‘This Is Us’: The Heartbreaking Parallel Between Jack and Kevin You May Have Missed
Kevin Pearson’s despair came full circle on ‘This Is Us’ with a poignant look back at the past and Jack’s ongoing struggles. One scene in the past and one in the present showed a painful parallel between father and son.
The Nov. 15 episode of This Is Us proved that Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) are more alike than I ever thought possible. Before a career-ending knee injury changed Kevin’s life forever when he was a teen, Kevin was an arrogant, self-absorbed young man. He was embarrassed by the fact that his father had let alcohol control him and nearly destroy his family. Kevin thought Jack was weak. He realized just how much Jack was still struggling when he saw his father on his knees praying and on the phone with his AA sponsor late one night. Kevin later apologized for his behavior toward his dad, but he never anticipated he would end up at a similar low point.
Yet Kevin found himself on his knees in the present, with no one to help him. I found this scene absolutely gut-wrenching and revelatory. Unlike Jack, Kevin has not been able to truly accept he has a problem. The birth of his children gave Jack’s life purpose, and without his kids, Jack’s road to recovery may have been delayed. Kevin has the same demons as Jack, but he’s been cavalier about fixing them and now they control him. As we saw in the episode, Kevin has yet to find his purpose, so he remains broken. But after his breakdown, he does understand that he needs help. That’s why he ended up on Randall’s doorstep. Asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness, it shows strength.
Hopefully, losing the necklace Kevin’s father gave him in the hospital after his knee injury won’t derail the eldest Pearson any further. I have a feeling the lost necklace, engraved with the Buddhist symbol of purpose, is going to force Kevin to deal with his father’s death, which is something he has yet to do. The necklace has been Kevin’s physical symbol of his late father, but now that it’s gone, Kevin’s going to have to come to terms with the pain he’s let boil inside of him for years. That pain and his lack of purpose opened a door to his struggle with addiction. Until he is able to truly cope with what happened in his past, Kevin is never going to be able to recover.