This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8 Review: Number One

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For those who have been wanting the full Kevin Pearson story, This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8 surely delivered. 

And it was devastating! 

I'll admit, I haven't been the biggest advocate for Kevin, and I think it's because I didn't understand his story entirely. All of that changed after this episode.

Kevin Looks at His Old Home - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8

Kevin has been on a downward spiral, hiding out in his room, popping pills and chasing them with copious amounts of alcohol. He's even grown a beard during his little breakdown, which everyone assumes is for his next role. 

An alumni high school ceremony, where he's being honored for all of his achievements, finally pulls him back into the real world. But for a man struggling with how to deal with the loss of his father, going back to the scene of the crime without any support is dangerous. 

The minute he steps foot in his hometown he's hit with some major nostalgia. 

At his old house, which was rebuilt since the fire, he's seeing images of his father and his happy family; in the hallway, he's envisioning a teenage Sophie.

At one point, he tells Kelly "you look so much like someone I knew," and honestly, I think he's referring to himself and his old life. His statement perfectly summarizes what he's going through during the whole episode.

What can this kid not do? Can't go four hours without Vicodin but everyone loves him anyways. (Mock cheering)


Kevin always thought he was going to be this successful athlete who lived a breezy, carefree life but instead, he's like the athlete who peaked in high school and was never able to live up to his glory days. 

On the outside, Kevin's life is pretty glamorous. He's a famous actor, he gets recognized on the streets for being The Manny, and everyone loves him.

It doesn't seem like there's much to complain about but the happiest people are usually the saddest. Despite all the fame and fortune, he's broken inside so he numbs the pain with drugs and alcohol.

Back to High School - This Is Us

He doesn't hide it either! There are multiple moments where it is blatantly obvious that something is wrong; he's chugging red wine at the school function, and his whole speech is about how he doesn't deserve this award.

Yet no one actually notices because they are too busy basking in the glory of someone famous and cheering him on. That's essentially one of the problems — everyone uses him. Can you imagine how lonely that must be?

While most would say he was a terrible person for using Charlotte for both sex and drugs, Charlotte was using him by acting out her high school fantasy in the first place. He was just doing what other people always did to him. 

Flashbacks took us back to the "good ol' days," but those weren't good at all. Sure his family was whole, and he was playing football, which was the dream, but there were warning signs already in his cockiness and arrogance.

Truth is, I'm not worthy of this award. Or any honor for that matter.


Kevin's attitude led to his first full-on fight with Jack, where he put him down about the 12-step program and finally, to the famous knee injury, which cost him a scholarship and a career. The worst part is that there were never any repercussions for his actions. 

His monologue summed up his thoughts; No matter what Kevin did, how mean he was, or who he hurt, he was constantly being rewarded and given a second chance. It's almost as if the more he screwed up, the better his life turned out. 

Therefore, his addiction is a form of self-torture; Kevin's punishing himself because he believes he hasn't gotten what he deserves. 

Kevin and Jack Have a Heart to Heart - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8

I loved seeing Kevin in this raw form, really owning up to who he is. And because of his "trippy hallucinations," we were able to see one of the first scenes between adult Kevin and Jack. 

There is a bright side to all of this that Kevin isn't seeing.  Whenever he got knocked down, he persevered and rose up from the ashes. This little pill problem is just another hump on his way to finding that purpose Jack promised him existed. 

We touched upon Jack's death briefly when Kevin mentioned that he got up from his knee injury just in time to bury his beloved father. We see why the knee has always been a trigger for him; his father passed shortly after his dreams were taken away from him. He lost everything. 

More so, the necklace that he's always clinging onto was one of the last things Jack ever gave him. Jack himself got it from someone "very special" in Vietnam, which we can only assume is his mysterious brother. I cannot wait to find out more about him and get that whole story! 

Emotional doesn't even begin to describe this episode, but Kevin finally breaking down and crying out for help hit me the hardest. You would think he has all these people to turn to but pride and ego are always in the way, especially for someone whose life is all about keeping up appearances. 

Truthfully, his charismatic yet arrogant behavior has been a cry for help since he was a teen. He always felt sidelined for Randall and Kate, and since his parents thought he had it together, they let him be. 

Kevin on the Football Field - This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8

Initially, I thought that Toby and Kate kept calling because they were worried about him since he's gone off the radar. But they are also too busy with their own situations, which are just as heartbreaking as Kevin's.

We finally get him to the point where he's realized he's reached a breaking point, but when he turns to Randall for help, his siblings once again one-up him with their own problems and he's forced to push his feelings down.

Before he can even tell him about his addiction, Randall blurts out "Kate lost the baby."

NOOOOOOO! That's literally all I have to say. Just when you think their luck is on the up-and-up, it comes crashing down. And I don't know if Kate is going to be able to pick herself up from this.

Obviously, she expected it, which is why she was hesitant about telling anyone the news but even if you are prepared for the worst, the reality of such a loss will still tear you apart. 

Make sure to watch This Is Us online and prepare to dive into the heartbreaking story of "Number Two."

Number One Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

Lizzy Buczak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog at CraveYouTV.

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This Is Us Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

What can this kid not do? Can't go four hours without Vicodin but everyone loves him anyways. (Mock cheering)


Truth is, I'm not worthy of this award. Or any honor for that matter.