‘This Is Us’ Recap: Another Clue About Jack’s Cause of Death Revealed

The Tuesday, January 16, episode of This Is Us — called “Clooney” — provided viewers with a new clue about Jack’s cause of death. In the present, a visit to William’s apartment building inspired Randall’s latest harebrained scheme, Kevin warmed up to Miguel and Kate made a new best friend. Smoking Gun Flashbacks took us to shortly before Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death for what seemed like a harmless Pearson family trip to the mall. Kate and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) shopped for a winter formal dress. Jack and Kevin picked out new suits. And Randall asked out the redheaded girl we’ve seen briefly in peeks at the moments following Jack’s death.

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But all of this fun at the mall was merely a way to introduce another clue about Jack’s demise. Rebecca asked Jack to remind her to buy batteries while they were out. When they returned home, they were distracted by the kids’ troubles and Jack’s renewed desire to start his own construction company, Big Three Homes. Rebecca wondered if they’d forgotten to pick something up at the mall and that’s when the cameras panned to the smoke detector, missing a battery. It seems a defunct smoke detector will be partly to blame for the fire that destroys the Pearson home and likely claims Jack’s life. Randall’s Next Big Venture

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Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) encouraged Randall (Sterling K. Brown) to go back to work, but Randall just wasn’t interested in his upcoming job interview. He instead invested his free time in a wild-goose chase. One of William’s (Ron Cephas Jones) former neighbors, Lloyd, found an old box of his in storage, so Randall went to pick it up. Inside, he found a poem about William’s “lady.” Randall set out to find the woman, whom the poem referred to as a “neighbor.” He went door-to-door asking if William was involved with any of the tenants in his building, but no luck. Randall left a note on the building’s corkboard for anyone with more information to contact him. Randall went to the job interview, but when Lloyd called, he jumped at the chance to leave the room. Lloyd thought William might’ve been seeing the building’s super, but wrong again. The super did lead Randall to William’s one-time apartment and urge him to look around. Outside the window was a mural of Billie Holiday, and Randall realized the poem was about the musician, one of William’s favorites. In his journey to find the lady William wrote about in his poem, Randall heard time and again how rundown the building was and how his father had made it his mission to advocate for his fellow tenants. This and Beth’s complaint that she wasn’t getting to help people in the way she wanted to at her job, inspired Randall to pitch Beth his latest crazy idea: buy William’s old building and improve it for the tenants who live there. Kevin Discovers More About Rebecca and Miguel’s Relationship Kevin (Justin Hartley) left rehab and went to stay with his mom and Miguel (Jon Huertas). He felt like he’d had a breakthrough with Rebecca in therapy, and he wanted their relationship to advance even more. He wasn’t as open to a relationship with Miguel, though. When Kevin confronted his stepdad about tagging along on their trip to the grocery store, Miguel insisted he was just trying to protect Rebecca from Kevin after his arrest and blowup in therapy. Later Kevin asked Miguel if he was in love with Rebecca when Jack was alive. Miguel balked at this, saying he thought of Jack and Rebecca as one entity rather than individuals. He said the thought of a romantic relationship with Rebecca never occurred to him until after Jack died, and now, he wasn’t going anywhere.

Kevin also talked to his mother about her reluctance to act normal with Miguel around Kevin (for example, she pulled away from Miguel when Kevin entered the room). Kevin told Rebecca she shouldn’t worry about how he felt about their relationship, and Rebecca shared that she’d let go of happiness after Jack died, but she’d found it again, in a different way, with Miguel.

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Kate Gets a New Friend Madison — the support group girl who complains that she’s overweight despite being thin — returned in this episode to take Kate (Chrissy Metz) wedding dress shopping. We know, kind of random, but Madison had a connection to a designer who made custom dresses. Madison binged macarons at the store and excused herself suddenly to go to the bathroom. Kate deduced that Madison had purged, but when she tried to talk to her about it, Madison left angrily. Kate got a call from Madison later to learn she’d fainted in her bathroom after binging and purging more. Madison explained that she’d had a problem in middle school, and it’d only resurfaced in the last few weeks. Kate shared her own story of getting skinny right before her dad’s death, finally doing what the voice in her head had always pushed her to do. But she said she felt more comfortable being bigger because she still wasn’t happy when she was skinny; she liked being mad at herself all the time.

After confiding in each other, Madison called Kate her best friend and we can’t wait to see where this friendship goes. This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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