This Is Us recap: Kevin has 'A Hell of a Week'
Last week, a new Big Three trilogy kicked off with an all-Randall episode. He has a bad week, and we see flashbacks of two bad incidents — one as a toddler, one during college. While he faces a repeated issue in each era, his siblings struggle with their own problems. This week, we jump into Kevin’s world.
Kevin’s “Hell of a Week” episode spins a tale of interconnected big life moments for Kevin as an adult, college-age teen, high schooler, and toddler.
The episode opens on (an insanely adorable) toddler Kevin. As seen last week, it’s the first night of the Big Three sleeping in regular beds instead of in cribs in the same room. Jack has just gotten Randall — who’d been afraid of monsters — to sleep when Kevin comes downstairs. He misses the sheep from his crib mobile.
After searching for the sheep to no avail, Jack reluctantly wakes Rebecca up to ask, and she says they got rid of all the crib things. Jack breaks the news to Kevin and tells him it’s hard to lose what we love, but he’ll find something else to love. Then he hands him a stuffed tiger instead. It seems to work, and Kevin settles in.
The “love and loss” theme is what Kevin’s storyline is all about.
Adult Kevin is on the set of his M. Night Shyamalan movie stressing about his love life and the movie’s new ending. Meanwhile, the assistant holding his phone deliberates on telling Kevin that Sophie keeps calling. Finally, the assistant approaches Kevin just as Shyamalan tells him, “It’s the ending everyone wants but still won’t see coming.” Ok show writers, I see you going meta with your foreshadowing. But can you walk the walk?
Sophie tells Kevin her mother has died. Kevin cheers her up by saying, “I have one: he starts a cider brewing company and calls it ‘How Do You Like Them Apples.’” It’s clearly a game they play but we don’t know the backstory yet.
Cut to High School Kevin at Sophie’s house after fighting with his family because he’s still frustrated about his leg injury ruining his football dreams. Sophie’s mother Claire cheers him up. We see here, and in a flashback to college-age Kevin, that Claire is a constant source of support for him — in a way he doesn’t feel he gets from his parents. Her main message to him is to never settle. Claire isn’t perfect — Sophie fights with her a lot, especially over being fiscally responsible (she buys two tickets to see the Northern Lights with money saved to fix the house) — but she was very important to Kevin.
And interwoven around Claire’s death and her role in Kevin’s life is Kevin’s lifelong love story with Sophie.
High School Kevin and Sophie go to a party in the woods, but soon get bored and go for donuts and a movie. Adult Kevin shows up to Claire’s funeral service. College-age Kevin asks Claire for Sophie’s grandmother’s emerald ring to give to Sophie.
Sophie gives Claire’s eulogy and when she breaks down in tears, she locks eyes with Kevin and it helps her continue. When the service ends, Kevin starts toward Sophie, but when he sees her fiancé take her hand, he stops and walks out.
High School Kevin and Sophie see Good Will Hunting. Before the movie, Kevin cutely wipes donut crumbs from her face. Claire tells college-age Kevin the story of the ring and her parent’s love journey and says he can’t have the ring yet because he and Sophie’s marriage is too new, and they’re too young — he must earn it.
Adult Kevin is standing outside Sophie’s home for the reception. He’s holding a box of donuts from their favorite place but isn’t sure he should go in. He calls Sophie and asks what she thinks. She comes out to him and they get in his car and drive off aimlessly.
Back in the past, Good Will Hunting shuts off right before the ending due to technical difficulties.
In the present day, Sophie laments that her fiancé didn’t get to know her mother. Sophie plays their game again, saying, “He becomes an ice fisher in Alaska and never speaks to another human again.”
Kevin takes her to the woods where they hung out before the movie all those years ago — and where they returned to when the movie broke down. In the flashback, Sophie’s bummed they didn’t wait for the movie to be fixed so they could see the ending but Kevin says now they can imagine any perfect ending they want. That’s what their game is about — making up endings. They promise each other to never finish the movie.
But the woods memory is soured. That’s where Kevin was the night Jack died. Adult Kevin tells Sophie he thought he’d never be able to return to the woods, but eventually, he was able to remember it for the good times he had there with Sophie instead of just associating it with Jack’s death. Likewise, Sophie will be able to return to the coffee shop she said in her eulogy is now ruined because it’s where she and her mother bonded.
Kevin and Sophie then watch the end of Good Will Hunting. It’s perfect. They look at each other longingly, fighting hard to keep from kissing. Finally, Sophie says she should get home. Once they arrive, Sophie gives Kevin the first headshot he’d signed and given to Claire. The two cry and hold hands in mourning. Then they part.
I am still team Cassidy, but team Sophie is making a hard case in this episode…
Cut to Kevin at Claire’s grave. He tells her he became a star like she knew he would, and he messed things up with Sophie twice, which he figures Claire knew he would, and that’s why she withheld the ring. He wishes he could have another chance.
When Kevin gets back to L.A., he shows up at Kate’s door. But only Madison is there. She tells him Kate and her boys are at a retreat. Then she invites him in for tea. Kevin accepts.
Madison vents to Kevin about being dumped yet again. He says he’s the guy who’s always left first when things got hard, instead of fighting. She’s better off being the girl who’s willing to stay.
A couple scenes later, Kevin takes Randall’s second call, where Randall breaks down while Kevin is sitting in bed next to a woman. They decide they should do a Big Three cabin trip. In a flashback, college-age Kevin returns home to Rebecca for dinner. Rebecca says she and Kate fought and Kate ran off with Mark to the cabin but just called her crying. They prepare to go after her.
Adult Kevin calls Kate. She says her marriage is about to implode.
The girl in Kevin’s bed rolls over. It’s… Madison. ABSOLUTELY NOT. This writer will not be happy if she’s Kevin’s happy ever after. It HAS to be Cassidy or Sophie. I guess we’ll see if this sticks…
In the past, toddler Kate disturbs a sleeping Jack with a new problem.
This Is Us
NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.