The winter premiere of This Is Us answered the monumental “Toby” question it had left us with, but was quick to throw us a couple more curveballs. Among these biggest surprises from “The Right Thing to Do” was Jack’s little web of lies and his abusive family situation. We’re not talking about the Big Three here, but instead a side of Jack’s family we haven’t seen before — his parents. After learning about his upbringing, we saw him make a questionable choice in some trying times and we cant help but wonder — when and how will this decision come back to bite him?
In this winter premiere episode, we got to see the moment that Jack and Rebecca found out they weren’t just having one kid, but three. Before this, the pilot had showed us what seemed to be a very prepared couple who had gotten their house ready for three new children. This episode showed us part of the struggle it took to reach that point and even what sort of serious sacrifices had to be made.
Jack and Rebecca were not a wealthy couple by any means. Jack was a foreman and Rebecca was once a singer. We still don’t know much about either of their childhoods, but caught a glimpse of what it was like growing up with their parents. Jack lived in a physically abusive household where he swore to his mother that he would never end up like his father. This shows why Jack is so dedicated to being a great dad. Rebecca grew up with a very emotionally abusive and overly critical mom, whom she seems to also have sworn to be nothing like. Upon hearing that their upcoming expenses had tripled, they both had to make uncomfortable visits to these abusive parents.
Jack was so desperate to do right by his family and ensure they wouldn’t have to live under his mother-in-law’s roof that he made a strange decision to lie to his father. Jack swallowed all of his pride and went to ask his dad for a loan, but under false pretenses. He pretended to be unmarried, alone and in need of money for his gambling problem. He took some low insults from his dad and even had to listen to the man insult Jack’s mother. Ultimately, it worked, and Jack’s dad gave him the money.
The question is, what kind of guy is only willing to help his son if he gets to call his mother a total loser and see that his son is the same thing? Why did Jack feel that this was the only way his dad would help him out? Likely, this wasn’t the entire reason for Jack’s decision. It seemed clear that Stanley (Jack’s dad) didn’t have a clue about his son. Jack seems to have worked hard to keep him out of his life, which is completely justified. What’s more controversial about the lie he told to his father is the one he told to his wife.
When Jack bought the home that his kids would later grow up in, he didn’t tell Rebecca where the loan came from. Rebecca surely knows all the details about Jack and Stanley’s relationship, but still, Jack chose to leave her out of this. Given how we’ve seen Rebecca’s choice to keep something from someone in the family has turned out, we have to assume this will come back to the couple in some way. Rebecca probably won’t be too pleased that Jack is in debt to that monster, and even less pleased that he kept it from her.
Good luck, Jack…
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)