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The Best Jack Pearson Moments On This Is Us Ranked

Dan Fogelman's television series, "This Is Us," is one of the best family dramas on the small screen since "Six Feet Under." It follows an all-American family (the Pearsons), portraying their past, present, and future through several decades. It's as ambitious and creative as broadcast TV can get.

At its center, there's Jack Pearson — played to perfection by Milo Ventimiglia — the absolute heart and soul of the show. Jack found his purpose at 28 years old when he first met his future wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), in the 70s. There and then, he dedicated his life to creating a family with her, and they brought up three children (two of their own, one adopted) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His unique worldview and the influence he has on others are what makes this drama truly compelling, uplifting, and heartbreaking at times.

He's the almost perfect husband every woman dreams of: He's masculine yet tender-hearted, serious yet goofy, and confident yet vulnerable. There's no one like him on TV, or in real life, which also makes him the kind of dad every kid dreams of — and the man that every boy should aspire to become. Ultimately, Jack Pearson is someone who teaches us how to look at our family as the greatest achievement we've ever accomplished in our life.

Here, we've gathered and ranked his best moments on "This Is Us" so far.

(Warning – spoilers ahead.)

14. Jack buys the family car

In Season 2, we learn how Jack dies when his children, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown), are 17 years old. The knowledge of his passing makes it all the more heartbreaking to watch him negotiate the purchase of the Pearson's family car in a flashback in the episode named "The Car." He gives an emotional speech to a car dealer that would melt just about anyone's heart. He shares a vision about how he sees this wagon being The Pearson Vehicle, which will tell his family's story just by looking at it. Every scrape, ding, stain, and "battle scar" will be another memory. Essentially, all Jack wants for his wife and children is to be okay after he's gone. He firmly believes that this automobile — which he admittedly can't afford — will be able to do what matters to him the most: keep his loved ones safe.

Thanks to Ventimiglia's unparalleled delivery, this is one of the character's most powerful moments. Fogelman and the writers make this sequence even more profound by showing us peeks of the memories Jack talks about. And eventually, we'll see Rebecca and the kids in the present, taking a journey to Jack's favorite spot to scatter his ashes and say goodbye to him — life and death collide in this scene beautifully.

13. The Big Three chant

Teaching a rhyming chant to children about how they were born would be a cheesy and pretentious attempt in any other series — but not in "This Is Us." Fogelman's show somehow establishes this being a sweet trademark thing, which reoccurs throughout many different points in the story.

The first time we hear it is in the beginning of Season 1, when the kids are 10 years old and about to have breakfast in the kitchen. Their mom looks stressed and overwhelmed while preparing food for them when Jack enters the room. He's as upbeat as always, and not even a cranky wife or an empty coffee pot could change that. Before he shoots off to work, he makes the siblings chant with him. It totally delights them, and even Rebecca cracks a smile in the background. The whole sequence is such a seemingly artificial bit, yet we can't resist feeling joy by watching them. It's a wonderful example that defines Jack's general tendancy to lighten the mood and fill an ordinary day with bliss.

12. Jack's parenting lesson on the golf course

In Season 4's episode "The Club," Randall invites Councilman Wilkins (William Allen Young) and two other board members to play golf at an exclusive club. He plays terribly and is far behind Wilkins, who mocks him throughout the match. Randall pretends to be embarrassed about it, but later on, we find out he was just playing the long game — acting as if he was an awful player. Yet he purposely let the Councilman win because his goal was to build rapport and gain consideration for his political ideas.

This plot point is revealed at the end when we see a flashback of a young Randall golfing with his dad. Jack seems uninterested in fully committing to the match, so Randall wants to quit and go home. He stops him and apologizes for not being a good sport — promising that he'll listen more about his interests and lecture less as a parent. Jack tells him that he was always a poor golfer— but for Randall, the sky is the only limit. He says that one day he'll be an important man, and many crucial relationships happen on the golf course. He might need to play up or down to the competition sometimes, but he should always play the game. What makes this moment memorable is Jack's self-awareness about his own limitations. The fact that he can see beyond his weakness and motivate his son to never quit something he aspires to do and might be good at.

11. He gives his Vietnam pendant to Kevin in the hospital

One of Jack's admirable characteristics is that he always knows what to say and do in adversity. In a Season 2 flashback, we see how Kevin suffers a nasty knee injury during a football match. After talking to his doctor at the hospital, Jack breaks the bad news to him: the injury is catastrophic, and it means that Kevin can't play football anymore. Understandably, he's crushed — the dream of becoming a professional athlete vanishes in a split second. Jack knows how devastating this must feel and tells his son that he'll take it on for him. He reassures Kevin that he'll find another path and a new purpose. He gives him hope that sport isn't the only thing he can excel at.

