This Is Us S2 Episode 8 Recap: 8 Can’t Miss Moments From ‘Number One’

Over the past season and a half there is no denying that Kevin Pearson has been the least explored and least developed character on This Is Us, but season two’s eighth episode “Number One” changed all that. The series has mastered the art of the flashback and has created some of the most emotional moments on TV, but fans had not seen anything until they saw this episode. It seems This Is Us is going to be delving deeper into the Big Three as individuals with their own episodes, and started with Kevin as the first born. Justin Hartley delivered an incredible performance and of course — there was a bombshell dropped. Follow along for a full recap with these 8 can’t miss moments from the episode:

8. Fire Hazard

The episode began with a flashback to the Big Three learning to walk, and Kevin who was already nicknamed “Number One” because he was born first was the first to walk as his parents Jack and Rebecca videotaped and cheered on their baby boy. Aside from the flashback, the episode spent most of the time looking at Kevin as a teenager in the months before his father’s death and Kevin in the present. One of the episode’s biggest moments was ironically one of the smallest. As the three kids are seen in their rooms with Randall filling out his Harvard application, Kevin looking at his Notre Dame application and Kate listening to music with her dog, the power goes out and Jack has to fix the fuse in the box in the house. The moment may have seemed minuscule in terms of the episode as a whole, but it may have been a big hint to how the Pearson’s home burns down and in the process how Jack dies. It seems the faulty fuse box may have a much bigger role than anyone anticipated in the episode.


7. Teenage Kevin

The focus on Kevin as a teenager, played by Logan Shroyer, showed Kevin as an arrogant, and disrespectful teenager which all comes to a head during a visit with the coach from Pitt state. As the McKinley High football star, Kevin wanted Notre Dame and nothing else, so he was a complete jerk to the coach who made the visit to the Pearson’s home. After the coach left, Jack and Kevin got into an argument where Jack ordered Kevin to write an apology letter to the coach for his “embarrassing” behavior, and Kevin retaliated with telling Jack he knows the feeling alluding to his embarrassment over his father attending AA and going through the 12 step program. After their argument, Kevin later saw his father struggling with being sober and kneeling on the kitchen floor reciting the AA Serenity Prayer, and while seeing his father vulnerable brought Kevin to tears, he couldn’t step up and give his father any respect.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

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.


5. Speech

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.


4. Football Field Breakdown

Although his speech was powerful, it was nothing next to his football field monologue. After rejecting the advancements of his former classmate Charlotte Everly who had told him about what a crush she had on him in high school, Kevin found himself on the old high school football field where he used to be a hero. He went on to relive everything that happened in his life since the knee injury that ruined his football career, and spoke about no matter what happens in his life or how terrible, he somehow finds himself always winning. After losing his football career and his dad, he went on to marry a “great girl” Sophie, even though he cheated on her, he landed The Manny, and when he screwed that up he landed a role in a huge Ron Howard movie and even won Sophie back, but he screwed that up as well and yet no one seems to see it. As he slumps onto the field he lamented, “And even when he tries to tell people how pathetic he is, they just – they don’t hear it. They just cheer.”


3. Jack and Kevin

While “Number One” certainly delved into Kevin as a person, it also greatly explored Kevin’s relationship with his father Jack, which obviously had become strained as Kevin lost respect for his father through his alcoholism. During the football game that Kevin suffered his catastrophic knee injury, Jack and Randall were in Washington, D.C, and when they rushed back, Jack and Kevin finally had a moment of bonding. The moment between Jack and Kevin in the hospital was huge as teenage Kevin apologized to his father and told him that he knew he had been awful to him and said he can do better. In response, Jack gave Kevin his necklace from Vietnam which Kevin had been wearing in the present. When giving it to Kevin, Jack explained he “got this at a very hopeless time in my life,” by someone special, probably referring to his brother Nicky who from previous episode it is assumed died in Vietnam when the brothers were fighting alongside each other. Jack also told Kevin in a very powerful moment that he would take on this injury for his son if he could, telling him he didn’t know his purpose in life before having Kevin and his siblings and told Kevin “I swear to you, you will find yours.”


2. Help Me

Although Kevin’s football field monologue was powerful, it was eclipsed by his final breaking point in a showstopping moment. After finishing his football field speech, Kevin was approached by the  student Homecoming coordinator who asked him if he “wanted to party.” The next scene had a brief second in which fans were led to believe Kevin had slept with the highschool student, but in a small relief it was shown to be his former classmate Charlotte whom he had hooked up with instead. After their hookup however Kevin was going through withdrawal and when he searched Charlotte’s room for medication, he instead found her prescription pad, because she is a plastic surgeon. He then snuck out of her house with the intention of fraudulently getting drugs from the pharmacy but while he line he realized he had left his father’s necklace at her place. Kevin ended up screaming on her front lawn after Charlotte told him to get lost and that she didn’t have his necklace, and he finally broke down crying in physical and emotional pain that he needed help. The scene of Kevin sobbing uncontrollably on her front lawn was absolutely incredible…but if fans weren’t emotionally exhausted yet, the episode wasn’t over.


1. Kate’s News

The very last scene of the show, diverted attention away from Kevin which presumably will be a lead up to next week’s episode “Number Two” which will follow a similar trajectory of focusing solely on Kate both past and present. After realizing he needs help, Kevin once again showed up on the doorstep of his brother Randall with the intention of telling him about his addiction. Before Kevin could deliver his news however, Randall hit him with something worse. As Kevin began “I need to tell you something,” Randall responded, “I already know…Kate lost the baby.” The shocking and terrible news hit fans and Kevin hard as the episode had seen Kevin continuing to ignore numerous calls from both Kate and Toby because he thought they were just phoning to see if he was okay. Turns out they were dealing with their own very difficult situation.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC
Telisa Carter

Telisa Carter

Telisa enjoys learning and writing about all things entertainment in the world of Hollywood. When she isn't catching up on her favorite TV shows, she likes to read, and obsess over all things football.