This is Us: S2 E8 Number One
This week we have our Kevin-centric episode of the three Big 3 episodes. It's a heart-wrencher. The episode opens with Kevin being the first of the Big 3 to walk--thus the episode title: Number One.
Modern day: Post-Sophie breakup Kevin is STRUGGLING. He's popping pills and drinking straight from the bottle (and not cleaning or shaving). Room service finally forces themselves in his hotel room when I receives a call from a representative of his former high school checking in on his travel status for an alumni honors ceremony back home in Pittsburgh...the next evening.
He flies back to Pittsburgh, passing by the plot of where their old house used to be, and relives a scene with all the Pearson playing football in the yard. Poor thing. When he arrives to the school, he even has a hallucination of Sophie while in a drug-induced state. He enters the high school, which still has his football regalia. During a pre-awards mingling session (where he's still drinking) he runs into a few folks from the past, including Charlotte, a woman he went to school with who clearly has a crush on him. She's getting honored as well for her efforts in plastic surgery for burn victims, and he learns he will be giving a speech at the event. Ruh oh. Kevin's former football coach actually gives Kevin a rousing introduction which tugged at his heart. During his own speech, Kevin simply says he's not worthy of such an honor--however, he receives a standing ovation for his celebrity.
After the ceremony (and receiving calls from Kate and Toby the whole night), Kevin poses for pictures, continues drinking, and heads to the football field and relives the moment he injures himself which resulted in his football career-ending injury.
We don't see how it happens, but Kevin went home with Charlotte. Yikes, yikes, yikes. Yup, it's as bad as we think. After hooking up with Charlotte, he rummages around her house and finds a prescription pad while she's in the kitchen making him some post-coital food. When he's in line at the pharmacy to pick up his prescription, Kevin realizes he lost his father's necklace. He rushes back to Charlotte's house, but she won't let him back in! He breaks down and heads to Randall's house. We see him about to confess (we think) his drug and alcohol problem, but Randall interrupts and tells him that Kate had a miscarriage. NOOOOOOOO!!!!
Flashback: We get a flashback to a 17-year-old Kevin who has a major attitude problem. A representative from the University of Pittsburgh is on his way to the house to recruit Kevin for football, but Kevin believes he's too good for Pitt. Jack has been more stern that ever because he's tired of Kevin's attitude like us. The Pitt coach arrives and Kevin is giving him the cold shoulder the whole time. Luckily, Jack does not let him slide--discussing how lucky a C+ student is to have been offered a full ride scholarship to Pitt. However, Kevin is fussy and brings up Jack's AA involvement. Ugh... How did he get this way??? Later in the evening, Jack apologizes to Kevin for yelling at him, but Kevin is still cold to him. However, Kevin does see his dad talking to his AA sponsor later, discussing his struggles, and also sees his father reciting the Serenity prayer as a part of his 12 steps.
While Jack and Randall are off on a college tour, Kate and Rebecca go to see Kevin play in a big football game. This is the game where we see Kevin's major knee injury. Kate rushes to page (yup, pagers exist in this time frame) her father, and Jack and Randall meet the family at the hospital. Jack breaks the news to Kevin about his catastrophic injury, and Kevin finally apologizes to his father about his behavior. We see Jack give Kevin the neck his received in Vietnam (from his brother perhaps???) and tells him that Kevin will find his purpose. We sure hope so... Kevin is wheeled out of the hospital with his siblings being supportive and his parents behind him. The imagery...gotta love the Pearsons.
Overall: What a mess. Kevin is in a really bad place and it's hard to see how he'll come out of it all especially with this reveal about Kate. However, Justin Hartley's performance/monologue on the football field is Emmy-worthy.
Quote(s) of the Week: Thanks, LL Cool Kate.-Randall
Predictions: For Kevin, Kate's loss might come before addressing his own problems. We'll see how the Big 3 manages all of their current life transitions.