What a crock ... This Is Us ignites controversy with plot twist

Warning: Contains Spoilers

For fans of This Is Us, the critically acclaimed dual-narrative US drama series, the question of how Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) will die has been a lingering question since it began.

The series is told in two time periods - the 1980s and the present day - and in the latter, it has always been clear that at some point between the two, Jack had died.

Now, if you're a fan of the show, and you want to preserve the mystery, you should probably stop reading now; the episode in question has not yet aired in Australia.

But for US audiences, that mystery was solved last week when it was revealed a kindly neighbour had gifted Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) an old Crock-Pot slow cooker, noting that it had a fiddly switch.

Years later - but still in the 80s - and with the family off to bed, the Crock-Pot's fiddly switch came to life and ignited a fire which - as we left the episode - was roaring up the staircase of the family home.

Accompanied by some tender images of Jack and the family, the intention was to leave the show's audience heartbroken under a mountain of tissues but somehow reassured, in that quality TV kind of way.

Things, however, do not appear to have gone to plan.

Instead of turning their shock and anger on the show's writers for a plot twist that - let's be frank - has the whiff of a bit of a crock about it, America instead focused its rage on the Crock-Pot itself.

After all, this is a Jack-killing, heart-breaking, murderous Crock-Pot with blood on its hands.

Fans blasted the innocent little kitchen appliance on social media, with some claiming they or family members had thrown their Crock-Pots in the rubbish, either out of fear, or in retaliation for being an accessory before the fact in the death of Jack Pearson.

One poor bride-to-be declared the slow cooker was coming off her bridal registry.

Remember: this is the resolution to a TV mystery which has been two years in the making. To say fan expectations were high would not be an understatement.

Worse, it has left Crock-Pot - and not NBC, which airs the show, or Fox, which makes it - to mop up the PR disaster.

"Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by [the] episode of This Is Us, and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack's storyline," the company said in a statement.

"It is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs," the statement said.

What is more, the company noted, the device's switch - the faulty one which appears to have incinerated one of television's most loved characters - never carries a high enough voltage to do what the episode of This Is Us suggested it did.

The company said the Crock-Pot is "low current, low wattage" and that its switches are subject to internal testing and constructed of "self-extinguishing, flame resistant material."

The show's creator Dan Fogelman was forced to take to his social media account to reassure the show's Crock-Pot bashing fans their kitchens did not have lurking killers perched quietly on the counter top.

"Taking a moment to remind everyone that it was a 20 year old fictional crockpot with an already funky switch?" Fogelman wrote.

"Let's not just lump all those lovely hardworking crockpots together."

It is worth noting that in the episode itself, the controversial prop did not bear the Crock-Pot's logo, just its shape and function.

To Crock-Pot's credit, they have been gracious in the wake of the drama.

"While we know the [TV program's] primary mission is to entertain, something they have continued to excel in, we also feel they have a responsibility to inform," the company said.

"Just like many fans, we will be watching next week's episode to see how Jack's story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot."

This story What a crock ... This Is Us ignites controversy with plot twist first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.