If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Kevin goes back to his high school to accept an award. Jack and Rebecca get excited about their kids’ futures. (TVGuide)
Writer: KJ Steinberg
Director: Ken Olin
Running Time: 45 minutes
For the next three weeks, each episode will focus solely on one of the Big Three. This week begins with the focus on Kevin’s story. Tonight’s episode opens with a depressing start as we see Kevin continue to spiral as his alcohol and pill addiction continues to get worse and take over his life. Having lost track of time in his depressed, and somewhat manic state, he forgets that his old high school is having a ceremony to honor him. The scene flashes back to a teenage Kevin (Logan Shroyer), Randall (Niles Fitch), and Kate (Hannah Zeile) applying to college. A less than enthusiastic and unprepared Kevin gets ready to have a meeting with a college football recruiter.
Kevin’s visit back home takes him back to his old house, which momentarily appears to him as a burnt down house. A flood of childhood memories come rushing back as he looks at his old home, a place that he spent some of the best and worst times in his life. As present Kevin roams the halls of his old high school, we see him experience flashbacks to his time as a young, cocky high school kid with a bright future in football, with Sophie by his side. When meeting with the recruiter, teen Kevin sabotages the meeting with his ego and pride, something that irks Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) to the nth degree for ruining an opportunity of a lifetime resulting in an argument between the two.
As present Kevin takes a trip down memory lane, he has a mental struggle between what his life is now and what it used to be. This made for some phenomenal story-telling as we watched Kevin’s character fall deeper and deeper into the path of destruction.
During the award ceremony, Kevin was given the award from his old high school coach. This scene shifts back and forth as Kevin imagines Jack is handing him the award, instead of the coach. This results in a heartbreaking moment as Kevin attempts to give a speech in which he tries to convince everyone he is nothing and that he is not worthy of the award. Despite his attempts, people continue to cheer for him, ignoring his comments. This catches him off-guard as he realizes everyone is just obsessed with his fame, and not him as a person.
Meanwhile, Jack tries to salvage the tense situation that took place between him and teenage Kevin by apologizing. In a tender moment, we see a teary Kevin watching Jack pray for forgiveness in prayer, a practice Jack is trying to incorporate into his 12-Step recovery program. Things don’t appear to be any better the next morning as Jack heads off with Randall on a college tour, causing him to miss Kevin’s football game.
A drunk, solemn Kevin finds himself walking his high school’s football field, a place where he once felt in total control. Flashbacks take us back to his football games, as adult Kevin narrates plays and commentary during the games. During this flashback, we learn of the depressing truth behind Kevin’s football injury, that prevented him from the future Jack saw for him. This scene was flawlessly played by Justin Hartley as his character describes his entire life in a tearful, depressing monologue describing the ups, downs, and mistakes he’s made.
As if the night wasn’t rough enough, Kevin finds himself in bed with Charlotte Everly (Stefanie Black), a nerd turned plastic surgeon that went to highschool with him. A moment of regret turns into desperation as sweaty, dazed Kevin searches for an Rx pad in her house. When he succeeds in doing so, he ditches Charlotte and leaves, heading straight for the pharmacy.
As the the episode nears its end, a teenage Kevin is getting his MRI done as Jack and Rebecca receive upsetting news regarding his injury. He learns that he may never be able to play football ever again. Jack gives Kevin a sweet, motivating speech about finding his purpose, despite the current situation and gifts him a necklace. This only breaks our hearts as viewers, when we realize present Kevin has lost the necklace and rushes back to Charlotte’s house to retrieve it. When she refuses to help him find it, Kevin has the ultimate breakdown, pleading and begging for someone to help him. He goes to seek help from Randall, but before he could share his troubles, he learns that Kate has lost her baby.
It has become repetitive and redundant to say that this season of This Is Us is just as amazing and phenomenal as its first, but it’s true. The beautiful story-telling, the emotional storyline, and the amazing characters have captured our hearts and brought us into their lives like no other television show has before. This episode was absolutely no exception! Kevin’s emotional monologue, the flashbacks, and the reveals made this yet another wonderful episode of This Is Us. As we learned more of Kevin’s story, we gained clarity and perspective into his current downfall and situation. After such an epic start to week one of the Big Three episodes, I absolutely can’t wait to see what comes next.