If you had told us three years ago that someday our favorite episode of This Is Us, maybe ever, would be all about Kevin Pearson, we would have been pretty dang skeptical.
Now, thanks to some serious character development and more growth than maybe anyone else, it makes sense that Kevin got an episode like the one he was at the center of tonight. Kate and Randall, while they still have their struggles and their growing to do, have settled down into marriages and families. Kevin only recently realized he wants that too, and tonight’s episode was a pretty major step in his journey to find his great love story and achieve his goals of finding someone before he’s 40 (which we know he does).
It was also just a gorgeous hour that went back to explore a few major moments in Kevin’s past as he went back to Pittsburgh for the funeral of Sophie’s mother Claire.
While Jack and Rebecca were always supportive and loving, we learn that after Jack’s death, Rebecca couldn’t possibly be there for every important moment for all of her kids. She missed Kevin’s TV debut on Days of our Lives, and while yes, his line was cut, he was still on screen. Rebecca didn’t bother watching, but Claire certainly did, and she was so proud of her son-in-law.
Claire and Sophie had a complicated relationship, but she was Kevin’s biggest fan, so it was clear why Kevin felt he needed to be at the funeral.
When Sophie saw him there, she realized she was about to spend her life with someone who never even knew her mom when she was well, and got a little overwhelmed. When she saw Kevin standing outside the reception holding a box of the donuts they used to eat together, she asked him to get her out of there, and they went on a little drive together, talking and laughing and bonding over the grief they’ve both dealt with.
Kevin ended up driving them to the spot in the woods where kids used to party, and where they were asleep in the car that morning when Kate arrived to tell him that Jack had died.
There were moments in that car when all Kevin and Sophie were doing was looking at each other, and it was like they were saying a million things without any words. There were also moments where it felt like something might happen again between them, but in the end their encounter was all about the closure.
We learned that when they were teens, they went to see Good Will Hunting, but the power went out right before the movie ended. They decided to never see the end of the movie, and just spend the rest of their lives making up endings for each other.
Before Kevin took Sophie home, they sat and watched the ending together on her phone, closing the door on their relationship at least for now and hopefully for good, despite how good these two can be together.
After he paid his respects with a little speech and a toast (of Fresca) at Claire’s gravesite, Kevin headed home, and left a message for Kate saying he was coming over as soon as he got back for some Baby Jack time. When he got to Kate’s house, she wasn’t there, but her best friend Madison was, and we could all immediately see where this was going as they sat down to chat.
When Kevin got that call from Randall, it was Madison whose bed he was in, and honestly we’ve never been more thrilled. She’s been there the whole time! It makes perfect sense, and we are so dang happy for Kevin that we could cry, and we did while watching this episode.
Most episodes of This Is Us are good, some are great. This one was phenomenal for a lot of reasons. The acting from Justin Hartley, Logan Shroyer, and Alexandra Breckenridge was beyond, and the writing was at its best, but it also helped that we’ve watched Kevin evolve so much over the course of the series so far. This felt like the perfect reward for all that growth, and a brand new beginning for the guy formerly known as The Manny.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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