‘This Is Us’ Recap, Season 2 Episode eight: ‘Number One’


This Is Us

This Is Us

Number One
Season 2

Episode eight

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

Uncurl yourselves from the fetal place, This Is Us fam. “Number One” is a doozy of an episode and we have to speak about it. Was it miserable as hell to look at Kevin Pearson hit all-time low, or what? Someone maintain me!

Before we get into the specifics of how Kevin winds up weeping on the entrance garden of a one-night stand and breaking our collective hearts, let’s speak format. This episode is the primary of three devoted to every of the Big Three. It’s such a easy and efficient technique to play with the This Is Us construction, I’m shocked we didn’t see this occur in season one. It’s a deep dive into every Pearson child with none pesky siblings. It’s sensible, however it’s additionally a bit of dangerous: The present is chopping out different, extra beloved, extra Adult Randall–y characters for an installment or two to make room for a narrative a couple of character who could also be much less compelling on the reg.

People have issues with Kevin. I get it. His character is riddled with clichés and predictable story strains. Kevin is all the time higher when he’s coping with much less actor-y and profession stuff and extra interpersonal relationship turmoil with members of the family. (Kevin and Randall story strains all the time and without end!) Despite all of that, I’m onboard with Kevin. Justin Hartley’s portrayal is all the time partaking and he straight-up hit me immediately within the coronary heart in “Number One.” For all of the Kevin haters on the market, I hope this solo installment helps fill in some shading on the character.

We get a greater understanding of his internal turmoil. Please say sure, Kevin haters. I must know one thing good got here out of the storm of disappointment that befalls the oldest Pearson.

As I used to be saying, “Number One” turns our concentrate on Adult Kevin and his sweaty, Vicodin-fueled disgrace spiral as he heads to a high-school alumni award ceremony, and Teen Kevin across the time he injures his knee and his soccer desires are dashed. Which can be extraordinarily near the time Jack dies. (Remember: Kevin continues to be in his forged in these flashbacks.) Jack’s dying! Always looming, making each dialog he has along with his youngsters extra poignant.

The Teen Kevin story very a lot informs the Adult Kevin Returns to Where He Once Was King story. Around this time, Teen Kevin is, effectively, an actual dick. He’s being courted by school soccer coaches and he is aware of he’s a stud. He’s insanely impolite to the Pitt coach when he pays a home go to. That poor dude! First, he has to choke down Rebecca’s chocolate-orange-zest cake after which he has to place up with an adolescent giving him perspective. Give that man a increase, University of Pittsburgh!

Kevin continues to be having points with being missed for his different siblings. He appears superb, so he should be superb, proper? It’s the scar he’ll wind up carrying effectively into maturity. Furthermore, he’s having hbadle coping with his father’s alcoholism and participation in AA. The scene wherein Kevin catches Jack on the cellphone along with his sponsor after which watches as Jack will get down and recites the AA serenity prayer could be very upsetting. (If you’re questioning the place we’re timeline-wise, Jack has been in AA for six months.)

When the coach leaves, Jack and Kevin get into it. Jack is embarrbaded by watching his son behave that manner. Kevin “knows the feeling well.” Later, Kevin apologizes, however issues are nonetheless tense between the 2. And Kevin continues to be a dick.

The ache of Kevin’s relationship along with his dad is what he’s making an attempt to stuff down with Vicodin and booze within the current day. Adult Kevin is on a bender in his lodge room. Even sensible lodge housekeeper Martina can inform the man must get out. When he will get a name from perky McKinley High homecoming coordinator Kelly about his arrival for the alumni ceremony, Kevin decides to go.

Kevin’s bender continues. He arrives in Pittsburgh the following day and has his driver take him to the outdated Pearson home, now utterly totally different. He sees it gutted by hearth. He imagines the tiny Big Three taking part in soccer with Jack and Rebecca on the entrance garden. He doesn’t see me silently crying, however it’s nonetheless taking place.

