This Is Us kicked off its three-episode homage to the Big Three with the first born, Kevin Pearson. “Number One” explored how he grew up and became the man he is today.
Kevin is in a rut. He messed things up with Sophie again and has spent the past week locked up in a hotel room, drinking his days away, when he gets a call reminding him of his old high school’s ceremony in his honor. He makes it out there, takes a pit stop where his old house used to be, and ends up giving a speech that says, “you shouldn’t love me. I don’t deserve this” but gets boatloads of love.
The celebrity effect: Something Britney Spears sung about in her song “Lucky.”
Kevin is getting all this love from fans, but he doesn’t feel it. He is hurting on the inside. His knee made him give up one passion and find another. The same knee might be doing it in for him again. He’s now, more or less, addicted to pain killers, stealing prescription pads, and is falling into his dad’s alcoholic habits. He’s in trouble and needs help.
In flashbacks, it’s easy to see that Kevin idolized his father growing up. Kevin’s father loved him dearly –even when he was acting up, and it was Jack’s opinion that mattered the most to him. Losing him took a major toll on Kevin’s life.
After the ceremony, Kevin recounts his life starting from when he hurt his knee the first time. No one thought he could walk again, but he did in time to bury his beloved father. Some would have thought that would do Kevin in; but no, he ended up marrying his dream girl and getting a job in Hollywood. But he went and screwed that up. At that point, he thought maybe the universe would give him what he deserved, but no, he got The Manny and made millions. After screwing that up, he got his girl back but still found a way to ruin it.
Kevin seems to be waiting for the universe to punish him for all of his wrongdoing. But the universe doesn’t need to. He’s doing this to himself. He has punished himself for ruining his life for years. The alcohol is drowning the physical and emotional pain he’s felt all this time.
By the end, Kevin is having a breakdown because he’s lost the one thing he still has from his dad — the one thing his father gave him when he broke his knee to help him find his passion. He needs help, and he acknowledges it.
Of course, he’s been ignoring phone calls from his sister all day, thinking she was checking in on him, but Kevin finds out that Kate lost her baby.
Next week, “Number Two” will focus on Kate. This Is Us airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.