*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Season two, episode eight of This Is Us, titled “Number One,” opens with a home video of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) cheering on number one of the Big Three (baby Kevin) as he takes his first steps.
In present day, Kevin (Justin Hartley) wakes up to a trashed hotel room à la The Hangover and a knock at his door. He’s confronted by a concerned housekeeper because he hasn’t removed his “Do Not Disturb” placard in over a week. As she attempts to tidy the room, Kevin receives a call confirming his attendance at his high school’s alumni honor ceremony the following day. Despite his disheveled state of mind and that he blatantly forgot, Kevin confirms his attendance. Did he seriously learn nothing from Sophie’s gala?!
Cut to Jack trying to restore power at the Pearson residence while teenage Kevin (Logan Shroyer) prepares to meet with a football rep, Coach Waltering (Matt Riedy), from the University of Pittsburgh. Rebecca insists that Kevin change out of his McKinley Football crop top (borrowed from Sophie) and into a collared shirt and dress pants for the meeting. Kevin claims the coach won’t judge him based on his clothes and disparagingly refers to the school as “only Pitt.”
Coach Waltering arrives and offers Kevin a spot on the team. Kevin totally blows it (ugh) and rubs the coach the wrong way by asking him if he can start. (Cringe.)
When Coach Waltering leaves, Jack and Rebecca, who are understandably mortified, confront their son about his despicable behavior. Jack begins to lecture him about having respect for someone who is willing to take the time out of his day to meet with a young student, but Kevin acts a fool and boasts he can do better anyway. Jack insists that Kevin write an apology letter.
Back in present day, Kevin arrives at his former stomping grounds for the alumni ceremony high on painkillers. He finds himself chatting with a woman named Charlotte (Stefanie Black), who confesses she had a major crush on him in high school.
The next thing we know, we’re watching a montage of (present day) Kevin returning to the football field where he lived his glory days interspersed with flashbacks of (high school) Kevin as the star quarterback. The ball is hiked, he’s calculating his next move and out of nowhere he and his knee are completely wrecked by a defensive player from the opposing team.
Suddenly, we jump back to present day and see Kevin in bed with Charlotte (saw that one from a mile away). Kevin, who is now experiencing withdrawal, beelines to the bathroom in hopes of finding something, anything, that might be an opiate. No dice, but he does find a blank prescription pad and pockets a few slips before he officially tooting and booting.
In yet another flashback, Kevin is at the hospital having an MRI on his knee. When Jack enters the hospital room, he tells Kevin that the doctor defined his injury as catastrophic. He will be able to run again, but his knee won’t be able to handle the stress of playing football. Kevin gets upset, which prompts Jack to dive into a classic Jack pep talk (prepare for the ugly cry) and reassures he will find a bigger and better calling than football. Jack then removes his silver necklace and gives it to Kevin, explaining that it represents having a purpose.
Right on cue, present-day Kevin realizes his necklace is missing and races over to Charlotte’s house to beg for it back. Charlotte, who is beyond upset that her high school crush ditched her in the middle of the night, could care less and sends him on his way.
Kevin shows up at Randall’s house and says he needs to tell him something. But Randall misinterprets Kevin’s preface to a confession and admits he already knows what’s going on: Kate (Chrissy Metz) lost the baby. Hold up, pull the emergency break and stop all oncoming traffic. Please (lip quivering) say (eyes glistening) it ain’t (gasping for air) so! (Full on sobbing and snotting everywhere.)
The episode concludes with a continuation of baby Kevin’s first steps.