'This Is Us' Recap: The Rise and Fall of Kevin Pearson
'This Is Us' Recap: The Rise and Fall of Kevin Pearson
Christine Petralia
Christine Petralia
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Fans of Kevin Pearson on This Is Us get a full episode dedicated to him. In "Number One," a spiraling-out-of-control Kevin heads back to his old high school to get an alumni award. The trip brings back memories of his relationship with his father and the night he broke his knee on the field that ended his football career.

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Always Number One

From the day he was born, Kevin has always been number one in his parents' eyes. He was the first one born, and he was the first one to walk. So it is only fitting when he plays football in high school that he's the star quarterback playing in jersey number one. The kids are applying to colleges. Randall wants to apply to Ivy League schools. Kate wants to procrastinate. And Kevin wants to go to Notre Dame to play ball.

Jack and Rebecca have other things in mind, though, as they want him to keep his options open. They invite the coach of the local school over for an interview with Kevin, who is rude and cocky. After the interview, Jack tells him he's embarrassed by his behavior and tells him to write an apology letter. Kevin snaps back at Jack and makes snarky comments about Jack's AA program. Later that night, Jack apologizes to Kevin for yelling at him, but Kevin just brushes it off and goes to write his letter. He then overhears Jack on the phone with his AA sponsor, which brings tears to his eyes.

End of a Dream

On the night of the next big game, Randall and Jack have to miss it to tour a college. Kevin is having a great game and is about to make a great play when he's hit by an opposing player hard and breaks his knee. The doctor tells Jack and Rebecca that the break is catastrophic and he won't be able to play football anymore.

Jack tells Kevin the bad news. Kevin is convinced he'll pull through and heal quickly, but Jack tells him that probably won't happen, which brings Kevin to tears. Kevin apologizes for his behavior and says he can do better. Jack says he knows that Kevin has other talents and knows he'll eventually find his purpose. Then he gives Kevin his chain from Vietnam that has given him strength to keep moving forward, in the hope that it helps Kevin too.

Honoring a Legend

In present day, Kevin's drug and drinking problem is spiraling out of control. He doesn't leave his hotel room in Los Angeles for a week, until he gets a call from the homecoming coordinator at his old high school to find out if he's all set to attend the alumni honor ceremony. After a quick chat with the housekeeper, Kevin decides to attend.

Back in Pittsburgh, Kevin takes a detour past his old home before heading to the school. He's a bit early, so he decides to walk the halls, where he reminisces about Sophie and how popular he was. He also strolls past the trophy case that's dedicated to him too.

Before the ceremony, an old classmate, Charlotte, makes small talk with him. She says she used to have a crush on him back in the day. She asks about Sophie, so he fills her in, and then she reveals she's a plastic surgeon.

During the ceremony, his former football coach gives a speech before handing him the award. During the coach's speech, Kevin pictures his father up there instead, which brings tears to his eyes. When Kevin gives his speech, he tells everyone that he doesn't think he's worthy of the award, or any honor, which only draws more applause that he doesn't want.

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The Fall of Kevin Pearson

After the ceremony, everyone wants photos with him, but he's sweating and not looking great. He's also ignoring calls from Kate and Toby, as he clearly doesn't want to face his issues. He heads outside with Charlotte to get some air and share a bottle of wine, but he walks away when she hits on him. He goes to the old football field, where he remembers the rise and fall of his football career, as well as the ups and downs in his life.

Just when he's really down on himself, he heads back into the school with the homecoming coordinator, finds Charlotte and heads back to her place. They sleep together. Afterwards, she starts babbling about how her fantasy came true. She then tells him that he was a good person in high school. She does notice that he's sweating profusely, so he excuses himself to go raid her medicine cabinet for more painkillers. When he can't find any, he sends her into the kitchen for food and then finds one of her prescription pads and steals one. Then he leaves without saying goodbye.

At the pharmacy, Kevin starts to panic as he worries he won't be able to fill the forged prescription. And then he notices that he left Jack's chain at Charlotte's house. He races back and wakes her up. She tells him to go away. He breaks down about how important the chain is to him, but she doesn't want to hear it and shuts her window without even looking for the chain. Kevin then collapses on her front lawn and starts asking for help.

He manages to pick himself up and head to Randall's house. He tells Randall that he has to tell him something. And Randall says he already knows that Kate lost her baby.

The Pearsons Break Down

In the first season of This Is Us, we saw the fall of Randall Pearson. This season, we get to see Kevin's breakdown. And I imagine that we'll soon see Kate's breakdown after she loses her baby.

It is painful to watch Kevin's breakdown. I'm honestly surprised that more people didn't notice that there's something wrong with Kevin. But I guess because he's been staying away from his loved ones, they are the ones who will truly know that something is up. I wonder if he will tell Randall about his issues now that he knows Kate lost her baby. I hope he gets help soon, though.

I have to wonder what will happen to Kate and Toby. I imagine that Kate will push Toby away instead of leaning on him. And what will happen if Rebecca wants to help Kate? Will this bring Kate and Rebecca together? Or will it continue to drive a wedge in their relationship?


Do you think Kevin will get the help he needs? Do you think news of Kate losing her baby will drive him deeper into drugs and depression? Do you think that Kate and Toby will be able to handle this tough time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

This Is Us season 2 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like our This Is Us Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of NBC)