Ron Batzdorff/NBC
November 03, 2016 at 06:23 PM EDT

This Is Us

TV Show
run date
Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Sterling K. Brown
Dan Fogelman

You know who else isn’t perfect? Kevin. He can’t seem to grasp the pinnacle of grief his character experiences after losing his wife. Olivia decides to help him by inviting him to a party. And by party, I mean a memorial service for a stranger named Frank. Olivia stuffs her face with bereavement cheese while Kevin freaks out about crashing a funeral. When Frank’s wife, Grace, asks how they knew her husband, Olivia delivers a lie with an exorbitant amount of details. All Kevin can do is look dumbfounded.

Later, Kevin stumbles into the kitchen and finds Grace struggling with what to do with Frank’s favorite food — pickles. Kevin agrees to take them off her hands. She laughs, offering her new friend sport coats and holiday ties. Her 15-year-old son, Jeremy, doesn’t want anything to do with them.

An odd look flashes across Kevin’s face, and I was sure he was about to admit his own father died when he was 15, too. Instead, Kevin begins babbling about model planes and how he used to build them with his dad during their alone time. When he died, Kevin threw them all away. Grace asks Kevin how old he was when his father passed. It was a long time ago.

Kevin pulls out a necklace from under his shirt. It’s the only thing he has left. He used to not want to wear it, but now he can’t take it off. Suddenly, Kevin is crying into the pickles as Grace comforts him, snot and all.

He finds sanctuary in a bedroom. When Olivia barges through the door, asking where he’s been, Kevin is quick to point out he’s been with the widower. This isn’t a play. This isn’t make-believe. This is a real woman who just lost a person she loves. Olivia watches as Kevin’s walls break down. His dad died, and he hated him for it.

Olivia encourages him to use the pain. It’s a part of him. She can feel it. Then she feels his tongue in her mouth as they fall onto Frank’s (or is it Jeremy’s?) bed. This is the definition of inappropriate.

The next day, Kevin forgives Olivia for taking him to Frank’s funeral. The trick worked and he’s ready to tackle his character. Olivia warns him there was another lesson during their field trip. Just like the script in which she plays Kevin’s wife, who happens to be dead, they will never have sex again. Now that’s what I call method acting.

Episode grade: B+

( 3 of 3 )

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