This Is Us
Welcome to a very Pearson episode of The Dating Game. We have three lucky (??) ladies eligible to win Kevin’s heart: There’s Sophie, Kevin’s ex-wife, first love, and Princess Bride superfan; there’s Cassidy, Kevin’s best friend, employee, and fellow broken person; and there’s Wedding Singer (named Ariel, but I don’t subscribe to that), who has a great head of hair and questionable songwriting skills. Who could it be? It’s honestly not that big of a mystery since there’s one woman who This Is Us has consistently brought back to be party to Kevin’s chaos over six seasons, and she’s the same woman whose story takes up over half of this episode’s running time. There is no twist ending here: It’s Sophie. For Kevin, it’s always been Sophie. So, at long last, we can put this looming question to bed, which is great news since Kevin Pearson is an infinitely more interesting character than this gimmick gives him credit for. It is what it is, and it is the final chapter of This Is Us, I guess!
So, how do we get to Sophie? It’s Kate and Phillip’s rehearsal dinner and everyone in the room, even Wedding Singer herself, can tell that Kevin is waiting for Sophie to walk through that door. His energy is anxiety-ridden, manic, sweaty. He hasn’t seen her since Kate’s engagement party, and although he assures Randall that they’re “cool,” things certainly don’t look cool. Randall reminds his brother that Sophie is married and not to cause any drama at Kate’s wedding. Yes! Remember Sophie’s husband Grant? He is, maybe, a nice kindergarten teacher? I refuse to fact-check that because it’s a waste of time — Kevin ends up taking Sophie into town because the airport lost her luggage and she needs something to wear to the wedding and eventually she reveals that she and Grant the maybe kindergarten teacher are divorced. At this point, if you still don’t think Kevin’s going to end up with Sophie, you are kidding yourself.
They spend the evening procuring a dress from the unclaimed rack at a dry cleaner’s and picking up s’mores provisions and taking long, moody walks through a vineyard. They talk about how Sophie is happier than she’s ever been in her new traveling nursing gig and about how well Kevin’s Big Three Homes nonprofit is going, and how awful Rebecca’s disease is (every time Rebecca sees Sophie, she thinks she’s 20 and still married to Kevin). And, guys, they make eyes at each other all over the place. They make eyes in the back of a dry cleaner’s and near the marshmallows in a convenience store and they DEFINITELY make eyes at each other from across the pre-wedding bonfire. They make such intense eyes here that when Sophie gets up to leave, Kevin follows her to the elevator, and without saying anything — but saying so many things, if you know what I mean — they ride up together, walk to Kevin’s room, and Sophie pulls out his key card and lets herself in. They start to fool around — that pink bra Beth and Madison found? It’s Sophie’s — and it seems to be going well until Kevin says that Sophie’s hair smells just how he remembers it. There isn’t a record scratch, but there could be one, you know? Sophie freaks out. She doesn’t want to go backward, and yet Kevin has always had this hold over her. Regardless of everything that’s happened between them, she’s “carried” Kevin with her, and in this moment it overwhelms her. There’s just too much history. Kevin’s confused because he thinks their history is a good thing; he’s carried her too. But she’s out of that hotel room so fast.
Kevin winds up at the hotel bar where he saddles up to Wedding Singer, who decides to read him the song lyrics she wrote about him on a napkin — yep, Beth and Madison found this too — which is awkward for all of us. Kevin leaves pretty quickly, which is just a huge moment of growth for this guy because you know season-one Kevin would’ve slept with her immediately. Maybe in the bar bathroom. Kevin’s all grown up!!
This whole weird night culminates with a Sad Sack Kevin running into Nicky in the hall, who desperately wants to tell his nephew about some weird sex thing he and Edie are about to try. It is Nicky’s way. Kevin tells his uncle (1) to stop it and (2) that he might be “done with love” forever. It’s so dramatic, and I love it. Nicky talks to him by way of a pinball metaphor about paying attention to balls or something, but basically, he’s trying to say that you never know what’s going to happen, and it’s fun to say the word “balls” over and over again. Then Cassidy shows up. I guess this is supposed to be a little tricky-poo, but this red herring is disposed of pretty quickly when Kevin is like, “Uh, should we, like, be together?” and Cassidy’s like, “You idiot.” They both know they aren’t meant for each other in that way, but it is very cute when they admit that they are each other’s best friends. Anyway, that’s why Cassidy’s floral wrap was in Kevin’s room.
Kevin brings that Sad Sack energy to the wedding, and eventually we find ourselves back at that moment when Kevin is downloading all of this info about his current relationship status to Randall. It’s clear he loves Sophie, but he’s scared of messing it up again. He’s always messing it up. Senator Pearson gives a rambling speech about the Buffalo Bills, I guess, that boils down to “the world is insane,” but Kevin and Sophie being together is less insane, and therefore he should go for it. I don’t know why he can’t just say that without the preamble about NFL merch, but here we are. The Pearson men love a good preamble!
When Kevin walks over to Sophie at the reception, he doesn’t know that she’s been primed for this conversation. She’s just had a chat with Rebecca, who, again, thinks Sophie is 20 and having marital problems with Kevin. She tells her that Kevin just isn’t ready for her yet, but one day he will be and he’ll be great. Rebecca doesn’t know that this conversation just confirms exactly what Sophie’s been thinking about. When Kevin comes over, she cuts him off before he can give a big speech (did she hear about the NFL merch thing?). She tells him that she freaked out because she knows that right now, after 20 years of waiting, they are both the best versions of themselves and she doesn’t want them to get together and fall back into old habits. She wants Kevin to love her for who she is today, not who she was, and she wants to love him in the same way. Kevin is teary-eyed when he shows Sophie a Valentine’s Day card he’s kept in his wallet since he was 6 and they first met — that’s how much he’s carried her around with him. So, they kiss. They love each other! And everyone applauds. That part is a little weird but also very Pearson™. And thus concludes This Is Us: This Is Kevin’s Wife. We’re in the home stretch now, people. Can you even believe it?