It was always going to be tough to follow the episode that’d been hyped for very nearly This Is Us’ entire run. “The Car” carries the rather solemn responsibility of guiding the show’s characters — not to mention its audience — through the beginning stages of grief. There’s no present timeline in this episode, only a funeral and snippets of memories from before it. In “The Car,” there’s only life around Jack, both dead and alive.
The title reflects the episode’s framing device: Jack buying the Wagoneer that’s been present for so many iconic Pearson family moments. We open on Rebecca, in the aftermath of Jack’s death, sitting cold and silent, staring at an envelope of Bruce Springsteen concert tickets and an old to-go coffee cup. She’s parked in the Wagoneer outside of a motel room, honking for her kids to come outside and head to the funeral. Her stoic presence is juxtaposed with the ebullient memory of Jack bringing the whole family to the dealership, and announcing — despite it seeming out of their price range — ……….