This Is Us S2 Episode 8 Recap: 8 Can’t Miss Moments From ‘Number One’
6. Losing His Grip
In the present, Kevin’s downward spiral which audiences had been seeing over the past few episodes with his addiction to painkillers finally brought Kevin to rock bottom. Kevin was seen in his hotel room, popping pills and drinking until eventually a maid knocked on his door asking if he needed fresh towels or anything else considering his “Do Not Disturb” sign had been up for a week. During the maid’s visit, Kevin got a call reminding him that he was being honored at McKinley High’s homecoming celebration the next day. In his drug and alcohol induced stupor he’d forgotten about the ceremony, but he decided to stick to his commitment and head to his hometown. As an unshaven and disheveled Kevin showed up in his hometown and at his old high school he was hit with endless flashbacks of his time as the most popular guy in the school, and of his family, sending him further and further into despair as the celebration ceremony approached.
With Kevin so very obviously struggling, nobody could see past his star status to notice he needed help and in his dazed state he attended the alumni honor ceremony where his old football coach presented him with the award. His coach praised Kevin for being tough and talented and being so strong even though “he caught some tough breaks” referring to the loss of his father and the loss of his football career. Jack was slipped into the scene back-and-forth with the coach, causing Kevin to become even more emotional. It was powerful to see Jack speaking about his adult son, even though it was all in Kevin’s head, because a reconciliation with Jack and his validation is something Kevin desperately needs but will never get. As Kevin accepted the award he told all the McKinley high kids to stop cheering for him and to stop loving him, and to instead praise someone who actually deserves it, but instead they just cheered even louder for him.