An episode of This Is Us making us cry is to be expected at this point. But wow, were we not emotionally prepared for Tuesday night’s episode, the first of a trilogy centering on the Big Three. After this first episode, which focused mostly on Kevin (Justin Hartley), it’s hard to imagine what else the NBC hit has in store for us. (Warning, spoilers ahead for This Is Us’ Nov. 14 episode.)
In the frustrating and heartbreaking episode, we watched as Kevin spiraled even further out of control due to his addiction to Vicodin, and finally learned how he ended up in the hospital in those clue-filled flashes as the end of the season two premiere.
Set to land a full scholarship to college for football, despite his less-than-stellar grades, high school king Kevin (aka Number One) was more than a little arrogant about his future…and seemingly angry and embarrassed over Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) being in AA and struggling with his sobriety, even after six months.
While Jack is taking Randall to visit a prospective college, Kevin’s life is completely changed when he’s tackled during a big game, permanently damaging his knee and ending his football career…which leads us to the scene we saw in the first episode of the season, with Jack giving Kevin his necklace.
In the heartbreaking scene, Jack tells his son he will find his purpose in life, even if he feels hopeless right now. He then takes off his necklace and puts it on Kevin, revealing, “I got this at a very hopeless time in my life. Someone very special gave it to me in Vietnam.” (Perhaps his younger brother gave it to him? Anyone else nervous his brother died in front of his eyes during the war?!)
Jack explains the necklace has the Buddhist symbol for purpose on it, saying, “I was feeling very lost when I get that, but I put it on and I moved forward. You know when I was wearing it? The day you were born, the moment you came out, my number one. And when I held you for the first time, right here in the hospital, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. You were my purpose, Kevin, and I swear to you son, I swear, you will find yours.”
All. The. Tears. (And Emmys.)
Of course, this scene makes the one where Kevin, who has just stolen prescription pads from the doctor he slept with (who had a crush on him in high school), realizes he lost the necklace, leading to his full-on breakdown outside of her house. “Someone help me,” he’s sobbing. You want to hug him and shake him in this moment.
And it finally looks like Kevin has hit rock bottom, reaching out to Randall (Sterling K. Brown) to tell someone what is going on with him. But before he can confide in his brother, Randall has a revelation of his own: Kate lost the baby. And next week’s episode is her third of the trilogy.
May we suggest going and buying all the tissues you can find now?
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)