Moments before This Is Us showed the death of Jack Pearson, the show referenced one of its most touching season 1 moments.
As Jack and his wife Rebecca sit in a hospital room awaiting treatment for his smoke inhalation, they reflect on the birth of their triplets — Kevin, Kate and the stillborn Kyle. A glimpse of the couple looking at Kevin, Kate and the just-dropped-off Randall in the hospital is showed briefly, then the couple reflects on that life-changing day.
"This hospital, huh?" Jack says.
Rebecca replies, "What was the thing he said? Something about life resembling ..."
Jack interjects with "... the sourest lemons life has to offer."
The "he" Rebecca is referring to is Dr. Nathan Katowski (Gerald McRaney), also known as Dr. K. He was the doctor who delivered the triplets during the series premiere. He is the one who comforted Jack after Kyle's death and inspired him to adopt Randall.
While comforting Jack, he dropped a major nugget of wisdom that carried the couple through their tragedy. He explained how he, too, had lost an infant. However, his loss inspired him to work to save as many babies as he could. Dr. K hoped that Jack would do the same.
"I like to think that maybe one day you'll be an old man like me, talking a young man's ear off, explaining to him how you took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something that resembled lemonade," Dr. K said. "If you can do that, you will still be taking three babies home from this hospital, just maybe not the way you planned."
The couple's reference in the "Super Bowl Sunday" episode not only served as a callback to this pivotal pilot scene, but also as a setup for the following episode, entitled "The Car."
As shown in the preview for the episode, Dr. K appears once again to comfort Rebecca in the wake of Jack's death. The preview footage shows Rebecca mourning near a cemetery. Dr. K then emerges out of a building and greets her with a simple but somber, "Hello, Rebecca."
He'll presumably comfort Rebecca the best he can using his own loss as an example, much like he did for Jack nearly two decades prior.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo Credit: NBC / Ron Batzdorff