'This Is Us' Season 2 Fall Finale Ends With a Huge Kevin Cliffhanger
By Philiana Ng
Warning: Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday's This Is Us fall finale, titled "Number Three." If you have, you may proceed...
“When it rains, it feels like it’s pouring.”
This Is Us didn’t mess around in its fall finale, wrapping up the first half of its sophomore season with a whopper of a reveal at the end of the final installment of the Big Three trilogy. Titled “Number Three,” Tuesday’s episode explored Randall’s story in the past (Jack and Randall visit Howard University in Washington, D.C.) and the present (Beth and Randall agree to keep fostering after saying goodbye to Deja, with a hint at their next addition: an adorable, nameless young boy). But the biggest surprise came at the very end -- and it had nothing to do with Randall.
Two episodes ago, in Part 1 of the three-week saga, audiences got a deeper look at the demons that plagued Kevin -- his recurring knee injury, his addiction to painkillers, his heavy reliance on alcohol, his incapacity to grieve his father’s death -- that brought him to as close to rock bottom as one could get. Turns out, the worst had yet to come for the former Man-ny star. After unsuccessfully attempting to seek help from Randall and learning about Kate’s tragic miscarriage, the consequences of Kevin’s unaddressed addiction problems finally came to a dangerous head.
So what happened at the end of the fall finale? Kevin gets arrested for a DUI, but he's not the only person whose life is changed as a result.
Here’s how it all went down: Unable to process Kate’s news, Kevin nearly downs a bottle of vodka (with a splash of orange juice) for a morning drink after turning Randall’s offer down to give Kate a call to see how she’s doing. “I want to make sure my head’s straight when I talk to her,” Kevin justifies to Randall, but mainly to himself. After Tess and Annie catch him inhaling his non-kid-friendly drink (“You’ll get the hiccups!” Annie innocently observes), Kevin abruptly bolts and gets behind the wheel. Destination: unknown.
The feeling of doom sets in when Kevin, drunk off his behind, swerves dangerously in and out of traffic on a busy, winding road. The first thought that probably crosses someone’s mind is: Oh no, is he about to crash? And then, the surprises start coming. Moments later, Tess pops up in the backseat -- possibly a callback to Jack’s younger brother, Nicky, popping up in the backseat earlier this season. “Uncle Kevin, slow down!” a terrified Tess screams, shocking Kevin with her presence: “I just wanted to hang out with you for a while. I hate my house.” (Hmm, should we be dissecting Tess’ comments, too?)
It isn’t long before a police car suddenly appears in the rearview mirror, its sirens blaring. Busted.
It takes a few moments before the news gets to Beth and Randall, who both are desperately trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Beth is the one who breaks the life-changing blow to Randall about Tess’ whereabouts: “She’s safe. She’s with Kevin. He just got arrested for a DUI.” Randall: “I’ll kill him.” Beth: “Not if I kill him first.”
The Kevin shocker plays out, fittingly, with a Jack monologue to a teenage Randall after they return early from their D.C. college trip after Kevin wrecks his knee in the football game and spends the night at the hospital. Young Randall asks his dad if Kevin will be all right after his hopes of a football career crashes and burns. This is what Papa Pearson says, confessing that there’s always “a blind spot” with the Big Three.
“Your brother is going to be OK. Things are going to be different for your brother now, but it’s going to be OK. That’s the thing about the three of you, there’s always another blind spot. I’ll be with one of you having a great time and then bam, something happens to the other and then I realized I should’ve been looking at that other direction. It’s always been that way since you were babies. One of you falls down; the other one is standing up.”
Looks like Jack was right. He should have been looking at Kevin’s direction more diligently.
“I will tell you that it’s not in Kevin’s personality to reach out and ask for help. It’s Kevin’s personality to bury things and try to deal them on his own,” Hartley foreshadowed. “I know people who have gone through this kind of thing and this is not something that you can possibly kick on your own. You need a group, you need help. For him to think that he can kick this on his own is a bit much.”
“He has a massive depression and an addiction,” he added. “This man’s on a bad path and when I say a bad path, I’m not talking about he’s going to do more pills. These people don’t live very long.”
How Kevin’s DUI arrest affects his professional career and personal life (this will all but strain his recently repaired relationship with Randall), we’ll have to wait a month to see how the aftermath plays out. While Kevin’s arrest is already bad enough (being an ex-TV sitcom star and all), endangering a young child while impaired is a thousand times worse. Maybe this is the wake-up call Kevin so desperately needs.
What did you think of the This Is Us fall finale? What do you think will happen to Kevin? Tell us your thoughts by tweeting Philiana Ng at @insidethetube!
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.