If you thought you were through the hardest episode of This Is Us after Sunday鈥檚 post-Super Bowl special, you were wrong. We all knew Jack鈥檚 funeral and the immediate aftermath of his death would be a tissue-fest, but we underestimated just how many boxes we鈥檇 need for 鈥淭he Car.鈥

The episode itself takes place largely in the past, in different segments of the Big Three鈥檚 life before and immediately after Jack鈥檚 death.

At the start of the hour, Rebecca sits in the Grand Wagoneer, waiting for her kids so she can take them to Jack鈥檚 funeral. She wipes her tears. She finds Bruce Springsteen tickets for an upcoming concert, and we see the pain on her face. Then we see how the car was first picked out 鈥 not really by Jack or Rebecca, but by their kids, who climbed in and started playing around with it when no one was looking.

It turns out, that car has a lot of memories, like when they were driving to their first family concert (Weird Al Yankovic) and Rebecca freaked out over a bridge, so the kids had to distract her by singing loudly in the backseat. It also has emotional memories, like when Jack told her that he was going to die first because she was going to live forever.

The whole episode is basically a love letter to the Jeep, sprinkled with memories of what it means to the family and how it relates to Jack. In one flashback, Jack tries to teach Randall how to drive, and because Kevin can鈥檛 stop teasing his brother from the backseat, they almost get into an accident. Fed up, Jack insists that they walk home and drives the car home himself. When the kids finally get back, he tells them a story about his own brother and reminds them that when everyone is gone, the only people they鈥檒l have is each other. It鈥檚 quintessential Jack.

In another memory, Jack is driving to work when he sees Kate waiting for the bus. Kate is apparently skipping school to see Alanis Morisette at a signing. Instead of getting mad, Jack ends up taking her to the signing himself 鈥 because it鈥檚 his 鈥淜atie-girl.鈥 It鈥檚 here (and in this car) that we start to understand Kate鈥檚 appreciation for music. (It鈥檚 also here that we understand just why Rebecca seeing the Springsteen tickets made her emotional.) After Jack鈥檚 death, Kate comes to the conclusion that they all got out in time, but that Jack went back inside for her dog, so it鈥檚 her fault he died.

The kids are, understandably, having a hard time preparing for the funeral. Kate wants to give up her dog so she鈥檚 not reminded of her dad, Kevin is frustrated that he can鈥檛 tie his own tie, and Randall, as always, is trying to be the person who stays calm and rational. We don鈥檛 actually see much of the funeral, and what we do see is mostly through Rebecca鈥檚 eyes 鈥 Miguel speaks, Randall speaks, Kate barely holds it together. But before they leave to go the reception, she protectively takes the urn (the one that will end up on Kate鈥檚 mantle in the end.)

At the reception, Kevin is off by himself when he notices Randall wearing Jack鈥檚 watch. He snaps, yelling at Rebecca and telling Randall he鈥檚 not a 鈥渞eal man,鈥 because a real man would鈥檝e stopped his father from going back into the house. Randall responds by pointing out that Kevin wasn鈥檛 even there, a fact that haunts Kevin years later.

There is light in this episode, though, and it comes in the form of Dr. K, who shows up at the reception with his wife. We find out that Jack apparently kept coming to the hospital for advice after the kids were born, which Rebecca didn鈥檛 know. Rebecca admits that she still has so much guilt over not being there when Jack died (part of the reason she鈥檚 been following the urn around) and laments how fearless Jack was in comparison to her. Dr. K, of course, tells her that Jack had a ton of fears, especially as a new father. When Rebecca says she can鈥檛 do this without him, Dr. K reminds her of the baby she lost and how strong she is.

Near the end of the episode, we put the pieces together 鈥 the coffee that Rebecca has been looking at in the cupholder of the car was Jack鈥檚 the night that he died, and the Bruce tickets were what he had planned to surprise the family with. Rebecca drags her kids out of the reception and to his favorite tree, which we saw the origins of earlier in the episode. (He took Rebecca there after a medical scare to calm her, and when Rebecca asked why it was his favorite, he said it was because it was where she would find out she was okay from the MRI she鈥檇 had.) She admits to her children that she never wanted to have kids before she met Jack, tells Randall and Kevin they don鈥檛 have to be the men of the house, and assures Kate that no matter what she thinks, Jack鈥檚 death is not her fault. And then they scatter his ashes, and suddenly, they鈥檙e the little family that could, trying to move on. It鈥檒l be hard. It鈥檒l be emotional. But they鈥檙e the Pearsons, and they鈥檒l get through it.

(photos via NBC)