wattage appliances, and says there is never a high voltage applied across switches. Basically, Crock-Pot would like everyone to know that the show is very entertaining, but a Crock-Pot will not actually burn your house down, kill your family patriarch, and leave your children with a lifetime of unresolved issues because of it.
"Our hope is that the team at NBC's This Is Us will help us spread factual information regarding our product's safety," the statement said. "While we know their primary mission is to entertain — something they have continued to excel in — we also feel they have a responsibility to inform. Just like many fans, we will be watching next week's episode to see how Jack's story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot."
Series creator Dan Fogelman even took to Twitter to exonerate Crock-Pot.
Really, if anyone is to blame for Jack's death, it's Fogelman, because he made up the series. Crock-Pot is innocent, and we can all go back to slow-cooking in peace. (After checking to make sure the smoke alarms have batteries — not because of Crock-Pots, but just because all homes should have functioning smoke detectors, and that really should have been the big takeaway from this episode, not a paranoia about slow cookers.)
What did you think of This Is Us?
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Crock-Pot Defends Its Slow Cookers After the Latest Heartbreaking Episode of This Is Us