Out of tablets by the point he will get to the varsity, Kevin simply will get shakier and drunker because the night goes on. Can nobody see how horrible Kevin appears? OPEN YOUR EYES, PEOPLE. But that’s the issue, isn’t it? No one can really see Kevin. Even when he’s standing proper in entrance of individuals, utterly damaged, he’s all the time the Pearson with none issues. This is rarely clearer than when Kevin goes to just accept his award. His outdated coach presents it with a transferring speech about how Kevin has been dealt a whole lot of blows, however has managed to choose himself up each time. During the speech, Kevin begins to see Jack standing there on the microphone. It’s all he’s ever needed, proper? Seeing his dad beaming with pleasure. Kevin loses it. He tells the group that he doesn’t deserve this award. He isn’t sturdy in any respect. The crowd nonetheless cheers. No one can see this man begging for badist.

Drunk Kevin winds up on the soccer area. We flash between Adult Kevin giving a play-by-play commentary of his screwed up life and the sport when Teen Kevin will get irreparably injured. Which line hit you the toughest? “Kevin Pearson will walk again just in time to bury his beloved father” or “Even when he tries to tell people how pathetic he is, they don’t hear it, they just cheer?” This looks like all-time low, proper? Well, it isn’t.

Kevin results in mattress with one other alumna, a health care provider named Charlotte who’s nursing a significant crush. Predictably, post-coital Kevin finds Dr. Charlotte’s prescription pad earlier than sneaking out of the home. Before he can hand over his prescription — this time for fentanyl, a way more highly effective painkiller — to the pharmacist, Kevin will get spooked by some cops. The stress makes him attain for the one factor that calms him down: Jack’s necklace. Only this time, the necklace is lacking. He should’ve left it at Charlotte’s home.

We already know this necklace is the one factor Kevin has that belonged to his father, however now we get to see the second Jack handed it on to his son. Jack is the one who has to inform Teen Kevin that he’ll by no means play soccer once more. Oof, this scene. Jack needs he may take this on as his personal ache! Teen Kevin is so sorry for a way he’s been treating Jack! He’ll even go to Pitt. Jack guarantees Kevin he’ll discover one other dream. Then he provides him the necklace somebody gave to him through the Vietnam conflict — it’s the Buddhist image for objective. You know when Jack discovered his personal objective? The second he held Kevin, his primary, for the primary time. Can all of us simply group hug now?

No, we are able to’t, as a result of it’s about to worsen. Adult Kevin goes to Dr. Charlotte’s home for the necklace, and he or she is understandably floored that he would even come again. And that’s when Kevin breaks down on the garden. After Kevin’s ultimate “I need somebody to help me!” whereas doubled over on Dr. Charlotte’s garden at nighttime, I used to be legit yelling, “WHY CAN’T SOMEBODY HELP HIM?!” (I’m a really lively TV viewer, who cares.) Also, the place the hell is that necklace?

Just if you suppose Kevin goes to succeed in out for that badist, he’s as soon as once more missed. A weary Kevin exhibits up at Randall’s door, able to speak in confidence to his brother till Randall stops him. Randall says he already is aware of why Kevin is right here trying so upset: Kate simply misplaced her child.

Good lord, can’t the Pearsons catch a break?

• No, that beard shouldn’t be a Movie-Role Beard. It is an I’m-Broken-Inside Beard.

• The “Lonesome Loser” scene chopping backwards and forwards between Teen Kevin and Adult Kevin within the college hallway is so, so good.

• Who is that this Coach Duffy individual? We’ve solely simply met and he’s already made me cry. Duff! Duff! Duff!

• I badumed with this format we’d skip round to monumental occasions in every of the Big Three’s lives, however it looks as if we’ll be sticking with the identical time interval, seen from totally different views. Conversations we solely noticed a part of in Kevin’s installment shall be crammed in with the opposite two. I’m counting right down to Jack and Randall’s highway journey!

• “Get it together, Kelly!” Aside from propositioning Kevin, which is alarming, Homecoming Coordinator Kelly is hilariously annoying at each flip.


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