This is Us
Original Air Date: Nov 14, 2017
Jules – Senior Managing Editor
This season has been full of tearjerker episodes, but this one was a major one if there ever was one. This episode focuses on Kevin in the present when he is set to get an alumni award and the past, about how he hurt his knee.
In the past Jack and Rebecca are watching some old home movies showing showing Kevin (aka the first born and name of episode) taking his first steps. Flash forward to the big three as teens and applying to college. Kevin gets an opportunity to have a scholarship to Pitt and has to interview with the coach in their home. Of course, Kevin is not really about it and is borderline rude during the dinner. After Jack gets really mad that Kevin gave up this full ride opportunity as a C+ student and makes him write an apology letter to the coach.
Later that night, father and son run into each other and while Jack apologizes, Kevin does not. Kevin does later have a change of heart and comes back downstairs to see his dad on the phone with his sponsor and then get on two knees to pray the Serenity Prayer, which makes Kevin well up.
In the present, Kevin has spiraled out of control. He’s spent the last week in his hotel room, drinking, taking pills, stopped shaving, and stopped showering. The maid forces herself in to clean up the room since she hasn’t been in there in a week and because she can restock the booze. That’s when Kevin gets a call from his old high school for his appearance at the Alumni Honor Ceremony where he’s set to receive an award. Kevin initially doesn’t want to, but since he’s going to be heading back east soon anyway, he goes.
When he arrives in town, Kevin’s still popping painkillers and his first stop is his childhood home where he sees his family playing flag football on the lawn and the burned house. Kevin arrives at his alma mater, thinks he sees Sophie, but it’s just the girl who called him. We learn that Kevin’s jersey number was #1. Enjoyed the random questions about if his beard is for a movie.
Kevin still looks so crappy as he starts chatting with another fellow honoree Charlotte and alum from his time and then learns he has to give a speech. It all gets more for Kevin to handle as the person presenting his award is his former football coach. While he talks about all the natural talent Kevin had and how he made them proud, all Kevin sees his is dad giving the presentation. When Kevin goes up to get the award, he imagines hugging his dad and it’s nice and sad at the same time.
Kevin makes a speech saying he’s not strong or worthy of this award and that the other honorees are much deserving for the work they do. Oh Kevin. Yet the students still stand up and cheer him on. Afterwards, everyone mobs Kevin to get photos with him and thank him for his amazing speech. Charlotte takes Kevin outside where one of the most emotional moments happens.
Kevin walks out onto the football field and imagines his last game that his father missed. His monologue is real and so raw. He goes from talking about not being able to go four hours without a vicotin, but loves them anyway. In this big game, he’s about to make a throw and he can see his whole future, going to Notre Dame, winning the Heisman, and becoming Super Bowl MVP, etc… and his dad saying “That’s my son.” But before Kevin could make that pass, he’s hit and that’s when he hurts his knee and how he got better just in time to bury his father. Kevin talks about now he doesn’t get a happy ending since he screwed it up with Sophie twice, and screwed up two recent jobs.
Then the high school girl comes by and asks if he wants to go to a party. It seems like it would be bad, but next thing we know, Kevin is in bed with Charlotte at her place. She tells him how Kevin was a nice kid and good guy for his actions and wonders how she got so lucky and why he wanted to go to her place. Seems Kevin may have had alternative reasons as we see him rummage in her bathroom and room for pills and what he finds his her prescription pages and takes one and then leaves without saying goodbye.
Back to the flashback of Kevin getting hurt. It’s a “catastrophic knee break” and it’s Jack who breaks the bad news to his son that he may never be able to play again. Kevin says doctor’s are wrong and then ends up apologizing to his dad about how awful he’s been. Then comes the second major emotional moment of the episode when Jack gives Kevin the medallion the wears. Jack got it while in Vietnam from a friend when he was going through a hard time and that is has a Buddhist symbol for “purpose” on it. When the big three were born, that’s when Jack found his purpose and knows that Kevin will find his, too. Emotional and lovely speech.
While standing in line with is fake prescription, he realizes that his father’s medallion is missing. Kevin runs back to Charlotte’s begging to look inside for the pendant while in deep pain. Charlotte is pissed, naturally, because he just left her with no reason. Kevin ends up on the ground crying . and eventually ends up at Randall’s. When he arrives, Kevin says he has something to tell him, but Randall says he already knows. Kevin’s confused, but that’s when Randall reveals the saddest moment of the episode…Kate lost the baby. Oh no! Seems Kevin not answering Kate and Toby was a sign. Then we get a flashback to baby Kate walking and I wonder what next’s week episode is about? Considering the episode title, it’ll be Kate-centric.
What did you think? Was this emotional enough for you? Share your thoughts below.
Next week: Number Two