The supportive dad he is, Jack decides to give his chain with a Buddhist pendant he got in Vietnam to Kevin. There's a delicate and intimate depth in this father and son exchange that only the luckiest ones experience. An unbreakable bond with a parent who puts his children first and is always there to provide an emotional crutch when they're going through their worst setbacks. Memories like this are precious and last for a lifetime.

10. Pilgrim Rick

Thanksgiving is an extra special tradition for The Big Three. It goes way back to when they were little and once spent the holiday in a cheap motel after their car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Left with nothing but a peculiar receptionist, some hotdogs, and a tape of "Police Academy 3," their dad came up with a persona called Pilgrim Rick. He goofed around, made them laugh, said they skewer and roast the hotdogs on an open furnace flame, and then watch the movie together.

This is a heart-warming scene that demonstrates Jack's resourcefulness and zestful worldview to bring the most out of every situation. Giving his family the very best he can provide despite the unfortunate circumstances. His devotion to light them up even when everything conspired against a good time is really moving. Eventually, this memory creates a joyful holiday tradition for Randall, Kevin, and Kate to celebrate together as a big family every year.

9. The jealous fight with Rebecca

Until the end of Season 1, Jack and Rebecca's relationship is portrayed as a fairytale that seems too good to be true. Yet, in the finale, we learn that they're just as human as any one of us. It's the first time we see them genuinely fight, and every resentment bursts out of them like a raging tornado.

Jack is angry and jealous since he found out that Rebecca's ex-boyfriend, Ben (Sam Tramell), made a move on his wife and tried to kiss her. So he got drunk and caused a scene in the club where she was supposed to perform. She found the entire fiasco humiliating and unworthy of his husband. After the incident, once they get home, this misunderstanding turns into a heated argument. It's when we realize that Jack isn't as flawless as we thought. We find out that he struggles with his own demons and that drinking might be his biggest vice.

The reason this is among his best moments is that even in such an appalling state, he never loses sight of what's most important to him — family. Even at his most selfish, blindsided, and furious behavior, we can't not feel for him. Whether we disagree or take his wife's side, it won't change the fact that we can't hate him. But make no mistake, with the two equally breathtaking performances that Ventimiglia and Moore deliver here, this spiteful quarrel wouldn't be half as impressive.

8. Jack confesses to Kate about his drinking problem

As touched upon in the Season 1 finale, Jack develops a drinking problem. It's the primary cause why he moves out from home for a while. In Season 2, after confessing to Rebecca, he decides to come clean to Kate before he lets his sons know about his addiction. We don't often see him grapple with tears, but admitting his biggest flaw to his own daughter nearly breaks him. He tells Kate that the destructive habit runs in his family, and his father used to be a vile and mean drunk. It's devastating to see him admit that he partly became the man he despised the most growing up. Yet, his honesty and vulnerability clearly tell us that he's nothing like him. He wants to fight and stay sober because he couldn't bear losing his family — in fact, he needs them more than ever.

Many men are afraid to be vulnerable, often failing to realize that vulnerability isn't a weakness, but a strength. Jack finding the power to talk about alcoholism and share it with those who think of him as a superhero proves that he's fallible — but also an exceptional human being.

7. He asks for money from his hateful father

When Jack and Rebecca find out they're having triplets, it isn't the best time. They barely make ends meet, and her parents strongly disapprove of their relationship. When Jack accidentally overhears Bec's crying in the kitchen — who's understandably freaking out about having three babies — he swallows his pride and decides to visit his vicious dad.

Stanley Pearson (Peter Onorati) didn't change much since the last time Jack saw him. He's the same malicious, bitter, and resentful person he always was. His son hates him with all his heart, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Jack puts his wedding ring in his pocket and walks into his father's house, ready to be humiliated. He falsely claims that he's got a gambling problem and needs money. He also admits that he's indeed the disappointment the old man said he will be. The trick works, though, and Jack leaves with a check that helps them buy their first house.

Since the beginning of the show, we know that Jack can make unthinkable sacrifices for the people he loves. But watching him give up his dignity and face the man who made his life miserable is another level of devotion — easily one of his greatest moments ever.

6. Jack admits his mistake to Kevin at the pool

"The Pool" is a fan favorite episode for a reason. It displays so many quintessential elements that make the series what it is. In it, the Pearsons spend a day at the local pool, trying to relax and ease the heat of a hot summer day. While Jack and Rebecca are watching Kate and Randall, Kevin almost drowns. When he gets out of the water, he snaps at his parents for never paying enough attention to him. He complains that they're always too busy making sure that Kate doesn't eat too much or Randall isn't too adopted. He storms off, and Jack runs after him. He apologizes and says, "I'm trying, okay? I know that I'm bigger than you, I know that I'm an adult, but uh... this is my first time. This is my first time, too. I got three of you, and I'm trying. I'm sorry. I should've been there, and I'm going to be there, okay?"

