This Is Us fans are about to learn a whole lot more about Kevin Pearson’s knee injury and how it may somehow be related to the night his father, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), died. The upcoming This Is Us episode, “Still There,” will feature adult Kevin (Justin Hartley) going under the knife to take care of the knee injury that first aggravated him back in his high school football days.
The most recent episode of the NBC drama gave a little more insight into Kevin’s bottled up feelings about his father’s death. After Sylvester Stallone (of all people!) tried to talk to Kevin about his father, he shut the action movie icon down. Kevin later argued with his loyal sister Kate (Chrissy Metz) and called her “sad and damaged,” but it all came to a head when memories of his past flooded back while he was shooting the pivotal movie scene with Sly. Kevin reinjured his “bad knee” and was later seen popping what were presumably prescription pain pills.
This Is Us producers have now revealed that Kevin Pearson’s knee injury will be a big part of the character’s story arc for the remainder of the show’s second season. The promo for the “Still There” episode, which can be seen below, shows Kevin getting ready to face his physical pain head-on.
“Obviously, Kevin is a very in-shape guy and you’ve seen him running with his brother and what not, so it’s not the kind of thing where he’s been physically impaired over the years,” This Is Us executive producer Isaac Aptakler told Entertainment Weekly.
“When he does that big stunt and is distracted with the emotions of his father that this scene with Stallone is bringing up, and then he lands wrong on the knee, it’s already vulnerable to re-injury. In terms of the rest of the year, this is a starting arc for Kevin with his knee. This is not something like, ‘Next week he’s going to be back on his feet and totally fine.’ This is a bigger story here.”
Kevin’s knee injury has been hinted at in the past. On the Season 2 premiere, Kevin was with his Sophie as his two siblings learned of their father’s death. In the scene, Kevin was shown with a cast from the foot to the mid-thigh, which was signed with “Get well soon” and other sentiments.
In addition, in the flashback scene that played just before Kevin injured himself on the movie set, a teen Kevin was shown wearing a hospital gown as Jack gave him a military medallion and hugged him.
Previous This Is Us episodes have revealed that both Kevin and Randall Pearson (Logan Shroyer, Niles Fitch) played football in high school, so it’s very likely that Kevin’s high school injury was sports-related. In This is Us’ Season 1 Thanksgiving episode, “Pilgrim Rick,” a young Kevin revealed he wanted to be the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers when he grew up. But for some reason, he traded a career in professional sports and went into modeling and acting.
Milo Ventimiglia dropped some clues about the storyline to Entertainment Weekly, saying, “[Kevin’s] a star athlete with the busted leg. Does that change his course in life? Was that really a possibility? And is that how his life and world changed and [set up] the path that he took to get into acting?”
Justin Hartley also talked about his character’s bum leg in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“[The broken leg] has a lot to do with his storyline this year,” the This Is Us star said. “It has a lot to do with why Kevin behaves, sometimes, the way that he does. The broken leg is a turning point for Kevin in his life, and something that sort of sticks with him as he gets older. It’s paved the way for him to do the things that he’s doing.”
This Is Us star Mandy Moore has already said that the three things shown in the final moments of the Season 2 premiere—the dog, Randall’s red-haired girlfriend, and Kevin’s cast—are all clues that will lead to the moment of Jack’s death.
Take a look at the video below to see a promo for the This Is Us episode “Still There.”
[Featured Image by Ron Batzdorff/NBC]