NBC’s This Is Us continues to amaze with its powerfully gripping performances.
This article contains spoilers for “Jack Pearson’s Son” so if you haven’t seen the episode, please do not continue reading.
It’s hard to count the number of performances and scenes that stand out in this freshman drama. The actors are really bringing their ‘A’ game; giving their characters a realism that has translated from the script to the screen. But for me, there was one scene in the most recent episode that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since it aired. And interestingly enough, the scene contain very little dialogue. It was up to actors Justin Hartley (Kevin) and Sterling K. Brown (Randall) to show pain and concern through body language and facial expressions.
In the plot, Randall is stressed as he is being pulled in different directions all at once. Pressures at home as he worries about the health of his terminally ill biological father William (Ron Celphas Jones) and at work where he has to now prove himself after many years as a star employee are taking its toll. Randall has been having hand tremors and difficulty in staying focused. He fails terribly during a presentation at an important meeting. Meanwhile, Kevin continues with uncertainty regarding the direction of his acting career, resulting in his “Katie Couric interview dream.” Kevin is forever on edge and doubting whether he’ll be taken seriously as an actor. And when he seems on the brink of a meltdown, Kevin turns to siblings Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall for reassurance. Randall especially assumes the older sibling role (which we discovered in another episode he actually is) without skipping a beat. So of course before he is to appear on stage, Kevin calls his brother for support. But Randall advises that he unfortunately will have to miss Kevin’s play. When I watched this scene, I thought that Kevin was going to throw a bitch fit and make it all about himself. How could Randall miss his play? How selfish is Randall to not see what he’s going through and not care? But thankfully, Kevin proved me wrong. He leaves the play and runs down the street. Cut to a scene when the boys were teens and Kevin returned home to find Randall breaking down in tears over his failure to complete a high school paper to perfection. Teen Kevin just looks at his brother and walks away to his room. But years later, adult Kevin remembers that moment and obviously sensed something in Randall’s tone. He finds Randall huddled on the floor, tears streaming down his face. Kevin immediately steps in and offers comfort.
Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown’s characters truly became brothers in that moment. And Kevin stepped at to the mantle as the big brother. These actors deserve accolades in playing this brief but unforgettable scene.
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