It's not just what Jack says but the way he does it. These aren't just empty words coming from an adult. He really means it, and we truly feel his sincerity as he takes the blame for his mistake. This confession of truth is a beautiful sentiment between dad and son, which can powerfully evoke our most treasured memories of fatherhood.

5. The adoption of Randall

In the pilot, we witness the birth of the triplets. However, Kevin and Kate's brother, Kyle, doesn't survive the delivery. When Dr. Katowsky (Gerald McRaney) breaks this shocking news to Jack, he's understandably shaken by it. But after he gives a meaningful and encouraging speech to him about how the loss of his first child set him on a new path, Jack does the unthinkable. Later on, as he watches his twins in the hospital nursery, a firefighter walks up to him. He tells him that someone left a newborn baby at his fire station that morning, and he brought him here. Despite the loss of Kyle, Jack decides to convince Rebecca to adopt the baby, who later becomes Randall, as we know.

This twist in the pilot is a defining instance of Jack's character. He finds a way to take home three babies, just not the way he planned. It's Dan Fogelman's writing that deserves the praise here, really, but Milo Ventimiglia's performance is what completes it. The combination of the two is what made millions of viewers fall in love with "This Is Us" and Jack Pearson in 2016.

4. Jack saves his family

When we get to the ominous house fire in Season 2, we already know how heroic and self-sacrificing Jack is when it comes to his family. But that doesn't make it easier for us to watch him go in and out of his burning home, knowing full well that this is the event where the Pearsons lose him forever.

In "Super Bowl Sunday," Rebecca and the kids are sleeping when Jack wakes up in the middle of the night and smells smoke. When he opens the bedroom door, he sees that the house is in flames. He switches into superman mode and takes control of the situation right away. Randall and Kate are terrified and in shock, but Jack saves them one by one. When he finally gets everyone outside, he hears their dog bark and goes back. A few minutes later, he bursts through the main door with Louie and a bag full of family photo albums. Even in such a dangerous situation, he protects the memories his wife and children treasure the most. You can't watch this striking scene without thinking of Jack as the most amazing human being on Earth. But being this incredible man is what costs his life, eventually. Later on, Jack's eventual death is one of the saddest moments of modern television.

3. He teaches Randall to breathe when he's stressed

In Season 1, we learn that Randall suffers from anxiety since he was a little boy. At times, he puts too much pressure on himself, which can lead to panic attacks — as we find out in the season finale. In the episode "Jack Pearson's Son," we see how his dad teaches him a meditation technique when he's stressing over a school assignment. He puts his palms on his cheeks and tells him to slow down, stop for a second, and just breathe — essentially, helping him to regain control over his overwhelming thoughts.

It's a tender moment between father and son, which beautifully portrays how well connected they are. Naturally, Randall cherishes this memory throughout his life and uses the same method when he tries to comfort his biological father, William (Ron Cephas Jones), on his deathbed. It's one of Jack's loveliest moments, which adds to his affectionate personality throughout the series.

2. Jack talks to Randall about adoption

In Season 1's "Career Days," 10-year-old Randall gets a chance to spend some time with his father at work — and he loves it. When Jack asks him to help out with some layouts, he shows off his math skills instantly. When he poses another mathematical question, Randall shuts down and pretends he doesn't know the answer. Jack snaps at him for acting like he's stupid and not letting people see how smart he is. Randall explains that he doesn't want to be different from his siblings. He says, "If I get an A, I'll get ice cream, and Kate and Kevin won't. And then they'll hate me."

Jack thinks for a second and says that he and Rebecca always try to treat him and Kevin and Kate the same. The truth, however, is that they aren't. Randall is adopted, and they don't talk about that enough. "Cause to me, you're every part my son," Jack tells him. He doesn't want him to feel that he stands out. But, in a different way, he wants Randall to stand out and show the world what he's capable of.

In this poignant scene, Jack proves again that he wants all of his children to succeed and not to be bound by any limitation. He tells Randall that he shouldn't let his father's poor choices make him feel any different. Expressing his unconditional love to him, again and again, is a characteristic that makes him a marvelous parent.

1. The Dojo

During his upbringing, Randall begins to seek out African-American role models. His curiosity leads him to join a karate class where the leader is a well-respected Black man. As his initiation, he asks him to step forward while all the fathers gather and sit on the mat behind him. He tells him to turn around and look at the other kids and their dads. He comforts him, saying that this is a community that holds each other up. Then he looks at Jack and says, "As Randall's father, you're his foundation. Come, lie down as if you were going to do a pushup." Then he instructs Randall to climb on his dad's back and tells Jack to begin the exercise. He starts doing the pushups and doesn't stop even when the man tells him to.

This sequence is one of the most heartfelt, and an inspiring example of Jack's dedication to his family. It shows that no matter what hardship, pain, or other obstacles he has to face, he'll never stop raising and pushing Randall to be the best man in the world he can be. If there is any doubt about whether Jack loves Randall the same as he does Kate and Kevin, this scene destroys it endearingly once and for all.