When it comes to relatable storylines on our favorite tear-jerking series This Is Us, Kate's ongoing struggle with confidence takes the cake. A lot of those issues stem from her weight, but it's made pretty clear in season one (and again in multiple later episodes) that another matter is tying Kate's psyche up in knots: she feels awfully guilty about the death of her father, Jack. The exact cause for Jack's heartbreaking demise is still a mystery at this point — although we're closer than ever to getting an answer — but a fan's recent theory offered up an explanation for both Jack's cause of death and Kate's guilt: did Kate play a major role in starting the fire? Let us explain.
In a post from a This Is Us fan group on Facebook, one viewer asked if anyone thought Kate took the batteries out of the Pearson family home's smoke detector. Could teenage Kate have innocently taken the batteries out to use for something else? Why she would've needed them is still a mystery, but that might be a huge clue as to why she seems to blame herself for Jack's death more than any of her siblings do. If that sounds like a reach, we get it, but there's one scene from last week's episode that has us thinking this theory holds water.
We see Jack and Rebecca sitting on the couch having an innocent conversation about their teenage daughter that starts with Rebecca asking Jack to talk to her.
"I need you to talk to Kate, something is up with her."
"Yeah, I noticed that, too."
"And if anyone can get through to her, it's you."
"Yeah, I'll talk to her."
The conversation seems pretty innocuous, right? Well, that's what we thought, too, until Rebecca brings up their shopping trip, asking, "Hey babe did we forget something at the mall?" to which Jack replies "I don't think so."
Then, the camera ominously zooms in on the smoke detector on the ceiling. Earlier in the episode, Rebecca asks Jack to remind her to pick up batteries at the mall. It definitely looks like the batteries were purposefully taken out of it, making it abundantly obvious that it will be a big component of how Jack dies.
Fans of This Is Us seem to agree. While there's some discrepancy over whether or not the batteries are still, in fact, in the alarm, if we go with the theory that they're not, a few fingers point to Kate as the culprit.
Some of the more popular reasons for Kate taking the batteries out of the smoke alarm have to do with her struggle with her weight, as well as the argument Kate had with Rebecca after the dress she tried on didn't fit. "Perhaps Kate took the batteries out of the alarm because she is [sneaking] smoking to help lose weight," one fan commented under the theory. "Cigarettes have been a clue in many many episodes and are why Beth and Randall fake smoke."
Another person chimed in saying that she may have needed batteries for the tape recorder she's using to record her singing, and there's also the possibility she needed batteries for her Walkman — another likely option for teens growing up in the '90s. Others think that Kate's guilt simply stems from her meltdown at the mall, since her outburst was likely a big factor in why Rebecca forgot to buy new ones.
Given how things went at the mall, it's definitely plausible. Hopefully we get to the bottom of the great fire alarm caper once and for all by the end of the season.