February 8, 2018 – Joe Amodei reporting for Backstreets.com
So I’m watching what has become known as the saddest show on television this past Tuesday night, and a Springsteen connection comes across the screen that just sends me right down to Thunder Road.
Most of America will know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, the show is This Is Us, and the past two episodes have dealt with what has become known quite simply as “Jack’s death” — the subject matter the entire show revolves around.
Jack Pearson, father of three, beloved and devoted husband of wife Rebecca, perished from smoke inhalation after going back into the family home which was engulfed in flames to save his daughter Kate’s dog. Jack was the father and husband we all want to be. Flawed yet perfect at the same time.
But what we did not know is that Jack was also a huge Springsteen fanatic. This first comes to our attention early in the episode where Jack and Kate discuss the similarities between Bruce and Alanis Morisette (who, if you follow the show’s timeline, had just released Jagged Little Pill). Kate loves Alanis, so Jack puts on a cassette of “My Beautiful Reward” to show why he loves Bruce.
But that’s just the beginning. You see, Jack, being the husband/father of the year kind of guy, left a huge surprise for the family. On the morning of his burial, an envelope with five tickets to see Bruce and the band is found in the glove compartment of the family car. That’s where the tear ducts open up. If you’re a parent and if you love Bruce, one of the biggest joys in life is taking your kids to see the band for the very first time. I have done it with my own daughters. It is without question a thing that we all do, and something that we never forget. Trust me on that fact.
The show ends with the family heading to see the show in Pittsburgh the same night as Jack’s funeral. The acknowledgement that life will go on and everyone will be fine — or as fine as they can be — sets the tone for the finale. And the fact that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will help them get there is just perfect and as real as the show can be. The music has been there for all of us.