Kevin, who is battling a case of nerves on the opening night of his play, is given advice by an unlikely person in Miguel: What would Jack do? In a big, emotional moment near the end of the episode, he leaves the play just as it’s about to start to be there for a sibling in need. That would seem to help to repair a relationship that had a certain degree of estrangement, and from that flashback, he’s making amends for a time when he did not help when they were teens. What do you remember about filming that scene when Kevin finds Randall in the office and comforts him?
What I remember most about it, honestly, was that at the end of that day how exhausted Sterling was. I think he really paid a real price to contain that kind of emotion. The way that his character is so frozen, the energy that that took from Sterling was enormous. That’s what I remember most at the end of the day — how spent he was. To me, it was so moving what they did, and it’s filled with so much love. The two of them and their relationship and the way we feel about the characters in the show, that was a big part of that day. But I remember looking at Sterling and realizing, “Oh wow, that was so exhausting for him to hold that much in.” He’s holding so much in that he can’t move. That was an enormous accomplishment — and a real feat for him as an actor.
In this episode, we learned that Randall has had trouble with anxiety since he was a child, and certainly battled some severe stress in high school. In episode 2, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) alluded to him being paralyzed on the ground. With all of the stresses piling on him, and him now collapsing in tears several times, how worried about Randall should we be?
At the end of [episode] 15, I hope as much as anybody would be worried about him, we were going for seeing how much the relationship between the two brothers has grown, and that Kevin has reached a point in his life. And that is as important as anything. This relationship has grown. People do grow in their lives, and Kevin and Randall have grown…. Kevin realizes and takes responsibility for how fragile his brother is. It’s more important than “Is he going to be okay?” It’s more [that] he’s fragile, his brother recognizes he’s fragile, and his brother makes a sacrifice and is capable of taking care of him for the first time in their lives. And that’s a story we’ve been telling over the course of the season.
Kevin also deepened his relationship with another Pearson family member: Dan predicted that this episode will be the one that helps turn the tide in Miguel’s favor? Kevin obviously has had a rough relationship with his stepdad, slightly starting to mend it by letting him wear the Pilgrim Rick hat, but is this the more critical step?
I think it may turn the tide for Miguel. That’s the hope. It’ll probably take time. But I think it does. But you know what is great about Jon Huertas? He just keeps his head down and plays the role. That’s all you can do.
How did the Katie Couric dream sequence come about? And can we spend more time in Kevin’s nightmares in the future?
I guess the writers just came up with that, and we called Katie and she was willing to do it, which was great. She’s terrific. She’s really fun, and she’s a real trouper. And she’s very good at playing herself…. You know, that’d be fun [to go into the nightmares]. We’ve been in Sterling’s nightmare once, and now Kevin’s, so I would imagine we’ll do that. But what I love is we do it occasionally, we don’t overdo it, it’s not a gimmick of the show. But I would imagine that we’ll go other times. It can be effective.
What kind of repercussions will Kevin experience in his career for walking out on the play? Is there a scene coming up in which he will run into Morris Chestnut and pitch him a double Manny situation?
Well, I’m not going to tell you what happens, but definitely we’re going to deal with it. And it will certainly be dealt with in the last two episodes of the season. The ramifications of Kevin leaving the show will definitely be played out, and it’s going to be played out in ways that are expected — and maybe some ways that aren’t expected.
To read what Sam Trammell, a.k.a. Ben, had to say about playing the man in the middle of a Jack-Rebecca conflict, click here.
And for more This Is Us intel, follow @dansnierson.